How Long Can I Be In The Sun Without Sun Protection?

You might be wondering….How Long Can I Sit in the Sun Without Sun Protection?

A little sunshine is good for us and can be healthy. Our bodies produce vitamin D through being in the sun, it improves our mood, helps us sleep better, and can also lower blood pressure. But how much sun without protection is safe?

This is where experts vary in the exact amount of time before you put yourself in danger. 

Some experts suggest that you can be in the sun safely for 20 minutes, while others say that it depends on how fair your skin is and the strength of the UV Index (UVI) that day.

The fairer your skin, the less time you should be in the sun without protection. Also, the higher the UVI, the greater the danger of damage to the skin and eyes plus the shorter the amount of time before damage can occur.

The bottom line is, sun damage can occur to any skin type even if you don’t burn or feel it thanks to the harmful UVA rays that penetrate deep below the surface. And, if you want to avoid wrinkle-causing sun damage and possibly skin cancer, it’s best to cover up your skin even if the UVI is low.

What is the UV Index and How Can It Help?

According to the World Health Organization, the UV Index is a measure of the level of UV radiation on a day. Most weather forecasts will give you an indication of the UV rays for an area in the weather forecast. 

The index ranges from 0 to 11+. If the UVI is 11 and up, the risk of damage is great and can occur in the least amount of time.

If the index is 0 to 2, then the damage is minimal under normal circumstances. However, even if the index is 0-2, very fair people might burn after 30 minutes so take protective measures that include a sunhat that can protect you from UVA and UVB rays (UPF of 50), sunscreen of a minimum of 15 SPF, sunglasses, and adequate clothing protection. 

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes even if you don’t burn…

That’s right, UVA rays are just as harmful to your skin (link to UPF VS SPF piece) as UVB rays even when they don’t cause sunburn.

This is why sitting in the sun without adequate protection is dangerous even through a car or house window.

You might not feel like you are burning, but your skin can be damaged.

For many of us, we associate summer with sunshine and a “healthy” tan. But, according to experts, there’s no such thing as a healthy tan. 

Suntanned skin is a sign of skin damage that can lead to early aging and even increase your chances of skin cancer.

It’s important to note that windshields of cars are usually coated to protect you from UVA and UVB rays, but the side windows will only block UVB rays (unless you have a special film that blocks both). And, obviously, if you open the window, you’ll have no protection at all.

Even though there’s nothing quite as relaxing as lying in the sun, there’s no such thing as safe tanning (unless you use a self-tanning lotion).

Even sitting in a car can cause skin damage.

Before you set out, make sure that you’ve packed adequate sun protection for the day.

Here are 4 Sunsafe Tips

    1. Take note of the UVI in your area (check out this FREE app
    2. Add sunscreen or tinted moisturizer to our daily (even if it’s raining) routine
    3. Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (11 am to at least 3 pm). 
  • If you don’t know the UVI for the day, do the shadow test. The shorter your shadow, the higher the UVI and, therefore, the less time you should be in the sun. 

  • Our Sol a Mer hats are certified UPF 50 and can be easily packed into your bag along with a UVB and UVA sunscreen and sunglasses. 





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