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What is the UV index today for my location?

Check the hourly UV index forecast today and protect yourself from the dangers of ultraviolet radiation.

What is the UV index today in my location?

Enter your zip code, or city and state, and see the UV radiation level for your locale.

What is the UV index scale?

What is the UV index scale?

The UV index is a forecast based on a scale to measure UV radiation and its effects on the human body at different levels of intensity. It offers a helpful guide for estimating your potential average radiation dose. The different tiers are representative of how quickly ultraviolet radiation will cause sunburns.

0-2: Low

Safer UV levels for tanning. Wear sunglasses on bright days.

3-5: Moderate

Moderate risk. Stay in the shade during midday. Use broad spectrum sunscreen on unprotected skin.

6-7: High

Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, or UV protective clothing.

8-10: Very High

Reduce sun exposure. Take proper precautions, such as sun protective clothing.

11+: Extreme

Extreme risk. Take extra precautions. Avoid exposure to UV radiation.

Of course, your skin type will determine how quickly you burn. Someone with more melanin will handle longer unprotected sun exposure without consequence, while fair-skinned people should exercise more caution.

The UV index fluctuates heavily by the time of day, with higher amounts of UV radiation at midday and lower levels in the early morning and evening. Take protective measures during higher-index hours of the day.

How can you protect against UV rays?

How can you protect against UV rays?

When engaged in outdoor activities such as swimming, sunbathing, or sports, consider the following practices to reduce your risk of cancer and sun damage.

  1. Check the daily UV index forecast in your area and plan activities accordingly. Use extra caution on "very high" and "extreme" UV index days.
  2. Reduce UV exposure during midday hours, especially on higher-index days. You can seek shade during midday hours and come out earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon.
  3. Wear clothing with UV protection, such as our sun protective swimwear with UPF 50+ fabric which features built in sun protection that blocks 98% of cancer causing rays. For example, our rash guards protect your arms, shoulders, chest, and back. With a full front zipper, they are a simple solution to throw on for easy, all-day protection and can be worn anywhere—not just at the beach or pool!
    SwimZip UPF 50 rash guards protect against sunburn and skin cancer
  4. Take extra precautions when exposed to a reflective surface such as snow, water, or other bright surfaces; UV rays bounce up and give you up to double UV exposure.
  5. Use sunglasses with broad spectrum UV protection to keep infrared radiation from infiltrating your eyes.
  6. Use broad spectrum sunscreen on uncovered skin to reduce the risk of skin cancers. Make sure it has a sufficient sun protection factor (SPF); we recommend SPF 50 or higher.
  7. Use lip balms that offer a sun protection factor 30 or more for special protection of a special part of your face.
  8. Wear a wide brim sun hat (check our out our collection of sun hats for men, women, and children) to protect your face and neck. Headgear with neck protection gives you even more security.
  9. Portable sun shelters, shade tents, and sun umbrellas offer protection from UV radiation during extreme risk times. 
  10. Watch for symptoms of excessive exposure, such as sunburns or heat exhaustion, and get out of the sun immediately if occurring. Treat minor sunburns with aloe vera gel and acetaminophen to relieve pain.
  11. Examine skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots indicating possible skin damage or heightened risk. See a dermatologist annually.

What is the best UV index for tanning?

What is the best UV index for tanning?

There is no absolutely safe level of UV radiation, but lower levels are safer for tanning. You’ll tan slower, but you’ll be less likely to get sunburn or develop skin cancer. 

Exposure to UV radiation—at any level—has the potential to damage your skin. But that potential is much greater at higher levels of UV radiation.

Doctors say the safest way to get a tan is to gradually expose your skin to the sun for limited durations at UV levels under 3.

For more on the topic of tanning, see our in-depth article on the best UV index for tanning. We cover the effects of solar UV radiation at different time intervals and index levels.

What SPF sunscreen is best?

What SPF sunscreen is best?

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an broad spectrum sunscreen with sun protection factor 30. SPF 30 will block about 97% of the sun's UVB rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer.

Higher SPF levels, such as SPF 50 or 100, block slightly more UVB rays (about 98-99%), but the difference is not significant compared to SPF 30. No sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays.

More important than a super high SPF is applying sunscreen correctly. Apply a liberal amount to all exposed skin, reapply every 2 hours, and don’t rely solely on sunscreen over protective clothing and shade.

Check expiration dates on sunscreen, as potency can break down over time. Choose lotion or cream formulas without oxybenzone to avoid skin irritation and potential hormone disruption concerns. Reapply liberally for optimal protection.

What is the difference between SPF and UPF?

What is the difference between SPF and UPF?

Sun protection factor (SPF) and ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) measure different metrics. SPF measures the degree to which a sunscreen protects from sunburn. UPF measures the degree to which fabric blocks ultraviolet rays. 

Here is a summary of the main differences between SPF and UPF, as well as more info about each:

  • SPF refers to the level of protection a sunscreen offers from UVB rays that cause sunburn. SPFs typically range from 15 to 50+.
  • UPF is a rating used for clothing that indicates how effectively fabrics block UV radiation. UPF ratings generally range from 15 to 50+.
  • While SPF is specifically a measurement of UVB protection for skin protection creams and lotions, UPF rates how much UV radiation (both UVA and UVB rays) a fabric allows to pass through.
  • Higher SPF and UPF values indicate more protection. SPF predominantly measures UVB protection strength, while UPF measures protection against both UVA and UVB.
  • UPF clothing ratings take into account fabric type, weight, construction, dye, and whether the clothing is wet or stretched, which can impact protection levels.
  • The Skin Cancer Foundation requires a UPF 30 rating to qualify for its seal of approval but recommends UPF 50+ clothing as providing excellent UV protection.
  • SwimZip’s sun protective clothing and swimwear is UPF 50+. While it’s good to protect uncovered skin (especially during key sun protection times), with broad spectrum sunscreen, it’s even better to cover that skin with our sun-protective swimwear. 

SwimZip is your partner in UV protection

Whatever your skin type, reduce the potential danger of unprotected sun exposure with our line of sun hats, UPF 50 swimsuits, and swim dresses. Reduce the risk of dangerous skin cancer while looking fantastic.

Wherever you're covered with SwimZip, you're protected. Looking for additional UPF 50+ clothing? Check out our sister apparel brand, Shēdo Lane. We ship across the United States.

UV index FAQ

Where on earth is the UV index the strongest?

In general, the UV index is strongest at the equator, since the sun is overhead and its rays need to travel through less atmosphere.

What country has the least UV radiation?

The country with the lowest levels of UV radiation exposure is Iceland. Some key reasons why Iceland has very low UV levels include:

  1. High latitude: Iceland's location just outside the Arctic Circle means the sun's UV rays have to traverse more atmosphere compared to equatorial regions.
  2. Cloud cover: Iceland has a very high prevalence of cloud cover, especially in fall, winter and spring seasons. Clouds reflect a significant portion of UV rays back into space.
  3. Short summer season: Iceland also has long dark winters with few hours of sunlight, and a short summer season when the sun shines. This limits overall UV exposure.
  4. Ozone layer: Iceland is under the thicker mid-latitude ozone layer, which absorbs more incoming UV radiation than over the equator.
  5. Snow cover in winter: ice and snow reflect up to 80% of UV rays, preventing absorption at ground level. Much of Iceland is covered in ice and snow for a third of the year.

Can you get a tan at 6 PM?

Depending on your location and the time of year, it might be possible to get a tan at 6 PM. If the sun’s out, you’re getting some amount of UV radiation; ergo, you can tan.

How long do you have to lay out to tan?

Medical experts from the CDC, American Academy of Dermatology, and Skin Cancer Foundation unanimously advise against deliberately trying to tan or laying out in the sun. 

If you are going to lay out, do short durations and avoid high-index days or times. 

What foods help with tanning?

The following foods are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, which stimulates melanin production. They also contain other vitamins and antioxidants that contribute to skin health. A healthy skin will look more vibrant and alive.

  1. Carrots: an excellent source of beta-carotene. They contain a higher percentage of beta-carotene than other foods, such as melon, apricot, and pumpkins.
  2. Tomatoes, watermelon, and red fruits: rich in lycopene, a compound similar to beta-carotene, which can help enhance your skin.
  3. Spinach and dark green leafy vegetables: high in beta-carotene and antioxidants.  
  4. Eggs: especially egg yolks contain high amounts of vitamin A, which is beneficial for your skin.
  5. Mangoes: like eggs, mangoes contain lots of vitamin A.
  6. Apricots and peaches: these fruits are full of carotenoids, natural pigments that can help transfer their color to your skin. 
  7. Fish and dairy products: foods rich in calcium and tyrosine, such as fish and dairy products, can boost skin health.
  8. Olive oil: while it doesn't contribute color to your tan, olive oil helps keep your skin soft and supple.
  9. Pistachios: these nuts are a good source of vitamin E, which contributes to the production of melanin.
  10. Cheese: especially white cheese can be good for skin due to its calcium content.

Featured sun protection products

  1. Men's rash guard long sleeve loose fit swim shirt "Cannonball King White."
    This men's long-sleeve zipper rash guard is perfect for a day at the beach, by the pool, or at the lake to provide extra sun protection for your chest, arms, and shoulders. It is quick drying and comfy, perfect for in and out of the water. Made of the highest-rated, most comfortable UPF 50+ sun protective fabric.
  2. Long sleeve women’s rash guard "Turquoise Waters."
    This women's long sleeve UPF 50 rash guard swim shirt is a great way to ensure a day free of sunburn worry at the beach, pool, lake or anywhere. It features longer-length sleeves and body, providing all-day sun protection both in and out of the water. 
  3. Boy’s long sleeve rash guard swimsuit and board shorts 2-piece set with SPF 50 "Jelly Jelly."
      This boy's long sleeve rash guard swimsuit set comes with a rash guard and board shorts. It offers SPF 50 protection and features a 'Jelly Jelly' design.
  4. Girl’s long sleeve rash guard and tankini bikini set (3 piece) UPF 50 zipper rashguard
    . This bold, geometric print is the perfect mix of sporty and fun with pops of orange, green, and pink. This three-piece set is the best of both worlds! It’s a tankini with bikini bottoms, absolutely adorable all on its own, but this set also comes with a coordinating long-sleeve rash guard! Toss the zippered swim jacket on to keep the sun's rays away from shoulders and arms. Perfect swim set to be cute and covered!
  5. Girl’s pink ruffled short sleeve zippered rash guard with bottoms swimsuit set
    . All the ruffles! This short-sleeved two-piece swimsuit set is the perfect mix of playful ruffles and serious sun protection. The adorable ruffle detailing on the swim jacket and bikini bottoms is sure to make a splash at the pool or beach. This set comes with a short-sleeved rash guard swim top and fully lined bikini bottoms.
  6. Women's swim dress cover up "Turquoise Waters."
    Enjoy beach time in this flattering swim dress. The zipper and adjustable ruching on both sides make finding the perfect fit easy. This essential swim dress is a must-have for the pool or beach to wear as a cute cover up with your favorite swimsuit, both in and out of the water. Our fabric is quick-drying and breathable. The SPF 50+ (called UPF for fabric) sun-blocking material blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays for easy all-day sun protection.
  7. Women's black polka dot one-shoulder bikini top.
    This black polka dot top is extremely flattering and so cute! Our one-shoulder design features a removable, optional thin strap. This fantastic top is perfect for all shapes and bodies! This is a vacation must-have, perfect for playing with kids or grabbing lunch. The UPF 50+ sun-blocking material blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays for easy all day sun protection. Looks great with our high-waisted bottoms.