Work Well

Work Well advocates for a culture of wellness for UND faculty and staff through innovative engagement opportunities.

July Wellness Spotlight

Healthy Skin Is In!

The sun has powerful effects on one’s skin; most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Most of this exposure comes from the sun, but some can come from man-made sources, such as indoor tanning beds and sun lamps. People who are exposed to more UV rays are at greater risk for skin cancer. In July’s Wellness Spotlight, we discuss the UV index, what affects UV exposure, and how to protect yourself from the sun!

What Affects UV Exposure?

  • Time of day: UV rays are strongest in the middle of the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Season: UV rays are stronger during spring and summer months.
  • Altitude: More UV rays reach the ground at higher elevations
  • Cloud cover: The effect of clouds can vary, but it’s important to know that UV rays can get through to the ground, even on a cloudy day.
  • Reflection off surfaces: UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow, or pavement, leading to an increase in UV exposure.
  • Other factors: The amount of UV exposure you get also depends on the length of time your skin is exposed, and if your skin is protected with clothing or sunscreen.

The UV Index

The US National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the UV Index, which indicates how strong the UV light is in your area on a given day from 1 to 11+. A higher number means greater risk of exposure to UV rays and a higher chance of sunburn and skin damage that could ultimately lead to skin cancer.

To find out the UV Index in your area for the day, click HERE

Protect Yourself from the Sun

It is important to protect yourself from the sun all the time, not just when you are spending a day at the lake, beach, or pool! Simply staying in the shade is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure. However, wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are also great ways to be safe in the sun. When it comes to choosing a sunscreen, be sure to read the label. The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. However, in order to get protection from UVB and UVA rays, look for a sunscreen that is labeled broad spectrum. Sunscreen needs to be applied at least every 2 hours to maintain protection.

Higher numbers of SPF mean more protection:

  • SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 sunscreens filter out about 98% of UVB rays
  • SPF 100 sunscreens filter out about 99% of UVB rays


To find product recommendations to protect yourself from the sun, check out: Sun Protection Product Finder