Yikes! The UV Index Is 11+

Categories: Skin care
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uv indexI wrote this post about the UV Index scale a few summers ago, and now that summer is in full-force I feel like nothing has changed – I’m still paranoid about leaving the house in the day time! While half the world is out tanning and enjoying the hot weather, I’m more vampire-ish than ever. I have one friend now that is even more paranoid than me, and she claims her sun-avoidance is making her age backwards! How about you – are you enjoying the sun this summer? Or do you freak out when the weather forecaster announces it’s another 11+ UV Index day?

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned about the UV Index (a measurement of how hot and intense the sun gets on a given day). At the time, I thought the index went from 1-10, with 10 being the absolute hottest rating possible. Imagine my horror when I realized the UV Index is generally 11+ almost every day of the Las Vegas summer! Holy crap – The UV Index actually goes to 15! The heat must have fried my brain because I’m a total sun-phobe, yet I cemented my plans on staying in Las Vegas by recently buying a condo (update: wow, that was a bad idea!)

While Vegas is a bit extreme since it’s a UV Index of 9 or higher half the year, most cities in the US see extreme UV ratings during the summer. You can check your city’s UV Index by entering in your zip code on the EPA website. The site also gives you a map of the UV Index of the entire US. Here is how I go to extremes to deal with the crazy high UV Index:

  • I try to avoid leaving the house before 6pm! Currently I’m self-employed, so unless I have a freelance photography job during the day, I generally don’t leave the house til 5 or 6pm. The sun is still out, so I still get to see daylight, yet avoid the hottest time of the day. I’m not a morning person, or otherwise I might get up super early, and then avoid being outside from 9am-5pm. When I get a job outside of the house, a night job would probably be ideal for me.
  • I keep most of the shades in the house drawn, and have curtains up on the windows. The hot sun can still come through the windows and while it can’t burn you, UVA rays can cause premature aging, and possibly skin cancer. When I move to my own condo, I’m going to look into having my windows UV tinted. I have no idea how much this costs!
  • I tinted my car windows with a UV coating to deflect the sun. Just because you’re in your car doesn’t mean the sun can’t harm you, so car window tinting adds an extra layer of protection.
  • If I have to go outside, I spend as little time outside as possible. I always wear SPF 30+ Zinc Oxide-based sunscreen, even at 6pm! If the sun is out, I have on sunscreen!
  • I always wear big sunglasses with UVA/UVB coating, and my next purchase will be big wraparound sunglasses, so that my crow’s feet get extra protection! I really don’t like hats, or else I’d wear a hat whenever I left the house as well.
  • I carry around sunscreen with me, so that I can reapply in case I have to be in and out of the sun all day (which of course I try to avoid at all costs).

Suddenly that song “Sunglasses At Night” almost makes sense to me! Basically my answer to the heat is to stay inside like a hermit. The problem is when friends don’t share my extreme views, and they think it’s great fun to go outside when it’s 115 degrees! So I find myself making a lot of excuses, since most people have a hard time accepting that a UV Index of 11 = DO NOT GO OUTSIDE!

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20 Responses to “Yikes! The UV Index Is 11+”

  1. Karmen Says:

    I love the Sheshido sunscreen! It feels so nice and it’s non greasy! Great choice great choice!
    I decided to buy the new Stila SPF 30 tinted moisturizer to get my free sheshido gift. I tried the Stila for 5 days and I think it’s making me breakout. Since I’ve started my Tazarac/Duac routine I haven’t broken out at all till yesterday. I’m thinking it must have something to do with the Stila. It has Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc oxide 5.0%, Oxybenzone 4.0%. It’s oil free too. Something’s causing me to break out. I might try it again in a few weeks. The color selection is great. It feels good, not sticky but moisturizing enough. Coverage is good. No need to use another moisturizer on top of it.

    Shiseido has a nice tinted moisturizer too. That’s what I’m going to purchase next.

  2. K. Says:

    Thanks for the info! I never realized how high the UV index is where I live–an 8 in Ohio! More motivation to apply sunscreen often and heavy.

  3. Karmen Says:

    I tried the Paula’s Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint SPF 20 in Sheer Ivory. Poor coverage, greasy and caused me to break out. I’m returning it.
    Also tried the Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Weightless Finish SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray. It’s greasy and caused me to break out. It leaves a greasy film on your face that leaves you oily all day but the skin is still dry. I’m returning it too. I agree with you that I don’t like her recommendations on sunscreen ingredients. I’m sticking with Zinc Oxide from now on.
    I do like her HydraLight Moisture-Infusing Lotion. Very light but moistuizing. I have oily skin with dry patches. It’s wonderful for keeping the dry part hydrated but also not oily. It’s like putting water into your skin. I’m loving this one. Also has anti-inflammatory ingredients and many many antioxidants. I’m using this one over the Shiseido on some of the drier spots on my face. So far so good. The Shiseido is wonderful! My skin looks sooooooooo amazing.
    Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. JennBee Says:

    I see what you’re saying here, but I don’t think being a hermit whenever the UV index is high is the way everyone wants to live (thus the reason most people don’t) … the UV index is the same here as in Vegas (I’m in Phoenix), but if I never went outside before 5 PM, it sure would be hard to ever enjoy the outdoors! We have weather above 100 for half the year as well, but the UV index is always high. Kudos to you for being so dedicated to sun protection, though!

    By the way, what’s your favorite non-greasy sunscreen for face or body? I’m sure you’ve posted it before, but I’m specifically looking for a good non-greasy one with a high SPF and good ingredients. Thanks!

  5. Laarni Says:

    I am not sure here in the Philippines but I avoid going out when the sun is high like from 10am to 3pm. :)

    Nice tips!

  6. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    I don’t like being outside when it’s super hot and sunny, so it’s not a big deal for me to stay indoors for the summer (aka half the year). Favorite body sunscreen: http://www.savvyskin.com/blue-lizard-the-best-drugstore-sunscreen . Favorite face sunscreen: http://www.savvyskin.com/the-best-sunscreen-and-sunblock . The Blue Lizard and Shiseido sunscreens aren’t greasy, but they are a tad bit thick (which makes them effective) compared to some spray or dry-block sunscreens.

  7. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    It’s possible the Stila tinted moisturizer is causing you to breakout. I try to just introduce one new product at a time, and if I get breakouts, then I stop. Then when they go away, I start using the product one more time just to make sure. You could look that product up on makeupalley.com to see what other people have to say about it.

  8. Girl Says:

    i never knew about this thing index… thanks

  9. cathy Says:

    I agree completely. I don’t think daily sun exposure is worth it really. Last summer I got up early to go to work and so only had to deal with the after hours sun from 5-9pm. My preference though is to be indoors most of the time year round. A fellow fanatic.

  10. Linda Glass Says:


  11. Tonya Says:

    I’m not quite as paranoid as you but I definitely avoid the sun during peak hours, and I always wear sunscreen every day. I love summer!

  12. m Says:

    Finally, I read about someone that’s as paranoid as I am. lol
    I don’t like the heat and humidity either, and because my skintone is very pale I’m more susceptible to wrinkles and skin cancer.
    Plus, I’m currently healing from full-face fractional Co2 – after laser, avoiding the sun is more important than ever.

  13. euni Says:

    I ALWAYS reapply sunscreen throughout the day, even when it’s raining, but then it got a point where I found myself avoiding going on runs, picnics in the park, hiking, etc. Do you ever feel envious of people who CAN enjoy the sun? There is something so free about a woman who can embrace her wrinkles.

  14. Romy Says:

    I protect myself from the sun too.. but I am not that paranoid. I stay indoors until 5 or 6 pm, but after that.. I’m out enjoying the summer. I don;t want to age too early, but I don’t want to spend my summer days locked in my house either. I am young only once.

    Of course, the sunscreen lotion is always beside me, my best friend :D I don;t go out without sunscreen on my skin

  15. TC Says:

    Linda I do the same thing! I have to be out in the sun from 10-12pm here in NC. So I use a coolibar sun umbrella. Check it out: http://www.coolibar.com

    And as for tinting the windows, that would be really expensive and impossible for us renters. But why not just get sun shades. They should do the trick ;-)

    **Anyone know a good suncream comparable to Shiseido? I love that brand but I want to give it a break due to the slight radiation letter thingy(from fukushima)on there website.

  16. Nancy Says:

    Holy.. that is scary. Las Vegas’s UV index is that high all the time?! I visited Vegas last winter, and it was raining the entire week I was there. It was the week around Christmas time. Awesome place, and I can’t wait to go back – high UV index be damned!

    Still, your tips are great stuff, thank you. My computer set-up is next to a window and it’s often sunny here, but I wear moisturizer with SPF daily, even when I stay home all day. Crossing my fingers that it helps keep the wrinkles at bay for a LOT longer!

  17. a!kO Says:

    Oh no, I have been a very bad girl and not use sunscreen. I live in a tropical country and it’s always hot here…and like you I hate being outside during the day. I can’t stand the heat and it always makes me tan. Like you I thought the UV index cant get more than 10, i am surprise. I think I need to run out and get more sunscreen.


  18. rizu Says:

    AHH!!! That’s just too high!

    I feel like in recent years there’s been a bigger push for using sunscreen. Or maybe there hasn’t been a change…do you guys think that there are any brands/people/celebrities that are really changing up the mindset around skincare? It seems like everywhere magazine stand I look at, there’s someone touting the merits of SPF….

  19. DRTVrMoi Says:

    Can you recommend a brand of sunglasses with UVA/UVB coating? My crows feet thank you in advance.

  20. Janina Says:

    I’m a sun phobe too and I live in Hawaii. The excuse I use whenever my friends want to spend time in the sun is “I have sun allergies so I have to avoid it as much as possible”…lol! It works though since they don’t bug me as much anymore during the weekends. I wear a high zinc oxide sunscreen every single day, from sun up to sun down. I work in a hospital so I’m indoors most of the time. I leave the house real early since I start early in the morning and by the time I get home the sun is almost setting. During the weekends I stay indoors most of the time but even indoors I wear sunscreen. If I know I have to be out in direct sun during peak UV hrs for more than an hour (which seldom happens btw), I use Euro sunscreens with high ppd. For everyday I use zinc based sunscreens.

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