With warm Summer weather approaching, the UV Canada application (available for iPhone and Android) should be a fixture on your phone! UV Canada is a free app jointly developed by the Save Your Skin Foundation, BC Cancer Agency, Environment Canada, and powered by MetaOptima, that allows you to check the current weather and UV Index level of any Canadian city.
The UV Index is a tool for understanding your risk of sun damage on any particular day. While the Summer season is the most high-risk for UV exposure, it is important to check the UV Index and protect yourself accordingly throughout the year, especially if you are participating in water or snow sports, as UV rays reflect strongly off of these surfaces.
The UV Index is a scale from 0-11+, with 0 indicating the least severe likelihood of UV damage. If the UV Index is between 0-2, minimal sun protection is required unless you are near surfaces that reflect UV rays, such as snow or water. Sunglasses are always recommended in bright conditions. A UV Index rating of 3-5 should be met by taking sun safety precautions, particularly during the peak UV hours of 11am-4pm. These may include wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and seeking shade. These measures are especially recommended when the UV Index exceeds 6, which qualifies as high risk for UV damage.
The UV Canada app takes customization a step further with the ‘Time to Burn’ feature, which allows the user to estimate how long it would take their skin to burn in a given setting. This time period is assessed by combining the UV level on a particular day, the user’s skin type, the level of SPF they are wearing, and the environment they are in; environment options include desert, snow, grass, city, and water. This is both a useful tool for estimating the user’s need for sun protection and an educational tool for how long skin may take to burn in a given situation.
Below are two sample images from the UV Canada app, depicting two different UV situations. The light rain in Vancouver is accompanied by a UV rating of 3, so minimal risk of UV damage, while the warmer weather in Toronto has a UV rating of 7, necessitating sun safety precautions. The UV Canada app is constantly up to date with the weather and the UV Index throughout the day, making it easy to plan your sun safety strategy this summer. Stay safe!