Carol Schuler
Schuler Publicity


High Risk of Skin Damage 184 days per year: National Weather Service Dat

MIAMI July 29, 2003 -- Miami residents are expected to receive a high level of exposure to potentially damaging UV rays through the beginning of October, according to a review of UV Index data from National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center.

The UV Index is a next day forecast of the amount of skin damaging UV radiation expected to reach the earth's surface at the time when the sun is highest in the sky —solar noon. The amount of UV radiation reaching the surface is primarily related to the elevation of the sun in the sky, the amount of ozone in the stratosphere and the amount of clouds present.

"The higher the UV Index, the greater the dose rate of skin damaging and eye damaging UV radiation," said John Barrow, Founder and President of Coolibar, which conducted the review of UV exposure data. "Consequently, the higher the UV Index, the shorter the time it takes before skin damage occurs."

Miami is one of the 13 metropolitan areas in the United States with high or very high UV exposure risk 4 or more months out of the year. In 2001, Miami experienced 184 days of high or very high exposure levels (with an exposure of 7 or higher on the UV Index), ranking 1st in total UV exposure, followed by Phoenix and Albuquerque.

The amount of UV radiation is needed to damage one's skin is dependent on several factors. In general the darker one's skin is or the more melanin in one's skin, the longer it takes skin to burn. For example, when the UV index is at 9 it will take from 9 to 22 minutes for very fair skin to burn. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, can occur from several intense short term over exposures to UV radiation. Non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are generally curable, occur in people who are overexposed for very long periods of time, like construction workers, farmers or fishermen. Long term overexposure to UV radiation has also been linked to the formation of cataracts in the eyes. UV exposure can also exacerbate the symptoms of lupus.

The EPA has devised general recommendations for protective actions needed for each exposure category. So the UV Index can be used to predict the need for UV clothing, sun hats, sunscreen, and sun avoidance.

Exposure Category UV Index Protective Actions
Minimal 0, 1, 2 Apply sun protection factor (SPF) 15 sunscreen.
Low 3, 4 SPF 15, UV clothing and sun hats.
Moderate 7, 8, 9 SPF 15, UV clothing and sun hats, and sunglasses.
High 7, 8, 9 SPF 15, UV clothing and sun hats, sunglasses and make attempts to avoid the sun between 10am to 4pm.
Very High 10+ SPF 15, UV clothing and sun hats, sunglasses and avoid being in the sun between 10am to 4pm.

Sun protective clothing is an excellent sun protection tool as it provides a physical block that doesn't wash or wear off and can shade the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Coolibar's clothing, the only sun protective clothing to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation, differs from standard attire by blocking 97% or more of UV rays and providing an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30 or greater. Most summer-weight cotton T-shirts offer as little as 5 UPF dry and lose 50% of their UPF when wet. Also, while the t-shirt may prevent skin from burning, the effect of UVB rays, it is not preventing the absorption of harmful UVA rays, which, over time, dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer.

Coolibar was founded in 2001 to bring Australia's world-leading approaches to sun protection to the American market. The company has extensively redesigned Australian sun protection clothing styles to meet the tastes and needs of fashion- and health-conscious Americans.

For information about Coolibar, go to or call 1-800-926-6509.