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What is UV?

Did you know ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer?

Fortunately, most skin cancers can be prevented by using good sun protection when the UV is 3 and above.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun and some artificial sources, such as arc welders and solariums.

The sun’s UV is the main cause of skin cancer. Too much UV exposure also causes sunburn, tanning, premature ageing and eye damage.

You can see the sun’s light. You can feel the sun’s heat. But you can’t see or feel the sun’s UV radiation. UV can reach you directly from the sun. It can also be reflected off different surfaces and scattered by particles in the air.

Your senses cannot detect UV radiation, so you won’t notice it is all around you and you won’t notice any skin damage until it has been done.

The UV Index

The World Health Organization’s Global Solar UV Index measures UV levels on a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). Sun protection is recommended when UV levels are 3 (Moderate) or higher.

The UV level is affected by a number of factors including the time of day, time of year, cloud cover, altitude, location and surrounding surfaces.

The UV Index and the sun protection times

The sun protection times are issued when UV levels are forecast to be 3 or higher. At this level there is a risk of skin damage for most Australians.

You can find the sun protection times for your location: 

  • on the free SunSmart Global UV app
  • on the SunSmart widget
  • at Bureau of Meterology website


The SunSmart Global UV app puts sun protection advice at your fingertips.

Access free daily sun protection times as well as a seven-day weather & UV forecast based on your location.

  • UV and sun protection alerts each day.
  • Option to create unique alerts that suit your schedule and location.
  • Access worldwide UV levels which can be tailored to your specific location, providing clear guidance on when sun protection is and is not required.
  • Seven-day forecast of sun protection times and weather information.
  • Available in eight languages including English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, German, Italian and Russian. 
  • Live UV levels across Australia and the world.

  To download the free SunSmart Global UV app visit the SunSmart website Sunsmart website