|FACTORS THAT INCREASE SUNBURN POTENTIAL
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
A sunburn can be painful and produce several days of the skin being red, peeling, itchy and uncomfortable. This writing looks at various
factors that can increase the sunburn potential and ways to counteract sunburns.
Factors that increase sunburn potential and ways to counteract sunburn:
1. Length of time exposure to the sun: The amount of time exposed to the sun can make a big difference. Just an extra 15 minutes
in the sun can make a sunburn much more severe.
2. Sun angle: The higher the sun is in the sky then the more direct the radiation will be. A sunburn will occur quicker in the late
morning and afternoon when the sun is high in the sky.
3. Direct skin exposure: Skin exposed directly to the sun will burn much quicker than skin that is shaded by clothing
4. No sun screen: Applying sunscreen can be the critical factor that prevents a sunburn. It must be made sure that the sun screen
covers all exposed skin and is reapplied when needed.
5. Wear UV protectant sun glasses: This reduces damage of UV radiation to the eyes
6. Being around water: Being around water can increase sunburn potential since there is exposure from both direct exposure
and reflection of radiation off the water. Many sunburns occur on the lake or when at the pool.
7. Skin tone: lighter skin tones tend to burn more quickly than darker skin tones
8. Time between exposure: Someone that has not been in the sun in a long time will tend to sunburn faster than someone that has had
several days of some sun exposure recently. Thus, sunburns can be more common when having the first significant
sun exposure in the warm season.
9. Medications: Some medications increase sunburn potential since a shorter exposure to the sun can produce a sunburn
10. High elevation: There is less atmosphere for the radiation to move through in higher elevation regions. Thus, less radiation
is scattered away. This can increase the sunburn potential.