What Does "UV" Mean for Me? A COSMEDIX Guide to the UV Index

Keep your sunglasses and your SPF handy: this summer is still just heating up. The UV Index is one of the most useful tools in helping address sun damage, but do we really understand what it means for our skincare routine? This week, COSMEDIX is taking a look at the UV Index, explaining the precautions we should be taking to help protect skin from the sun, and showing off some of our skin-loving broad spectrum SPF-infused moisturizers.

What is the UV Index?

You may be used to seeing the letters “UV” on your sunscreen, but you may or may not know that “UV” stands for “Ultra-Violet,” as in ultra-violet radiation. According to the EPA, overexposure to UV radiation carries significant health risks, especially if you burn easily or have lighter-colored eyes. The UV Index  forecasts how intense UV radiation will be on a given day.

What do UV Index Ratings Mean?

The UV Index rates UV intensity from one to eleven and recommends different precautions for each. If there’s low risk, like a ranking of 0-2, you may only need your daily SPF and a pair of sunglasses. A ranking of 3-7 represents a more moderate risk, so make sure to reapply your broad spectrum SPF with good-for-your-skin ingredients every two hours and add a wide-brimmed hat or sun-protective clothing. If the UV index is above 7, you should try to avoid the sun during peak times and reapply clean sunscreen even more diligently, especially to sensitive areas like the scalp or the ears. The UV risk hovers in that 8-11 range for much of the U.S. during the summer months, so find a shady place to camp out from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Which COSMEDIX SPF Do We Recommend?

UV Index 0-2 (Or If You’re Staying Indoors):

Hydrate + Broad Spectrum SPF 17 Moisturizing Sunscreen

This Moisturizing Sunscreen will help protect your skin from the sun on days when the UV Index isn’t too intense, or if you’re headed into the office or to take in a summer blockbuster. Sure, it has an SPF of 17, but Hydrate + is more than a basic sunscreen. Formulated with hydrating ingredients like Olive Fruit Oil and Jojoba Seed Oil, this non-greasy moisturizer works to help improve the appearance of skin and radiance for a healthier-looking complexion.

UV Index of 3-7:

Protect UV Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Moisturizing Spray


This light, blendable broad spectrum SPF 30 shines when you’re on the go because it applies as a fine, lightweight mist with an undetectable sheer finish. Silky smooth and uber-hydrating, Protect is formulated with D-Trehalose to help skin retain moisture and Niacinamide to help improve skin barrier function. Perfect for all skin types, Protect works well for the middle range of UV intensity or for every day wear.

Protect UV Mini Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Moisturizing Spray AM  

If travel is part of your plans this summer, make sure your SPF goes with you! Stash a mini-version of Protect UV in your luggage to help diminish the effect of UVA and UVB rays and keep your skin healthy-looking and more hydrated.

UV Index of 8+:

Peptide-Rich Defense Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 50


The highest SPF COSMEDIX has to offer, Peptide-Rich Defense takes skin defense to a whole new level. This bestselling moisturizer and sunscreen doesn’t just shield your skin from UV rays, it also helps replenish moisture loss and smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Lightweight enough to wear as a daily moisturizer under makeup, Peptide-Rich Defense is formulated with Squalane to instantly hydrate and soothe the skin as well as Trehalose to lock in moisture. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours, especially when the UV Index is in the “Intense” or “Extreme” range!