UT University Health Services
longhorns under the sun

Whether sitting by the Turtle Pond or strolling around campus with a friend, spending just 15 minutes outside helps us feel connected to our environment, boosts our creative mind and allows us to discover something new about campus.

UT Austin students enjoy many outdoor activities year-round while protecting their skin and acclimating to the Texas heat. In fact, 91% of students say that they stay in the shade when they are outdoors as a way of protecting against ultraviolet rays (NCHA, 2021).

Longhorns Under the Sun invites members of the community to explore all the ways to stay safer in the sun while enjoying outdoor activities.


How to Stay Safer in the Sun

Plan the Timing of Your Activities

The sun is the strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. regardless of cloud coverage. Plan activities in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the sunniest and hottest parts of the day. Additionally, limit time outside and take breaks by going indoors to cool down. Drinking water, using a cold compress or resting can all help bring down your temperature.

Choose Loose Fitting and Comfortable Clothing

Cover exposed areas of skin with clothing. Wearing long sleeves when it is hot outside can be hard, so choose loose fitting comfortable clothes.

  • Pick a wide-brimmed hat or visor that shades the face, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that protect against 99-100% of UV rays.
  • Look for lip balms with SPF 30+
  • Clothing made of sun protective, ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) fabric is available. Look for the Skin Cancer Foundations seal on the tag.
skin cancer foundation

Seek Shade or Bring Your Own

When studying outside or having afternoon lunch with a friend, sit under a tree or overhang. Any physical structure that helps shelter from direct sunlight is optimal. Use an umbrella when walking to class to protect the top of your head. Concrete can also reflect sunlight even when it’s in the shade, so be sure to use other strategies in combination to be safer.

Stay Hydrated

Drink all the water. The intensity of the Texas sun lends itself to hotter outdoor temperatures. Grab a refillable water bottle and fill it up before you leave your home or at a water fountain on campus.

Check the UV Index

Before heading out, check the UV index by using a weather app or forecasting website. Even on a day when the UV index is low (<2) it is recommended to take sun safe precautions like wearing sunglasses and an SPF of at least 30 and avoiding bright surfaces.

uv index

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen can be one of our best defenses against the strong Texas sun and other sources of UV radiation.

  1. Check the Label - Choose sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 15 when indoors and SPF 30 when outdoors. Ensure that it is water-resistant and offers broad spectrum coverage.
    Sunscreen can expire. If the sunscreen is expired the ingredients in the product will not be as effective. Sunscreen is designed to remain at its original strength for 3 years.
  2. Timing - Ideally, aim to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors. However, if already outside apply as soon as possible.
  3. Amount - Apply an even coat of sunscreen to any portion of the skin not covered by clothes. Make sure to apply enough - most adults need about 30 mL of sunscreen to have full coverage. Make sure you pay attention to applying behind the ears, inside of arms, the tops of the feet and under the chin.
  4. Ask for Help - Ask a friend to help apply sunscreen for those hard-to-reach areas such as the back.
  5. Apply More Sunscreen - Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

Visit the UT Sunscreen Dispensers
The sunscreen dispensers support a healthier campus environment by providing access to free sunscreen year-round. Check out our sunscreen dispensers at the Gregory Gymnasium Aquatics complex. The dispensers contain water-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen and have a ‘how to apply guide’ attached.


Need more support? We’re here to help!

hours Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm by appointment Monday - Friday, 8am to 5pm
by appointment
512) 471-4955 (512) 471-4955
email uhs Email UHS

University Health Services is committed to providing high-quality care to patients of all ages, races, ethnicities, physical abilities or attributes, religions, sexual orientations, or gender identities/expression.


100 West Dean Keeton
Student Services Building (SSB)


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