College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Seven Sun-Safe Tips for Farmers and Gardeners

In this time of uncertainty and stay-at-home orders, many people are starting to grow their own food to become more self-reliant, resilient and food secure. Activities in gardens and on farms expose our skin to more sunlight than when we stay indoors. To avoid skin problems caused by sun exposure, follow these seven tips. 

  1. Use sunscreen and/or protective clothing. A sun protection factor of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. Long sleeves also block UV rays.
  2. Cover up. Wear tightly woven clothing that can't be seen through. Remember, dark clothing absorbs heat, and lighter clothing reflects some of the sun’s rays and heat. Do not to wear tight fitting or netted clothing.
  3. Wear a hat. It is best if your hat covers the back of your neck.
  4. Wear UV-absorbent sunglasses.
  5. Limit exposure. Do not stay in the sun for extended amounts of time. There is no specific time limit for sun exposure; that will depend on your farming needs. However, try to take a break every two hours.
  6. Take breaks often and increase the number of the breaks you take as the days get longer and hotter. As the days get hotter, you may need to take a break every 15 minutes.
  7. Drink plenty of water and stay away from carbonated drinks and alcohol.

For more information

Contact Crystal Kyle, Ph.D., NC AgrAbility director and NC Agromedicine Coordinator, at