Are Beach Umbrellas Actually Worth It?
April 27, 2018
If you are based in the UK, then you too must be longing for those long summer days to arrive again, especially after the most recent snowstorms, it seems like the sunshine is forever away, but don't fret as it will be here before you know it.
So, for those of us who live at the beach during the summer months, umbrellas are pretty much our saving grace. They save our spot while we take a quick dip and they also help us find our spot when coming back to our blankets. Most importantly, they protect us from the hot summer sun… or do they?
It turns out that apparently beach umbrellas aren't actually saving our skin from harmful UV rays. The study pitted beach umbrellas against SPF 100 sunscreen. 81 participants were then told to lay in the sun and after a three and an hour our period, researchers found that 78% of team umbrella came back sunburnt whereas only 25% of participants burned while using sunscreen.
During the actual study, researchers monitored participants under umbrellas to make sure they remained in the shad and covered up if they needed to leave the umbrella for any reason. The bottom line here though is basically the umbrella does nothing for your skin protected.
Shade is recommended by many groups for preventions of skin cancer, is effective in reducing the amount of exposure to UV rays in general, but the magnitude of reduction and clinical effectiveness may be less than expected. Beach umbrellas, as convenient shade structures that are widely used in summer are designed to block direct UV rays but do not block scattered or diffused UV rays, which could be significant at places such as a beach.
While scientists who conducted the study reinforce that fact that although the SPF 100 sunscreen did protect the skin better than umbrellas, neither form of sun protection prevents sunburn completely. This is a great reminder that is important to use several forms of sun protection while exposed to UV rays to get the most bang for your skins buck…
So don't go tossing that beach umbrella away just yet, just make sure you lather up in some high SPF before hunkering down in that cool shade.