An outdoor patio umbrella is not just a beautiful accessory to complement your patio décor, it also performs the vital functions of keeping you and your guests cool and protected from the sun.When choosing an outdoor patio umbrella, there is so much more to consider than the shape, size, and color. Function is also important as umbrellas have been engineered to be so much more effective than they once were. Choosing the right fabric canopy is important as it can provide excellent protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.A superior quality patio umbrella will be a barrier between your skin and UV rays from the sun. The umbrella can be compared to an additional layer of sunscreen, protecting you from skin damage and even skin cancers.
What are the Risks Associated with UV Exposure?
As the ozone layer gets thinner, the atmosphere’s protective filter activity is reduced causing exposure to higher levels of UV radiation, especially UVB. The occurrence of any types of skin cancers has been more frequent over the past few decades partly due to ozone depletion and higher levels of UV. Additionally, outdoor activities and sunbathing habits result in excessive UV exposure.
UV levels vary with the sun’s height in the sky and are highest during the summer months in the 4-hour period around solar noon. These are the hours we tend to be outside – especially for outdoor entertaining.In the United States, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year than new cases of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined! Twenty percent of Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Exposure to UV radiation is the most preventable risk factor.Actinic keratoses and premature aging are other forms of skin damage associated with UV ray exposure and eye damage in the form of cataracts is more likely with sun exposure. Scientists have discovered that overexposure to UV radiation could even suppress the immune system!
Do Umbrellas Provide Enough UV Protection?
The good news is that an umbrella can block more than 70% of ultraviolet light. Darker colors block even more rays. Outdoor umbrellas provide the shade and protection you need, so that you can remove your hat and sunglasses as you enjoy the moment. If you have chosen a good outdoor umbrella that has been manufactured using quality material with UV filters that filter out UV radiation for optimal sun protection, you will be well protected. Of course, one should always wear sunblock to minimize one’s skin cancer risk and remember that UV rays can also be reflected from walls and the ground.
The Best Materials for Sun Umbrellas