The sun, despite the warmth it brings, and the joy of sunny days that are filled with it can be pretty harmful if you don't protect yourself from its rays.
It’s a question many people ask themselves when they go out in the heat: “what color umbrella is best for sun protection?”.
When the weather heats up, we all want to stay safe and comfortable while enjoying the outdoors.
But what exactly does "sun protection" mean?
And how do you know which colors will keep you protected from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays?
Well, in this article, we are going to cover some basic info about this topic.
We're going to discuss what the sun's light and energy can do, how helpful an umbrella can be to deflect them, as well as the best color that you can use to help protect you from the shadier side of the sun's rays.
How Light From The Sun Can Be Harmful
The answer lies in understanding the difference between UV radiation and visible light.
Sunlight contains both types of energy - UV radiation and visible light - but only the UV portion can damage your skin.
Visible light is used by our eyes to see objects in front of us.
Visible light travels through glass, water, sand, or snow, so it doesn't pose much risk of harm.
However, when sunlight hits your skin, some of this light passes through your epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin, and into your bloodstream where it may trigger cancer-causing free radicals.
When the sun shines on your skin, it emits UV rays, invisible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.
These rays travel at great speeds and can penetrate deep into your body.
They can even pass through clouds and reach the ground below.
When these rays hit your skin, they cause two main problems:
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer caused by prolonged exposure to UVA radiation.
It develops slowly over time, usually taking years to become noticeable.
UVA rays also can age your skin prematurely.
This means that your skin starts looking older than it should before you've even turned 40!
While melanoma is rarer among adults, children are more vulnerable to developing it because their skin is thinner and less able to handle the effects of UV rays.
According to the National Cancer Institute, about 2 million new cases of nonmelanocytic skin cancers occur each year in the United States alone.
Of those, roughly half are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
Premature Aging & Skin Damage
One of the most common complaints after spending time outside is dryness.
Dry skin is often associated with aging and wrinkles. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburns and tanning.
While these rays are necessary for your skin to produce vitamin D, too much exposure can cause premature aging and skin damage.
UV rays also contribute to wrinkles and fine lines.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90% of Americans suffer from signs of photoaging, including fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, dull complexion, and sagging skin.
Protecting Your Skin With An Umbrella
So, now that you understand the dangers of UV rays, let's talk about protecting yourself against them.
You can find umbrellas in different colors, sizes, and shapes.
But if you want to effectively shield yourself from harmful rays, look for one with a high SPF rating.
You don't need a 100+ SPF umbrella to get adequate protection.
A good quality 30-50 SPF umbrella will provide enough protection to keep you safe throughout the day.
It is widely accepted that a decent patio umbrella will help reduce the amount of UV radiation you are exposed to by as much as two-thirds, helping keep your skin much healthier in the long run.
However, many factors affect the amount of SPF you'll get from a particular umbrella.
The size, shape, color, and material used all play an important role in how well an umbrella protects you.
In the next section of this article, we are going to be focusing on the color of your umbrella specifically, to see how much of an effect it has on how much radiation you are exposed to.
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Color Of Your Sun Umbrella
Whilst color isn't necessarily the most important factor that will determine how much UV is absorbed, it is certainly worth discussing.
Especially depending on if certain colors are more easily available on certain fabrics, which do play a vital role when it comes to helping regulate UV exposure.
Whilst a bright white umbrella might look great on a beach, it isn't exactly the best for protecting you against the sun.
Despite the reflective nature of white and lighter colors, the amount of heat that can build up underneath a light umbrella can make your whole bathing or outdoor experience a lot less pleasant.
That being said, a light umbrella with a tightly-woven fabric material should at least protect you from most of the sun's UV rays.
On the other hand, darker colors absorb a lot more UV than they reflect.
This means that dark umbrellas are better at shielding you from the sun's rays.
However, some people prefer darker colored umbrellas because they feel that the darker shade makes them appear cooler.
It is recommended that you choose a dark umbrella if you plan on using it during the summer months.
If you're not sure whether a dark or light umbrella would work best for you, try both out and see what works best for you.
Choosing Between Black And White
Black umbrellas generally have a higher SPF rating than their white counterparts.
They are also very popular amongst those who like to cover themselves in tanning oil while spending time outdoors.
White umbrellas tend to have a lower SPF rating than black ones, but they also give off a softer glow.
Many people enjoy the softness of white umbrellas, especially if they are looking for a relaxing way to spend some time in the sun.
The Bottom Line: When choosing between a black or white umbrella, go with whichever one feels right to you.
Both umbrellas offer excellent protection against sunlight, so there really shouldn't be any reason why either would prove to be inferior to the other.
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As you've seen above, selecting the perfect umbrella is a personal preference.
There are plenty of different factors that come into play when it comes to choosing the perfect umbrella for yourself, and although color does play a role in UV protection, you should also consider fabric type.
A tightly woven fabric will make the best sun shield!