Allure – The Beauty Expert | Should You Ditch Your Beach Umbrella?
BY RENEE JACQUES, ASSOCIATE DIGITAL EDITOR, JULY 21, 2015, 3:45:00 PM
Allure – The Beauty Expert | Say you’re a sun-protection boss: You’ve slathered on the SPF 50. Your phone alarm is set to remind you to reapply. You have a hat and sunglasses. You’re probably even wearing a rash guard with UPF. But could you be doing more?
According to Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, shade is probably the most important element of your sun-protection routine. “While sunscreen offers protection when you are out in the sun, staying in the shade during peak sun hours is the best way to avoid UV damage to the skin,” says Zeichner. “It seems quite basic, but just look down at yourself next time you’re at the beach. If there are sunny areas on you, they are not protected.”
The kind of shade you choose makes a difference, too. “More-tightly knit fabrics and opaque fabrics will offer better protection because they let less light through,” says Zeichner. Last week, we wrote about how important it is to consider wearing clothes with UPF, and Zeichner says the same applies to your beach umbrella. “Opt for an umbrella with proven UV protection with a UPF rating,” he says. “Whether it’s a shirt up against your skin or an umbrella four feet above you, UPF-rated fabrics do block UV light and will protect you.”
The Australian company Lovin’ Summer has created beach tents (pictured above) that are a surprisingly cute alternative to beach umbrellas. The cotton tents are made with UPF 40 fabric, which blocks out 97.5 percent of UV rays. They also come with pegs so that they can be anchored into grass, which means you can use them for picnics or barbecues, too. And since the tent is bigger than your typical beach umbrella, there’s more shade for you (and your friends) to sprawl under.
Take note: Even if you buy a UPF-rated umbrella or tent, it’s up to you to change your position for maximum protection. “Sitting under an umbrella does not necessarily mean you are actually in the shade,” says Zeichner. “You need to make sure the shadow is actually covering you, and you need to readjust to follow that shadow during the day.” And if you keep your umbrella close to the water, be extra careful. “UV light reflects off water, and umbrellas do not protect you from the side,” says Zeichner.