For those of us who live at the beach during the summer, umbrellas are our saving grace. They save our spot while we take a dip, and they help us find our spot when coming back to our blankets. Most importantly, beach umbrellas protect us from that hot summer sun — or do they?
JAMA Dermatology conducted a study that showed that apparently beach umbrellas actually aren’t saving our skin from harmful UV rays. The study pitted beach umbrellas against SPF 100 sunscreen. 81 participants in Lake Lewisville, Texas spent three and a half hours (during peak sun time) at the beach, either under an umbrella or lathered in sunscreen.
Researchers for JAMA Dermatology concluded, “Shade, recommended by many groups for prevention 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.” They continued, “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. “