This is for anyone who frequents the beach and thinks that only using a beach umbrella for sun protection is safe: it's not.
A new study published by JAMA Dermatology shows that beach umbrellas are not a substitute for sunscreen, even though you're in the shade.
81 people participated in the study which took place in Texas over a course of 3.5 hours. They were given either a sunscreen with an SPF value of 100, or they were given a beach umbrella. 78% of participants who were using the beach umbrella developed a sunburn, while only 25% of those using sunscreen did.
Umbrellas are not effective in blocking UVB radiation, which is what causes sunburns.
The study reinforces the fact that when you are exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time, you need to be extremely cautious about how you approach it. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests sunscreen in addition to shade, protective clothing, and avoiding peak sun hours.
The study also notes that SPF 100 sunscreen is actually no better than SPF 50. A sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will block 98% of UV radiation, which is as good as you can get. In comparison, an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 97% of UV radiation. The FDA has proposed legislation against these "inherently misleading" labels.
So there you have it. Beach umbrellas may be cute and effective for when you want a break from the direct sunlight, but they should not be used as sunscreen replacement!
Share this with any beach bums you know!