What’s your Sun Protector?
by Lauren on Apr 25, 2023
Sun protection is a must all year round but it is especially important during sunnier and warmer months, so using a combination of sunscreen with other UV-blocking items such as hats, sun umbrellas, long sleeve shirts and sunglasses is an effective method when in the sun for extended periods of time.
How About Hats?
Hats are an effective item to block UV rays however its effectiveness also depends on: its color, construction, Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) and size. The color of the hat is particularly important because lighter colors are able to reflect UV light and are better at protecting against UV than darker colors.
UPF rating is a number showing the fraction of the sun’s UV rays able to pass through the hat. UPF50 allows 1/50 of the sun’s UV rays to pass through and UP100 allows 1/100 of the sun’s UV rays to pass through and therefore offers twice the amount of protection compared to a UPF50 hat.
At The Beach
Sun umbrellas act as a physical barrier and create shade which provides protection against the sun, however, studies have shown that sun umbrellas or parasols may block direct UV rays, this unfortunately does not protect against two types of solar UV radiation - reflected radiation or diffuse radiation.
Reflected radiation forms when UV rays reflect off the ground and onto our skin, worsened in snowy or sandy conditions compared to grass. Diffuse radiation are rays that have no certain direction and therefore they can become scattered and therefore those in the shade may still be affected by UV rays.
Sunglasses are also a great way of protecting eyes from harsh UV rays, they also cover some areas around the eyes. However, sunglasses do not protect the whole face from sun damage, so using sunscreen on the face is a must for adequate coverage and protection.
These items do offer some help in covering skin or reducing the amount of exposure to UV but obviously they do not offer complete protection, which is why using an SPF in combination with these items offers the best protection against UV rays.
Overall, these items do offer some additional protection, however, sunscreen may also be a more convenient alternative due to its small size and convenience. SPF is essential for everyday use but when outside on the beach or in the snow for example, extra protection is always a good idea!