An umbrella may be a welcome oasis of cool shade on a sun-scorched beach, but don't rely on it to protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays. According to a study in JAMA Dermatology, umbrellas do not provide adequate sun protection.
In a clinical study, 81 participants were asked to sit on a sunny beach for three-and-a-half hours, but not before splitting into two groups: one that only applied SPF 100, and another that only sat under an umbrella. After evaluating everyone's skin, the scientists found that those in the latter group had dramatically higher incidences of sunburn than those wearing sunscreen (78 percent vs. 24 percent).
The study pointed out that umbrellas can't shield beachgoers from rays that bounce off the sand under the umbrella, concluding that a multitiered approach to sun protection (shade, clothing, sunscreen, etc.) is the best way to keep skin healthy. And remember, the sun — and UV — is at its strongest at midday, when it is at its highest point in the sky. Head indoors from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. if you really want to be good to your hide.