When you head to the beach, it’s a no-brainer to bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen before subjecting your skin to the sun’s harmful rays. So why is it any different with outdoor living spaces? Your patio may not be an oceanside beach, but it’s still vital that you protect yourself from the sun – especially during the summer months.
What are UVA and UVB rays?
While the sun may feel nice as it warms your skin, it’s also exposing you to UVA and UVB rays, otherwise known as ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. This UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic spectrum which originates from the sun and travels to the earth. The waves are invisible to the naked eye because they have wavelengths shorter than those of visible light. Both UVA and UVB rays penetrate the earth’s atmosphere and can be the cause of premature skin aging like fine lines and wrinkles. They can also cause eye damage and even skin cancer. These rays can suppress the immune system, leaving your body less able to fight off unwanted bacteria.
UVA rays make up 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface. They are less intense than UVB rays, but are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. Contrary to popular belief, your skin is exposed to these rays even on cloudy days, which is why it’s important to always put on the sunscreen when you’re headed outside. UVA rays also penetrate the skin more deeply than UVBs and play a major part in the aging process of skin.
UVB rays are the cause of skin reddening and sunburn, which is damaging to the skin’s epidermal layers. They usually hit the U.S. most prominently between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from April to October. The intensity of the rays usually varies by season, location and time of day.
Taking protective measures
So, next time you head out to enjoy the views of your patio, it’s important to take the proper precautions to keep yourself safe from the sun.
Motorized retractable screens
SkinCancer.org suggests seeking shade outdoors, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. One of the best ways to enjoy the fresh air and the view of the great outdoors without having to worry about sunburn or skin damage is protecting your porch or patio with motorized retractable screens. The mesh allows the cool breeze to flow throughout the space and the sun warms the area without the dangerous rays. A privacy mesh option on your screen can block up to 90 percent of UV rays. The thicker weaves provide extra solar protection and added privacy, ensuring that you are safe from the sun’s rays at all times of the day and year. When the screen is not in use, you can make it disappear with the simple touch of a button.
Be sure every time you’re going to be out in the sun, you apply an ample amount of sunblock. Stick to sunscreens with at least SPF 15, but no greater than 50. Sunscreens with an SPF over 50 don’t actually offer enhanced protection. Instead, they give users the false idea that they can slather it on without having to reapply later, which can be dangerous. It’s also a good idea to look for bottles that say “broad spectrum” or “broad spectrum UVA/UVB” to ensure that you’re getting fully protected.
Wear a hat
By wearing a hat, you’re protecting yourself from areas that are often forgotten about when it comes to applying sunscreen, like the scalp, ears, neck, eyes, forehead and nose. Before heading outdoors, grab a wide-brimmed hat that will keep the sun’s rays at bay.