It’s time to gear up for summer! The temperature is finally starting to warm up, and you and your family are excited to kick back, relax and enjoy some fun in the sun. If you're planning a season filled with backyard barbecues, outdoor activities, gardening projects and pool parties, you will need to consider getting some extra sun protection.
The sun’s UV rays are at their peak during the summer, and unprotected skin can get sun burnt in less than 15 minutes. While applying a sunscreen is essential, taking other sun-safety precautions should not be overlooked. According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of melanoma skin cancer among American adults has tripled since the 1970s despite the increase in sunscreen usage.
Below are 4 useful tips to get your family shielded from the sun’s harmful rays, right in your own backyard.
1. Plan Your Day Around the Sun
No need to go far to enjoy the sun! Kids love to play in their own backyard. But be careful: UV rays peak at midday, 1pm being the most risky time for sun exposure. So whenever possible, try to hit the outdoors during early morning or late afternoon (anytime before 10 am and after 4 pm), when the sun’s UV rays are at their lowest.
Consult the UV Index for daily forecasts of ultraviolet radiation intensity, to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that will prevent sun overexposure. Websites like Sunburn Map can give you the UV index according to your geolocalization.
2. Put on a Mineral Sunscreen
Many of us already know sunscreen is an important way to prevent UV damage, but it is important to keep in mind that sunscreens are not intended to lengthen the time spent in the sun, but to reduce exposure, prevent sun-induced damages and provide protection from sunburn.
It is recommend to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that will protect you and your family from both UVA and UVB rays. Mineral Zinc Oxide sunscreen is considered the best sunblock for your little ones. Moreover, opt for a sunscreen with an 30+ SPF to effectively protect your skin from the sun. Apply one ounce of sunscreen every two hours and after swimming to all areas of the body, including the ears, feet and behind the neck.
3. Gear Up with Sun Accessories and Clothing
Sunscreens should not be the only source of sun protection. The more skin you cover, the better. We recommend wearing breathable long-sleeved shirts, long pants or long skirts to cover the most skin, especially for babies and toddlers.
A UPF label will help you identify sun-protective garments; the number on the label indicates what fraction of the sun’s rays can penetrate the fabric. While clothes made of UV-screening fabrics go a long way to protect your skin, the face and neck receive the most sun exposure, so it’s equally as important to wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim that extends three inches or more all the way around to shade the face, neck, ears, and even the top of the shoulders.
4. Cover Your Backyard with an Outdoor Awning
There's no purpose in having a patio if you can't enjoy it on a sunny day, and that’s where outdoor awnings and other shading options come in handy. It’s always a good idea to have a seating area in your backyard where you and your family can stay cool and dine.
Depending on the size of your patio and the amount of coverage you want, there are many options available to shade your outdoor space with style and function thanks to outdoor awnings. A sun shade with a retractable roof can be a great solution if you want the flexibility of adjusting the amount of shade, coverage and sun protection you need, and retracting whenever you want to enjoy an open air setting when the sun goes down. Some retractable awnings can even be deployed all the way down to the ground and can cover a wide surface, making it a perfect option for families with very sensitive skin who want to enjoy the outdoors no matter the time of day.
Another great option for sun protection is the wall retractable pergola. Easily mountable on any terrace to transition seamlessly from indoors to outdoors, the Retractable Pergola will provide the desired amount of shading using a remote control and cool you down on those hot summer days, by blocking the UV rays before they penetrate your home.
In conclusion, no matter if you choose a wall pergola, a retractable awning or lighter shading options such as a retractable gazebo, a retractable parasol or retractable pergolina (picture above), it is important to make sure the canvas block the sun properly. To ensure your family optimal protection against harmful sun rays, opt for a canvas that blocks close to 100% of UV rays. Premium quality fabric vinyl and acrylic canvases specifically designed for outdoors like the Sunbrella and Dickson models absorb 98% of UV radiation while keeping the temperature cooler.