Tuesday, July 20, 2010

All About Sun Safety

One of the most common problems we face these days is the harmful effects of suns rays. Especially that the earth’s ozone layer cannot filter out the harmful radiation coming from the sun, we cannot escape from it. Everything under the sun can be damaged, outdoor appliances, outdoor furniture, and most especially our skin. But we can do something to protect our skin from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Let us first know the types and levels of UV rays. There are three types of UV radiations with different levels of effects on our skin.

This type of UV radiation is one of the causes of aging. When our skin is exposed, it will result to wrinkling and contribute to skin cancer. This type is the primary radiation that we are exposed on because it can pass through the ozone layer. This is commonly used for skin tanning, but be aware that excessive exposure is not good.

This is a dangerous type, this invisible ray of light can cause sunburns and can cause cataract. It can also contribute to skin cancer. The most common form of skin cancer caused by UVB burns is Melanoma. This radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer, but enough amounts of these rays will pass through which will damage our skin.

This is the most dangerous, but we don’t have to worry about it (no yet) because it is blocked by the ozone layer and will not reach the earth.

We can protect ourselves by using lotions and sun block creams with higher SPF (Sun Protection Factor) which will partially protect and reduce the effects or sun’s radiation. But the best protection is to stay away hidden from the damaging sunlight. On the other hand, we don’t like to stay indoors for long. We always seek outdoor leisure. And there are also other circumstances such as outdoor work or activity that we need to go out. Well, we can use outdoor shades and outdoor umbrellas to protect us from the sun’s radiations. But not just any shades, we need to ensure that they can protect from harmful UV rays. Especially when we use fabric type shades, we need to choose that has UPF. Just like lotion and sun block creams have SPF, fabrics have UV Protection Factor (UPF).

The factors that increase the UVB blockage are the weave density and structure and materials used. Acrylic made fabrics such as fine woven Sunbrella fabric used in outdoor umbrellas and outdoor shade sails has UPF 50+ or 98% UV Protection. Olefins are also good, aside from being durable and beautiful they have UPF 30+ or 96% UV protection. Some fabrics are manufactured with ingredients to boost the protection factor. The other factor that affects the blockage of UV rays on fabrics its color. Off-white colors have 95% blockage, and black and olive colors have 99% blockage.

Environmentalists say we can reduce this problem in general by contributing to the green revolution. By planting trees, protecting our environment, reduce-recycle-reuse our trash, and even just a simple backyard gardening will help. Well, it could help but it would normally take long. For now, all we need is protection.

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