Can An Outdoor Umbrella Really Protect My Skin?

03 July 2024
Is there more to an outdoor umbrella than simply casting a shadow? We lay out what a good outdoor umbrella should do for you, and what to look for when choosing the best outdoor umbrella for your lifestyle.

New Zealanders love to relax and entertain outside, and creating and enjoying outdoor havens at home is a national pastime. But if the sun has ever forced you inside to escape the heat, your lovely outdoor living space might benefit from some shelter. With our fierce sun and short burn-times, providing protection on our patios from harmful UV rays is increasingly important, and is often the only way we can use our decks and patios during the hottest days of summer. So how best to stay outside and out of the sun at the same time?

A sun umbrella is an easily accessible solution, and for most outdoor entertaining areas, it is also the best solution. NZ outdoor umbrellas are attractive and practical, as well as economical, especially when compared to shade sails and louvres. With flexible positioning, no consent restrictions to delay access, and available at a fraction of the price, outdoor umbrellas are the easy winner for many spaces.

When the purpose of an outdoor umbrella is to cast a shadow on a sunny day, surely any outdoor umbrella will do? Is there really any meaningful difference in how well and how long different kinds of outdoor umbrellas protect?  Understanding what a quality outdoor umbrella could and should do could make all the difference in keeping you and your loved ones safe and truly relaxed in your own outdoor suntrap during our fantastic NZ summers and beyond. To help you choose the best for your needs, we’ve put together a short series of articles on the five ‘S’s of sun umbrellas, beginning here with skin safety.

Skin-safe: New Zealand’s depleted ozone layer poses a real threat to anyone who loves to be outside in the sunshine. Burn time at the height of New Zealand summer can be mere minutes, while long-term UV damage to skin and health is slow to show itself and devastating for some. If your umbrella canopy offers little protection from UV rays, even if you are not under it very long each day, the buildup of exposure through the canopy, a little and often, could cause damage you would prefer to avoid.

High UPF protection from your umbrella canopy will significantly increase the time you can spend relaxing outside. Shade7 acrylic canvas umbrella canopies have the highest European UPF rating of 80. This means 80x improvement on ‘burn time’. For instance, if you would usually burn in 15 minutes, multiply that by 80 when under a Shade7 canopy, and get 1200 minutes, or 20 hours protection. A very fair-skinned person might burn in 5 minutes. Multiply 5 minutes by 80 and that person has 400 minutes, or close to 7 hours protection from burning.

If you host get-togethers at your home or have family members who enjoy lounging on patio furniture or around the pool, placing a Shade7 outdoor umbrella over their heads will keep them safe throughout the day. And if it is solution-dyed fabric, such as Shade7’s umbrella fabric, its colour won’t fade, giving you years of enjoyment.

But what about those sun-worshippers who don’t want to sit in the shade, or at least, not for long? The beauty of outdoor umbrellas and cantilever umbrellas is that they are not frozen in place like a pergola or louvres. A patio umbrella can be moved freely, or simply closed, and Shade7’s stunning cantilever umbrellas can be rotated and tilted, offering fantastic versatility.

Once you understand that protection from UV rays is important, and that a quality outdoor umbrella can offer the most flexible yet robust sun protection, the next factor to ensure the best shelter and enjoyment is scale, or size. How large should your outdoor umbrella be to do the best job for your needs? Follow this link to read about scale.

The full range of Shade7 outdoor and cantilever umbrellas can be viewed in store at 1096 Great South Road, or online.

Explore our range of cantilever and outdoor umbrellas
Configure now
Loading your experience...
Send an enquiry
Your Cart
Your cart is currently empty.
Your cart is empty

Shop our extensive range of outdoor umbrellas, furniture and accessories

Added to cart Cart updated
Calculate Shipping
Apply Coupon
Ask us a question
Enter your details below and we'll be in touch to assist as soon as possible.