How to Buy a Sun Umbrella. Umbrellas can protect you from more than just the rain. They can also protect you from the damaging rays of the sun. Today, sun umbrellas offer far more protection than yesterday's parasols. They now provide a virtually impenetrable barrier to the sun. If you have sun sensitivity, rosacea or are just concerned about skin damage, using a sun umbrella can make all the difference.
Check the UV protection factor (UPF), also known as the sun protection rating, of the umbrella or the fabric of the umbrella. This rating gives you an indication of how much sun is being blocked by the umbrella. A good sun umbrella has a rating of UPF of 50 or more.
Look for a lightweight sun umbrella. There's no reason to lug a cumbersome umbrella around when you can easily find one that weighs less than 1 pound. Golf umbrellas and other large umbrellas may weigh slightly more, but that is proportional to their size.
Buy a sun umbrella that is designed to resist the wind. Double layers and wind vents help wind gusts move through the umbrella without pulling the umbrella inside out. Remember that it can be windy even on sunny days.
Shop for sun umbrellas that are water-resistant as well. You might as well have a multipurpose umbrella that can protect you from the sun and the rain rather than having to buy one for each type of weather. You never know when there might be a sudden downpour on an otherwise sunny day.
Look for large sun umbrellas to provide maximum protection for your whole body. Umbrellas with arcs between 50 and 60 inches in diameter are sufficient to protect you.
For severe cases of sun sensitivity or allergy, look for UV clothing that can protect every inch of your body from UV rays. Use sunblock in conjunction with sun umbrellas. UV rays can bounce up from the pavement, sand and virtually any surface. You may be protected from above by an umbrella, but not from below. Buy a travel-sized sun umbrella to take with you on the go. Usually around 40 inches in diameter, these umbrellas do not provide maximum protection, but they are sufficient to cover your upper body and face, and they are certainly better than no coverage.
Unfortunately, textiles usually do not provide enough protection as of yet to prevent melanomas from developing. If you have a history of malignant melanomas, don't rely on sun umbrellas to protect you fully. Avoid extended time in the sun altogether.