In the spring and summer months, the only way to lower your risk of sun cancer and sunburn is by limiting your time in the sun. Sunscreen, when used correctly, reduces the damage that UVA and UVB rays cause. Even with sunscreen, you have to limit the amount of time you’re in direct sunlight.
Did you know that tarps block UV light? Many types of tarps are treated to block UVA and UVB rays. If you’re going to be outside, tarps that block UV light will protect you from the damaging effects.
Is UV Light Really That Dangerous?
Stop for a minute and consider the realities of ultraviolet radiation. UV rays occur naturally in sunlight. While it may feel great to have the sun beating down, UVA and UVB rays damage your skin cells. Premature aging is just one of the dangers of exposure to the sun. Skin cancer is the bigger risk. While UVA rays increase your skin cancer risk, UVB rays are more directly tied to skin cancer and sunburn.
Why is this important? In 2012, more than 5.4 million people were found to have non-melanoma skin cancer. Another 58 million are believed to have skin cell damage that is precancerous. Staying out of the sun isn’t always possible, but you can take precautions that keep the UV rays from damaging your skin cells.
Liberal amounts of sunscreen are essential when you’re outside. People often use too little sunscreen and don’t apply it to places like the ears, eyelids, and lips. Sunscreen must protect you from both UVA and UVB rays (broad-spectrum) and have an SPF of at least 15. Reapply it every couple of hours or after being in water or sweating excessively.
If you have to be outside when the sun is brightest (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), stay in a shaded area as much as possible. A shelter or sunshade made from a UV-blocking material is best.
What Materials Block UV Rays?
Before you build a sunshade, patio cover, or some other type of shelter, make sure you’ve chosen a tarp that blocks UV rays. These tarps protect against the damaging sun rays.
#1 – Polyethylene Tarps: Poly tarps resist water and are UV treated. If you are looking to create an awning or another form of shelter, look into silver UVR heavy-duty tarps. If you don’t want silver, there are heavy-duty poly tarps in green, black, brown, and white. All of these tarps resist mildew, which makes them ideal for outdoor use over a deck, patio, pool, or sandbox.
#2 – Vinyl Coated Polyester Tarps: Vinyl-coated tarps are also mildew resistant. They’re also waterproof and designed to stand up to heavy-duty use. If you live in a windy area, the tear-resistant quality of these tarps is ideal. They’re also UV-treated to block UVA and UVB rays. The wide range of colors adds a touch of whimsy to your backyard, daycare, or school. They come in standard colors like black, white, and gray, but there are also bold colors like pink, purple, red, burgundy, and more.
#3 – Vinyl Laminated Polyester Tarps: For an outdoor workspace, the vinyl laminated poly tarps are great choices. The difference with these tarps is that they’re also flame retardant. This makes them an excellent choice if you’ll be working on a construction site where welding equipment is in use. The tarps are waterproof, mildew resistant, and come in nine colors.
#4 – Polypropylene Mesh Tarps: If you need a tarp that allows air to flow, a polypropylene mesh tarp offers UV protection and breathability from the durable mesh design. This is a great tarp if you want to add extra sun protection by creating walls around a deck or patio. Use the mesh tarp around the outdoor space to keep out insects and UV rays and put a solid tarp over the top for roofing.
Outdoor Sun Shelters Provide Safe Respite From UV Light
Skin cancer is the most common of cancer and it’s preventable. With a broad-spectrum sunscreen and outdoor spaces that block out UV light, you’ll keep your family safe. Use tarps that block out UV light and turn your deck or patio into a screened outdoor area. Build a tent over your children’s pool, sandbox, or swing set. Use the tarp to build an affordable awning over your favorite outdoor area.
Once you have a design in mind, we have a full range of tarps that protect against UVA and UVB rays. If you need a custom size, that’s not a problem. Call Chicago Canvas & Supply to discuss the best UV-blocking tarp for your project.