According to a new study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, sunscreen is best suited for effective protection against harmful UV rays while enjoying a day at the beach. Even though beach umbrellas also have their merits, the shade they offer is not enough to keep people from getting sunburns.


Researchers from Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. in Skillman, New Jersey, led by Dr. Hao Ou-Yang required 81 individuals with fair skin to spend three and a half hours exposed to direct sunlight in August 2014. Some of the participants were offered an umbrella, while others were asked to apply sunscreen with SPF 100. Upon analyzing the results, the researchers observed that 41 people who used an umbrella to shade themselves from the sun suffered 142 sunburn areas, while those who coated themselves with sunscreen suffered only 17 sunburns, collectively.

In percentage points, this roughly translates to 78 percent of the subjects affected by UV rays while using only an umbrella to protect themselves from the sun, with only 25 percent suffering skin damage after applying sunscreen.