From the Ancient Egyptians, who used large pieces of fabric to provide sun shade, man has always found ways to seek shade from the sun's scorching rays. Today we emulate these needs with a large variety of shade options as offerings in the market place. The Ancient Egyptian culture shows much evidence of sun worship, but they obviously also had a healthy respect for the effect of too much sun.
Since their invention by the ancient Egyptian and Syrian civilizations, awnings have become increasingly popular among home owners, restaurants, and businesses. There are door awnings, window awnings, retractable patio awnings, and awnings of every size and dimension. They are offered in hundreds of colors and styles, retractable or stationary, for residential and commercial purposes and can be fully custom made if required. Some are even fully motorized or automated, with options for manual control. Retractable exterior shading systems are very efficient in providing sun shade control to suit your needs. This also allows for optimal heat and light control. Where automated, they can also be fully integrated with your other home automation systems.
The essence of all these various options for sun shade is to reduce the direct access of solar ultra violet rays to ourselves, either directly if outdoors, or indirectly through windows and glass doors.
What is important to note is that glass prevents UVB rays from reaching you, but not UVA rays. So while sitting at work, in your car, or anywhere else behind glass, you are susceptible to sun damage from UVA rays. UVA rays are longer than UVB and so penetrate deeper. They do not cause sunburn like UVB rays do, so you don't tend to feel as if you are getting burnt at all. The damage is deeper though, causing photo-aging, wrinkles, and potentially skin cancer. Wear a sunscreen if possible but make sure it provides excellent UVA protection rather than just UVB, like many sunscreens do.
To add to the quality of your sun shade, an option is the use of fabric with a long lasting UV protective ability. This will boost the protective ability of your sun shade during the summer months and/or midday sun, when the sun's ultraviolet rays are at their strongest. Ultimately it provides for better quality sun protection for you.
If planning on spending a lot of time at the beach during the summer months, then a good quality beach shade umbrella is most likely a very good investment. However, when you lounge beneath a beach shade, don't make the mistake of believing you are blocking out 100% of the ultraviolet rays from reaching your skin. The sun's rays will reflect off the seawater as well as the sand. Added protection via sunscreen or sun protective clothing will assist here. This applies equally if planning on entertaining in your backyard with a good old fashioned barbeque next to the swimming pool.
So, with sun shades coming in all forms and sizes, we can protect ourselves from over exposure to ultraviolet rays and thereby damage to our skin and health.