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Research Letter
June 2013

UV Radiation Protection by Handheld Umbrellas

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Dermatology (Drs McMichael and Chen) and Medicine (Dr Veledar), Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; and the Division of Dermatology, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, Georgia (Dr Chen).

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(6):757-758. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.2519

The handheld umbrella (HU) is a commonly employed method of sun protection by women in many countries in Asia (45% in China1) and the Middle East. In Turkey, hats and umbrellas were found to be the most common photoprotection accessories.2

The HU was standard outdoor attire for women of the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States.3 In the next century, sunscreen, hats, and sun-protective clothing supplanted HUs, but growing public awareness of the harmful effects of UV radiation (UVR) exposure may cause people to increasingly seek the protection of shade.

Several companies market special sun HUs with a UV protection factor of 50 or higher. We wondered how effective average rain HUs are in blocking UVR and whether a commercially available sun HU would be more effective. The specific aim of our study was to determine the amount of UVR that penetrates HUs.

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