Monthly Archives

September 2016

A shaded walkway in a park

When You Need a Break From Your Fun in the Sun

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There are few things in life more enjoyable than soaking up the sun with friends and family. Whether in your own backyard, at the local beach or on your lunch break at work, most people feel rejuvenated after just a little time in the sunshine. But even the most ardent of sun lovers agree, sometimes you need a little shade.

What Are Shade Structures?

Shade structures are exactly what they sound like, a structure that provides shade. They can take many forms in both permanent and movable varieties. Even nature provides shade structures in the form of trees, bushes and plants. Often a shade structure is included over patios or decks in a residential setting, and over public seating areas in a commercial setting. Many businesses strive to provide a nice shady area outside for their employees to enjoy during break times.

Why Are Shade Structures Important?

Including a shade structure in your outdoor space will accomplish several different things, the most obvious being that it provides protection from the sun for both people and property. UV rays from the sun not only damage skin, but prolonged exposure also damages the surface of your patio or deck. Even the family car needs a break from the sun! Using a shade structure to cover a regular parking space will not only save you from a sweltering car interior, but also helps prolong the life of your car’s exterior and interior surfaces. Shade structures are also an easy way to help visually break up an outdoor space. Using shade structures to define the different areas of your yard will give the space a more complete feel, and it’s a functional way to add beauty to the landscape. A well-designed structure can be a work of art when executed properly.

What Are the Options?

When planning your outdoor living space, there are a variety of things you could do to incorporate shade. Trees, shrubbery and plants are a natural and beautiful way to give your space areas of respite from the sun. However, these options may take some time to fully develop and provide adequate shade, so you may want to incorporate a shade structure as well. Permanent structures could include pergolas, gazebos or cabanas, and our proprietary designs at Modern Shade. Or you may want to do something simpler such as an oversized umbrella or a sunshade that utilizes outdoor fabric. There are also options for portable shade structures that range from a simple umbrella to a large portable shelter. These options can also work in a permanent space, such as your own yard, deck or patio, and they are really useful options when you are enjoying an outing at your local park or beach.

So get out there and enjoy the beauty and refreshment that comes from being in the great outdoors, whether it’s fun in the sun or a day made in the shade!

A partly cloudy sky

The sun’s damaging effect on your skin

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You may feel that with fall right around the corner, the dangers of sunburn have passed. However, sun damage has nothing to do with the temperature; people tend to cover up more when the weather cools, reducing their exposure. But your risks of skin damage from the sun’s UV rays are still there. 

Sun damage

That reddening of the skin from sunburn is cells and blood capillaries that have been damaged. Repeated sunburns can cause your skin to become dry, discolored, and wrinkled. The skin may appear to be thicker, but is actually more prone to bruising or further damage.

The greatest risk is skin cancer. This is the most common form of cancer, but you can minimize the chances of contracting it by staying in the shade.

Vitamin D

You’ve probably heard that you need sunlight for your body to create vitamin D. While this is true, your body only needs about 15 minutes of sunlight per week to process enough of this important nutrient. Even that isn’t necessary since milk, cereals, and other foods are fortified with vitamin D. You can always buy it in capsule form. It feels great to be out in the sun and fresh air, but you don’t need it to stay healthy.

Avoiding damage from the sun

Simply staying in the shade is the best way to avoid the sun’s harmful effects. Like most people you probably love sunshine, but if you spend much time outdoors you should take precautions:

  • Apply sunscreen before going outside. You can buy various levels of protection and it only takes a few moments to rub it over exposed areas. Those who may be especially sensitive should use a sunscreen with SPF (skin protection factor) 30 or higher.
  • Stay covered up. You should wear a broad-brimmed hat and long sleeves and pants of a loose, light material that will block the UV rays.
  • Stay in the shade in the middle of the day when the sun’s UV rays are strongest, from around 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Use sunglasses to protect your eyes.

How to recover from sun damage:


  • Once your skin is damaged, always use sunscreen when leaving the house. Use SPF 15 or better. If skin irritation develops there may be ingredients you’re sensitive to. Consult a dermatologist or experiment with different brands.
  • Gently exfoliating your skin, which is the process of removing dead cells from the outer layer, can help it look better and heal faster.
  • Moisturize! There are a wide variety of good hydrating products available, many with ingredients like aloe or vitamin E that help promote healing.
  • There are some new LED lighting products which are designed to promote collagen production in the cells, and can help to heal and reduce damage to your skin.
  • When you’ve developed brown spots or other discolorations, use an over-the-counter lotion made for the problem.

When damage is more severe, always consult a dermatologist. Repeated sunburn can do lasting damage to your skin. If you spend time outdoors take some precautions and stick to the shade whenever possible.