Washington: Cancer experts are encouraging women to be creative and use parasols to protect delicate skin from the sun.
Parasols not only help keep women extra cool; they also protect their skin from early signs of ageing.
"Opening a parasol, or umbrella, on a blazing hot day continues to be a stylish and effective way to prevent skin cancer in many countries," said Susan Chon, assistant professor in dermatology at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre, University of Texas (UT).
"Sadly, not many people carry parasols in the US, but in other countries, it is a way of life," Chon said.
The word "parasol" comes from Latin roots meaning "shade" or "shadow," meaning an umbrella. Women around the world have been using the parasol for centuries to protect their skin.
"Skip parasols made of paper or extremely thin cloth," Chon said. "They offer little or no protection from the sun. Instead, get a parasol in thicker, darker coloured fabric."
Many websites that sell Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing also have fun, colourful parasols. UPF indicates how much ultraviolet (UV) radiation can penetrate the fabric in clothing. Some of these parasols block as much as 95 percent of UV rays.
Seeking shade isn`t just about being cool.
"The amazing thing about parasols is that they are portable and offer shade to the entire top portion of your body," Chon says. "They cover your face, neck, shoulders and even the tops of your arms. And, unlike hats, they don`t mess up your hair."
Chon suggests everyone should seek shade between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the sun`s ultraviolet (UV) rays are at their strongest.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. More than one million skin cancer cases are caused by overexposure to the sun, according to the American Cancer Society.