Pack Your Parasol!

While communicating with one of our community members, my response included a rhetorical question about bringing back the parasol as a fashion statement and necessity. Thereafter, I noticed several favorable comments regarding this timeless accessory. So I decided to check it out further.

Shelter from the sun

Surfing the net, I learned much ado about the on again - off again trend of the parasol. First, the origin of the word itself means shelter from the sun, (para meaning shelter; sol meaning the sun). Dr. Yvette Mahe in "Fashion History" claims the parasol first arrives on the scene several millenials ago and took on its more modern look about 4,000 thousand years ago in Asia and Africa.

Ater a hiatus, the parasol soon became a hit with the upper classes of Europe; matching fabrics to their dresses were the sign of wealth and nobility - all the while doing the job of protecting one's delicate skin< from the sun's heat. Soon, the parasol could also be used as a communication device, depending on how it was held or in which hand, one could interpret a signal for flirtation or romance. Tanning trendAs time progressed, the allure of the golden tan overtook the popularity of the fashionable parasol. It seemed that women wished to show off their bronze bodies to reflect their wealthy beach lifestyles. And as with most trends, the pendulum can swing back again to bring the need for the usefulness of the parasol to light, (or shade)!Parasols as a sun proteciton toolSome parasols can even be treated with UV deflection so that the harmful sun's rays won't penetrate. Early on, special black materials were used to line the inside or outside as protection. As we know, exposure to the ultraviolet radiation is a major factor for most skin cancers. Sunlight, tanning beds and lamps are sources of the devastating rays. These deadly rays zone right in on the DNA of genes that control our skin cell growth causing various types of skin cancers.Damage from sun exposureAccording to the American Cancer Society, of the three main types of UV rays, two cause the most harm to us.1 Besides the skin aging and damage, there are risks of cataracts, other eye issues and suppression of our immune system.1 Long-term exposure to UVA rays age and damage our cells, at the very least causing wrinkles, loss of elasticity, darkened patches, and possible skin cancers.1 UVB rays hold more potential and cause the sunburns that lead to skin cancers.1 Using our proactive and preventive strategies are our best defenses in protecting our skin.Adorned with our parasols and armed with our sunscreens, we can enjoy our days outside - even in cloudy weather. Those nasty UV rays can penetrate the clouds and some clouds even increase the energy of the rays. Many of us have sadly learned how outdoor surfaces can reflect the sun's rays off snow, water, sand, pavement and grass!Everything old, even the parasol of days gone by, can be new again in our wardrobe, offering glamour and protection!If you have one, please send pictures...Enjoy the shade!

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