Established over 15 years

Shaded Nation

Shaded Nation – Shade Sails

Five reasons to avoid sunburn

No one enjoys sunburn, but that doesn’t seem to stop huge amounts of Brits suffering with the condition at home and abroad every single year.

However, there are some genuinely good reasons why you should do your utmost to stay protected in the sun and we take a look at five of the most important below.

It hurts 

First and foremost sunburn is painful and can be incredibly uncomfortable. While you might enjoy sunning yourself on the weekend, having to go into work on Monday with sore and sensitive skin won’t be much fun. What’s more, severe cases can lead to blistering and huge amounts of dead skin peeling off, which is thoroughly unpleasant.


Not even Cheryl Cole could pull off the sunburn look without appearing slightly ridiculous. Walking around with a lobster red face or nose is simply embarrassing and you should do your best to avoid it.

It spoils you fun 

Suffering a bad case of sunburn is a sure-fire way to spoil your summer fun. The pain and discomfort can be a real struggle and you’ll be much less inclined to go outside and enjoy the rest of the nice weather.

Serious health risks

The best reason to avoid getting burnt is because it’s scientifically proven to be linked to skin cancer. This is one of the fastest growing diseases in the UK at the moment and staying safe in the sun will go a long way to protecting yourself against it.

Setting a bad example 

Children are most at risk of sunburn due to the delicacy of their skin and getting badly burnt as a youngster can dramatically increase a person’s chances of contracting skin cancer in later life. By avoiding sunburn yourself, you can set the right example for your kids and ensure they are aware of the need to be protected.

Worried that you might not be doing to enough to stay safe in the sun? A Shaded Nation sun shade canopy is the perfect way to make sure you and your family are protected.

Schools ‘must educate children on sun safety’

The UK’s schools may not be doing enough to teach young people about the importance of staying safe in the sun.

This is according to charity the Teenage Cancer Trust, which has recently carried out a survey on the issue, the Press Association reports.

It found a shocking 97 per cent of teachers do not know if their school has a specific sun safety policy. Furthermore, half of the respondents said they have never encouraged pupils to wear a hat in the sun and nearly a third do not advise students to stick to the shade when the sun is at its hottest.

Meanwhile, 20 per cent have never told children to wear sun cream while at school.

Nigel Revell, director of education at the Teenage Cancer Trust, commented: “Schools are failing young people. It’s utterly shocking to see sun safety given such low priority. We know that burning skin at a young age can double the risks of skin cancer in later life.”

He claimed schools should follow the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations regarding sun safety and make sure children are taking steps to stay protected while on school grounds.

The Teenage Cancer Trust also carried out a survey of young people aged between 11 and 21 and found a third have never been educated on the dangers of the sun whatsoever.

Sam Smith, the charity’s head of nursing and quality in the north, said that while a small level of sun exposure is good for people as it boosts vitamin D levels, only ten minutes a day, three days a week is needed. She added that even at this low level of sun access, an individual’s skin type should still be taken into account.

Many schools are now installing shade sail canopies in a bid to improve the level of sun protection they provide, as these structures can block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays.

Here at Shaded Nation we are experienced in providing sun shades for schools and can create bespoke designs to suit your specific needs.

Sunburn can also be a threat at work

Most people only see sunburn as a threat when they are on holiday or relaxing at the weekend. However, it can also be an occupational hazard.

Any person who has a job that involves spending a lot of time working outside runs the risk of getting burnt if they don’t take the necessary precautions to protect their skin.

A prime example of this is construction, where the vast majority of a working day is spent out in the open air. At the start of July, House building company Taylor Wimpey launched a campaign to educate workers in the industry about the dangers of the sun.

The firm released a number of recommendations for how workers can keep safe, such as keeping their skin covered, sticking to the shade whenever possible, wearing sunscreen and drinking water to stay hydrated.

Edward Woods, Taylor Wimpey director of health, safety and the environment, stated: “We want all of our people to go home at the end of the day safe and healthy … so it’s particularly important that people working outside take sensible precautions.”

The company said it was prompted into launching the campaign after learning of research by the North West Cancer Research Fund, which revealed many outdoor workers don’t wear sunscreen because they think cloud cover will protect them.

Furthermore, of those who do apply cream, many only do so once they feel their skin burning, meaning damage has already been done.

This problem is not restricted to the construction industry and any business whose staff spend a lot of time working outdoors should consider the sun safety of their workforce.

An ideal way to ensure people are protected is by using a shade sail. These semi-permanent canopies can block 98.8 per cent of dangerous UV rays and provide a welcome shaded spot where staff can work and rest without fear of getting burnt.

Here at Shaded Nation we are used to providing sun shades for business clients and offer both ready-made structures and bespoke designs depending on your preference.

How can a shade sail be used at schools?

An increasing number of schools in the UK are opting to install shade sails on their grounds.

These structures are a versatile and useful addition to any school and can provide a number of practical benefits. We take a look at some of the different ways schools are opting to use shade sails below.

Sun protection 

Of course, the primary role of a sun shade is to provide protection from the damaging effects of the sun. Children are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and getting burnt as a youngster is proven to increase the chances of contracting skin cancer in later life.

Shaded Nation shades block up to 98.8 per cent of UV rays, making them an ideal way to provide a shaded spot under which kids can stay safe from the sun.

Outdoor learning 

A growing trend in schools is outdoor learning and more and more teachers are taking classes in the open air. This offers some welcome variation for children who spend most of their learning time in the classroom and kids that struggle to concentrate indoors often find it easier when outside.

A sun shade allows outdoor classes to go ahead with protection from the sun, wind and light rain.

Cycle shelters 

Many schools are doing their best to encourage pupils to cycle to school. This is beneficial for their health and also has a positive impact on the environment. However, kids are much more likely to ride their bike into school if they have a nice place to leave it, and this is where shade sails can help.

Using a sun shade to create a cycle shelter will provide both pupils and parents with confidence that their bikes are being kept in a safe and secure location.

Sporting events 

One of the most eagerly-awaited events on the school calendar is sport’s day and parents normally flock to see their kids in action. A shade canopy provides a sheltered place in which spectators can stand and can also be used as a base to sell refreshments.

Sunburn – the facts

Here in the UK most people suffer from sunburn at some point in their life.

However, while many of us have experienced the condition, a surprising number of Brits still know very little about what it is, why it happens and the risk associated with it. This is worrying, as it means people may be putting their health in the balance by not releasing the dangers of overexposure to the sun.

Here are the key things you need to know about sunburn.

What is it?

The light created by the sun contains ultraviolet (UV) rays. A small amount of exposure to these rays is good for the body as it is a source of vitamin D. However, should too much UV light come into contact with your skin it will burn.

People can tolerate different levels of exposure depending on their skin type, with individuals who have dark skin, eyes and hair normally less likely to burn.

What are the symptoms?

The most common effect of sunburn is red skin that is sore and painful to the touch. However, there are a number of other symptoms you might not be aware of. If your skin starts to flake or peel a few days after being out of the sun this is a sign you were burned, while severe cases can lead to blistering, swelling and fever.

What are the risks?

Sunburn has no advantages and overexposure to UV rays poses numerous risks. Spending too much time in the sun can cause skin to wrinkle and age prematurely and even create solar keratoses, which are rough and scaly patches that appear on the skin.

It can also damage the eyes through a condition know as photokeratitis, which can be prevented by wearing sunglasses. However, by far the greatest risk associated with sunburn is skin cancer.

It is scientifically proven that getting burnt increases your chances of contracting this potentially fatal condition and the NHS believes this is responsible for the majority of the 70,000 cases recorded in the UK each year.

Drivers ‘can still get sunburn’

Drivers need to take precautions from the sun even if they have the windows shut.

Researchers from Stony Brook University in New York carried out a survey, which appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, to find out how many motorists apply sun block and the results shocked experts, the Daily Mail reports.

Only 15 per cent of respondents said they use protective cream most of the time, while 38 per cent normally apply lotion when they are outdoors. People mistakenly believe they do not need to worry about the sun when driving, but they can still get sunburn.

Consider a carport

Drivers ‘can still get sunburn’

Some 225 men and women were asked about their sun block use as part of the study and two-thirds said they didn’t think there was any need to wear sunscreen when in a car. However, at least 80 per cent of UVA rays get through.

Dr Dennis Kim, one of the researchers involved in the study, admitted he used to think he was protected from the sun when driving.

“Because such a large proportion of a person’s cumulative sun exposure occurs while in a vehicle, automobile-related UVA exposure is a considerable public health concern. The good news is that this damage can be limited by wearing sun creams, long sleeve shirts and protective eyewear,” he added.

Non-malignant melanoma was found to occur more frequently on the driver’s window-side arm, which demonstrates how important it is to cover up in good weather.

According to the NHS, people could reduce their chances of developing skin cancer by avoiding overexposure to UV light. As well as dressing sensibly, individuals can use sun cream to make sure they are protected at all times.

As well as this, regularly checking your skin for signs of cancer can help with an early diagnosis, which will improve a person’s chances of successful treatment.

What are the commercial uses for a shade sail?

Here at Shaded Nation we regularly supply shade sails for commercial clients. Whether it’s restaurants, pubs or office-based companies, businesses across the UK and beyond are opting to install these attractive, durable and cost-effective canopies.

But what are the most common commercial uses for our sun shades? We take a look at a few of the most popular below.

Entrance canopies

Using a shade sail as an entrance canopy or awning is a popular way to boost the appearance of a building. This can be particularly useful for shops, as it can make the premises look more enticing to customers and even provide some extra space to display goods for sale.

An entrance canopy will give office buildings a more professional appearance and can also help to keep the ground floor cool during warm weather.

Parking bay

A shade sail is a durable and cost effective means of constructing a parking bay. Not only will this keep vehicles out of the heat of the sun, it also offers protection against the rest of the elements, bird droppings and other unpleasantness.

Smoking area 

Following the introducing of the public area smoking ban several years ago, a number of businesses are catering for their staff by creating designated smoking areas. One of our structures is an easy way of providing these locations with shade and shelter from the weather.

Outdoor seating

Demand for shade sails is particularly high among restaurants, pubs, cafes and other food and drink retailers that offer outdoor seating. By installing a shade, these businesses ensure customers will be able to eat in the open air regardless of the conditions. They are a welcome boost to the appearance of any premises as well.

Whatever you require a shade sail for, Shaded Nation are here to provide the best product possible. We are happy to create bespoke designs tailored to your exact needs, or you can opt for a pre-made shade. The choice is yours.

Schools see the benefits of outdoor learning

An increasing number of schools are incorporating outdoor learning into their curriculum in an attempt to allow children to make the most of their school days.

This approach is growing in popularity and is widely believed to have a beneficial impact on youngsters. American company Hatch, which produces technology and classroom supplies, has stressed the importance of teaching in the open air.

Ginny Norton, Hatch president, commented: “Outdoor classrooms present unlimited opportunities to create sensory-rich learning experiences for children with special needs.”

The company pointed to the experiences of special education teachers in Canada and the US, who have found outdoor learning helps develop communication in nonverbal youngsters and children who suffer from autism.

Its not only in the US where schools are embracing this new approach to teaching though, as its increasingly common here in the UK as well.

Last month, a school in the West Midlands town of Oldbury was praised by Ofsted for its “inspirational” outdoor lessons, Halesowen News reports.

The Meadows Sport College has developed a number of outdoor classrooms over the past few years and they have been described by the education watchdog as “spectacular”.

“Students gaze with amazement at the water features and colourful bushes; their curiosity is aroused by a fascinating range of sounds as they learn in the school’s beautiful sensory gardens,” the Ofsted inspection stated.

Abbots Langley Primary School in Hertfordshire has also embraced the benefits of outdoor learning.

According to the Watford Observer, a garden has been created at the school to encourage children to understand the importance of health eating and develop an interest in the natural world.

Jane Sibbot of the school’s gardening team stated: “We wanted something visual and hands on. It’s nice that the children can see where our food comes from.”

To create the best outdoor learning environment possible many schools are opting to install shade sails to provide shelter from the elements. If you think your school could benefit from a shade, click here to find out more.

Scientists make new sunburn discovery

Researchers may have discovered what it is that makes sunburn painful and a potential way of soothing the discomfort.

Scientists at the Duke University School of Medicine have been experimenting with the condition and found that by blocking a certain molecule they can reduce the pain suffered by getting burned.

The molecule is called TRPV4 and is common in skin cells. In an experiment with mice, the researchers found removing this molecule meant the animals suffered less pain after being exposed to the sun’s rays.

Wolfgang Liedtke, one of the senior authors of the study, commented: “We have uncovered a novel explanation for why sunburn hurts.

“If we understand sunburn better, we can understand pain better because what plagues my patients day in and day out is what temporarily affects otherwise healthy people who suffer from sunburn.”

Martin Steinhoff, who also worked on the project, said its findings could provide scientists with a target to work towards when trying to develop new anti-sunburn products.

He suggested TRPV4 blockers could be included in new kinds of skin cream or used to treat people who are suffering from a severe burn.

“I could imagine it being mixed with traditional sunblock to provide stronger protections against UVB exposure,” Mr Steinhoff stated.

However, the scientists warned more work needs to be done before this is possible.

While the findings of the researches are certainly interesting, it could be a long time before any of the products they discuss become available and even if they do, the best way to stay safe in the sun is to avoid getting burnt in the first place.

Sunburn is scientifically proven to increase the chances of contracting skin cancer, which is a potentially fatal disease. It can also cause less serious problems like premature ageing of the skin and wrinkling.

An ideal way to stay protected is by installing a Shaded Nation shade sail, click here if you’d like to learn more.

Some reasons to encourage outdoor play

Getting the kids to play outside can be surprisingly difficult these days. Through a combination of computer games, the internet and TV, it’s easy for them to spend a whole day with their eyes fixed on a screen of some sort.

However, encouraging them to spend some time outdoors is important, as it can be beneficial on a number of different levels.


A week doesn’t seem to go by these days without some sort of warning about the number of children in the UK who are overweight. Outdoor play is one of the best ways to ensure this doesn’t become a problem for your child.

Moving around burns off calories and this will help make sure your kid’s weight remains at a health level. Furthermore by encouraging children to be active from a young age you increase the chances of them exercising regularly in later life.

Other health benefits

There are several other health advantages that result from outdoor play. Getting away from the screen is good for kid’s eyes and is a fantastic way to use pent-up energy that could lead to a child being disruptive if stuck indoors all day.

Furthermore, exposure to the sun is vital as a source of vitamin D, although you should always take precautions against sunburn on a warm day – installing a garden shade sail is a great way to do this.

Understanding the environment

By getting your children to play outside, you can increase their awareness and appreciation of the environment. This could be important in later life as it will ensure they treat the outdoors with the respect it deserves and will encourage their own kids to do the same.

Get involved

One of the best things about outdoor play is that it’s incredibly easy for Mum and Dad to get involved as well. Spending quality time with your kids is the best part of being a parent and there’s all sorts of different activities you can get up to in the open air.