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Protecting yourself in the sun is of the utmost importance. With 1 in 5 people developing skin cancer in their lifetimes, prevention should be at the forefront of your mind whenever you head outdoors.

Summertime is for getting outside and having fun with family and friends, but it’s also about being aware of what you’re doing to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. They may feel warm and soothing to your skin, but those rays are doing more harm than good.

That’s why using sunscreen and sun protective clothing is crucial for avoiding skin cancer and other ailments the sun can cause.

Our very own Laura Collins, APRN, DCNP, weighs in on some very impactful information about sun protective clothing and how it can help you.

uv protective clothing

What is sun protective clothing?

While many different types of clothing can protect you from the sun’s rays, there are fabrics specifically made to protect your skin more so than normal materials.

“Garments manufactured with certain types of fabrics, dyes, weave structures, and thread counts with the intention of shielding a person’s skin from the damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation are known as ‘sun protective clothing.’

Over the past decade, sun protective clothing has become an important addition to our defense against UV radiation. These special garments are available for infants through adults in a variety of products. Examples include hats, scarves, rash guards, cover ups, jackets, as well as bathing suits, and more recently resort wear such as dresses, pants, and shirts.”

Why is it important to wear UV protective clothing?

You may be thinking that you don’t really need sun protective clothing if you have sunscreen but that’s just not the case. More often than not, individuals apply sunscreen once in the morning and then either forget to reapply or simply don’t know they need to.

Laura expands upon this important point:

“Sunscreens remain the first line recommended daily defense from the sun, however people who live in or vacation in sunny locations or are involved in many outdoor activities and sports during the summer may benefit from more complete coverage.

It is recommended to re-apply sunscreens at least every two hours because they wear off and sweat off during our activities, leaving our skin with inadequate protection if sunscreens are not re-applied. This is where sun protective clothing can help bridge the gap of protection.

While it is not generally recommended to use sun protective clothing as a substitute for sunscreen, it can provide additional coverage for outdoor activities because the protection remains effective throughout the day or during sports such as golfing or swimming, etc.”

What is the best UV protective clothing?

Just like there are more beneficial brands and types of sunscreens, there are UV protective clothing that protects better and is more effective than others.

“The best sun protective garments are the ones that a person will wear regularly and suit their specific needs. A quality garment will be labeled with the amount of Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) that rates how well it can shield from the UV rays:”

  • UPF of 15-24 is considered “good” with 93-96% UV radiation blocked.
  • UPF of 25-39 is considered “very good” with 96-97% of UV radiation blocked.
  • UPF of 40-50+ is considered “excellent” with 97-98% of UV radiation blocked.”

Where can you buy sun protective clothing?

UV Protective clothing might just be right in front of your face when you’re shopping at your local department stores. Start looking a little closer and you’ll find some that’s perfect for you.

Sun protective clothing can usually be purchased seasonally at most local department stores and year-round with online retailers such as:

Avoiding skin cancer should always be your top priority when you know you’ll be out in the sun all day. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself more and have peace of mind if you take the leap and buy yourself some effective sun protective clothing.

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