Sun Protective Clothing
In Arizona, not being in the sun during the summer time isn't really an option. Most of us slather on our favorite sunscreen and go about our day from May to September. Sure, there are plenty of conversations on how much protection sunscreens actually provide. Some people just steering clear from what's in sunscreens, altogether.
A chemical-free alternative is sun protective clothing. Here at The Shack, we offer sun protective products from our top vendors ExOfficio, Marmot, and Outdoor Research, just to name a few. Ranging from UPF 15 to 50+ (clothing based ratings, unlike SPF for gels and liquids), there is no one product solution. Just like proper hydration, it depends on your activity level. Your whole body needs protection from the sun's harmful rays. Sunglasses, hats, gloves, sleeves, tops, hoodies...the list of available solutions is long. You might be asking what's the difference in protection from your favorite cotton tshirt? According to ExOfficio, cotton tshirts only provide UPF 6 - 8 protection, allowing up to 20% of the sun's UV radiation to get to your skin. A UPF 50 shirt will block up to 98% of the suns rays.
Ok, now that you know why, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, here are some key tips for buying and staying sun-safe with clothing:
- Buy garments that suit your purpose. You don’t need a heavy work shirt for the beach, but a longsleeved, tightly woven linen shirt can be both cool and sun-smart.
- If you are buying elastic garments like leggings, make sure you purchase the right size — overstretching will lower the UPF rating.
- Look for garments with a UPF of at least 30 so that you know you’re getting effective sun protection.
- Choose garments that cover more skin—there’s no point in a high-UPF bikini. Instead, consider a rash guard or swim shirt. Made of lightweight, elastic materials like spandex, these athletic tops will cover your upper body without weighing you down. You can also have beach skirts or sarongs ready for when you leave the water.
- Wash new garments made from cotton or cotton blends two or three times at least. This can often permanently raise the UPF rating due to shrinkage of the spaces between the fibers.
- Select wide-brimmed hats (at least 3” in diameter) that shade your face, neck and ears.
- When outdoors, seek out shaded areas under awnings or trees and minimize your time in the direct sun.
- Be aware that UV light can bounce off surfaces such as water, snow and glass, hitting your skin twice and increasing the intensity of exposure.
- Use UV-filtering sunglasses and sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 for everyday incidental exposure and 30 or higher for extended exposure. Apply sunscreen on all exposed areas — clothing can’t cover everything.
Come by The Shack and let one of our knowledgeable team members help you stay protected and select the right garments for your outdoor activities.
- McLennan, A. (2015, May 19). What is Sun-Safe Clothing? Retrieved June 8, 2016, from http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/clothing/protection
- Sun Protection. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2016, from https://www.exofficio.com/technology/sun-protection