Sun Protection Can Be Fashionable
As you enjoy the beach vacations and lazy pool days that come with the start of summer, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is more important than ever. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma, and is primarily responsible for premature aging. Applying a broad spectrum sunscreen every day is the most important way you can reduce your risk of skin cancer as well as keep your skin looking firm and youthful.
In addition to sunscreen, you can wear clothing, swimsuits, hats, etc. that will further protect your skin from the sun. The key is to wear sun protective clothing, which is specifically designed
for sun protection and is produced from a fabric rated for its level of ultraviolet (UV) protection. You may envision this to be bulky, full-body coverage clothing that is uncomfortable and the farthest thing from fashionable. However, modern sun protective clothing companies are designing lines that look and feel similar to your everyday clothing while still offering protection against UV rays. We’ve gathered some of the top brands below to show you how sun protection can be fashionable.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is to clothing as Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is to sunscreen.
The UPF rating system measures the UV protection provided by fabric, representing the ratio of sunburn-causing UV without and with the protection of the fabric.
The ability of a fabric to block UV rays is based on the fiber structure, density of weave, and dye components. Examples of textiles that can inherently block the sun’s rays include full percentages or blends of heavy-weight natural fibers like cotton, linen, and hemp or light-weight synthetics such as polyester, nylon, spandex and polypropylene.
However, the Los Angeles Times reports that after repeat washings and wearings, UPF fabrics can stretch out and their sun-protective coatings can disintegrate. Over time, this will gradually render any UV-blocking capacities ineffective. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that while UPF fabrics do offer an extra layer of sun protection, the emphasis is on “extra”. You’ll still need to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Fashion meets sun protection
In 2009, the American Academy of Dermatology honored the company Coolibar with its first-ever AAD Seal of Recognition®, which recognizes products for their sun-protection benefit. Products are selected for this recognition based on review of independent testing results which demonstrate that the products meet stringent, evidence-based sun-protection criteria and are verified by a panel of dermatologists and an independent scientist.
All Coolibar sun-protective clothing has a 50+ UPF for the life of the garment. The company’s proprietary SUNTECT® fabrics are extremely lightweight, breathable, durable, easy care, and pass the most rigorous testing protocol for UV clothing fabrics in the world. Plus, all Coolibar collections are designed with fashion in mind. They have women’s dresses and tops that can be paired with heels for an elegant look, casual beach tunics and shawls, men’s rash guards with water repellent finishes, swimwear and clothing for kids and babies, and much more.
Mott 50 is another company that offers sun-protective clothing. They have swimsuits, swim dresses, rash guards, leggings, and much more; all with UPF 50+. Plus, this company donates a percentage of its proceeds to melanoma research and sun safety education for kids.
Another brand that makes sun protection fashionable is Cabana Life, founded by melanoma survivor Melissa Papock. This line offers stylish and affordable sun-protective swimwear, cover-ups, and accessories for the whole family.
High-end fashion meets sun protection with Lilly Pulitzer’s Sophie dress. Available in ten colorful prints, you’d never know that this summer staple offers protection against the sun’s damaging rays. The dress has built-in UPF 50+, which blocks up to 98 percent of UV rays.
Another brand of fashionable sun protective clothing is West 56. This brand offers lightweight, UV-protective textiles that are clean, simple, and chic. Additionally, they have both thermal and cool collections for men and women so that you can stay comfortable no matter the temperature.
If you love linen blouses, airy cardigans, maxi dresses and other effortless summer staples, the brand Summer Skin is perfect for you. These attractive styles are made from soft bamboo blends, which makes them breathable and easy to move in. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the UPF 50+ is helping to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.