But did you know that there are many additional tools you can use to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays? At Peraza Dermatology Group, we advise using clothing, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and shade for optimal sun safety.
Clothes are especially useful because they offer more certain sun protection than sunscreen, since people often don’t use sunscreen in the right way or in the right amounts. (Refresher: apply one ounce evenly to all exposed skin every day, and reapply every two hours if you’re exposed to the sun. That’s a shot glass worth … a lot more than you probably use today.)
First, a quick primer on vocabulary. You likely pay close attention to SPF, or Sun Protection Factor. It measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden. You see the rating on sunscreens and other sun-protective products. We recommend a minimum of SPF 40 for preventative measures.
Less well-known is Ultraviolet protection, which measures the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin. It is how we rate clothing designed to protect your skin. Ultraviolet protection fabric (UPF) is popping up more and more within fashion lines, and fashion companies are giving customers the looks, comfort, and utility that they demand in the 21st century.
If you’re like most people, you enjoy reapplying sunscreen throughout the day about as much as children enjoy zucchini. UPF clothing provides just as much protection as sunscreen, without you needing to get lubed up every couple of hours. While perspiration can cause sunscreen to wash off, we’ve never encountered someone who can actually sweat off a shirt. So get yourself – and your kids, who typically get three times more sun exposure than adults (50% of one’s lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood!) – some sun protective clothing and get outside with peace of mind.
Here are some of our favorite looks for different ages. Note that our recommendations are all for clothing with a UPF rating of 50, which means that the clothing allows only 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin (compared to the average tee, which has a rating of only 5). When looking for UPF clothing, always look for the rating, which functions almost like an SPF rating does for sunscreen. Note: not all clothing within the sites we recommend are UPF rated, so check closely on each item when browsing.