As the public becomes more aware of the dangers of prolonged sun exposure, a whole cutting-edge industry has sprung up to offer consumers more protection from the sun’s effects.
A growing number of retailers are offering UVA/UVB clothes, hats and sunglasses, which are specifically designed to block UVs, or ultraviolet radiation, one of the chief causes of skin damage and skin cancer.
UVA and UVA are different designations for ultra violet rays.
Clothing remains the best means to block harmful UV rays. Protective sun clothing offers different levels of protection.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, protective sun clothing must offer a UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor between 30 and 49 to qualify for the foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
Look for lab-tested designation on clothing items.
Darker clothing is preferable for protection from UV rays. The more dense the fabric, the more protective the item. One test for protection it offers is to hold it up to the light. The more light that can be seen, the less protection is offered.
Clothing made from nylon and polyester offer the best protection.
Make sure all items have venting.
The protection offered by any clothing diminishes as it ages and wears. Some high-tech fabrics, particularly running/workout gear, are treated with chemicals to enhance their UV protection.
However, the more a treated item is washed, the more the chemical’s protectiveness is diminished. Check clothing tags for more information and cleaning instructions.
UV protection hats should feature venting, wide brims and neck capes.
Because protective sun clothing and hats can’t offer 100% protection, wearing sunscreen is still a good idea.
Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30; however, no sunscreen can block all UV rays. A good sunscreen should offer “broad spectrum” protection against UVA and UVB, which will block more than 95% of rays.
Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. Not all UV glasses are the same. Look for glasses that offer a UV protection of 400, which means they will block 99.9% of all rays.
People who have a higher-than-average susceptibility to the effects of sun should consider wearing protective sun clothing regularly—but it’s a good option for everyone.
Though there are a variety of options for protection, the overall best way to reduce your risk is to limit your exposure to the sun.