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Cool, Stylish, Comfortable Sun Protection for Everyone

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sun protection that's cool, stylish and comfortable for the whole family MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Chagpar reviewed a 2010 national study in which health questionnaires were given to more than 27,000 U.S. adults and reported the findings April 8, 2013 at the American Association for Cancer Research's Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

If applying a daily sunscreen isn’t your gig, consider protecting yourself with UV-protective clothing that offers a good-to-excellent defense.

In fact, many skin-care experts believe clothing shields skin more effectively from UV light than sunscreen.


Many of us often apply sunscreen lotions too thinly, giving our skin less protection than the sunscreen's available SPF rating, and then we neglect to reapply it.

Since the late 1990s, clothing manufacturers have been developing clothing and accessories to minimize the amount of broad range UV radiation that passes through. To indicate just how much UV transmission a garment gets, the industry voluntarily adopted the UPF rating system.

Basically, the higher the number, the better the protection the fabric offers. Any fabric that allows less than 2 percent UV transmission is simply labeled UPF 50+, the highest rating. Any garment with a UPF 15 (a good rating) has too little protection to be labeled.

Rhonda Sparks, president of UV Skinz, started a UPF clothing line back in 2002 after she lost her husband, Darren Farwell, 32, an avid surfer and snowboarder, to malignant melanoma skin cancer.

"The tighter the weave, the more natural UPF protection an item will have," Sparks explained. "Then we do a treatment on the thread itself, where the fabric is basically bound together even more."

Thinking these clothes sound hot and uncomfortable? Think again.

Modern fabrics — moisture-wicking, quick-drying, highly breathable, engineered for optimal ventilation — make it surprisingly efficient and comfortable to shield skin from UV light while you revel in your outdoor pursuits. Some UPF-rated garments use vents to boost air circulation so the wearer stays cool and comfortable.

It’s simply not enough to say a clothing item has a UPF rating. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission monitors UPF advertising claims.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.