Charleston Dermatology Blog

Sun-Protective Clothing for a Safe and Stylish Summer

  • skincare-tips

Summer days are here, inviting us to soak up the sunshine. But while a healthy dose of vitamin D is good for us, overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to sunburn, premature aging and even increased risk of skin cancer. That’s where sun safety practices come into play.

We all know sunscreen is vital for sun safety, but did you know there’s another option that adds a layer of defense? Sun-protective clothing isn’t just for beach days anymore. It comes in a wide variety of styles, making it easy to create sun-safe outfits that are both functional and fashionable.

What is sun-protective clothing?

Sun protective clothing is specially designed to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful UV radiation. Unlike regular clothing, which may offer minimal protection, sun-protective clothing is constructed from tightly woven fabrics that block a significant portion of UV rays. Many sun-protective garments are treated with special coatings or dyes that enhance their UV-blocking capabilities.

How do I know which clothing to choose? 

When shopping for sun-protective clothing, look for the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. Similar to SPF for sunscreen, UPF indicates how effectively the fabric blocks UV rays. A UPF rating of 50+ blocks over 98% of UVA and UVB rays, offering the highest level of sun protection.

What are the benefits?

Sun-protective clothing is more than a fashion statement. These pieces offer a range of benefits not found in your typical, everyday garments. Here’s how sun-protective clothing benefits you: 

  • Superior UV Protection: Sun-protective clothing provides excellent UV protection, minimizing your skin’s exposure to harmful UV rays.
  • Convenient and Long-Lasting: Unlike sunscreen, which requires frequent reapplication, sun-protective clothing offers continuous protection throughout the day and does not wash off or degrade over time.
  • Versatile and Comfortable: Sun-protective clothing comes in a variety of styles and designs available for every activity and fashion sense.
  • Ideal for Sensitive Skin: For individuals with sensitive or easily irritated skin, sun protective clothing provides a gentle and irritation-free alternative to sunscreen.

Tips For a Stylish Sun-Safe Outfit

Sun-protective clothing allows you to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about the sun’s harmful rays. With a little planning and some savvy shopping, you can create a sun-safe wardrobe that keeps you looking good and your skin protected.

  1. Cover up. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, pants, and skirts to maximize skin coverage. Lightweight, breathable fabrics like linen and cotton are ideal for staying cool and comfortable in warm weather.
  2. Don’t forget the accessories. Complete your sun-safe outfit with accessories like wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, and UV-blocking gloves or sleeves for added coverage.
  3. Layer strategically. Layering lightweight, sun-protective clothing allows you to adjust your outfit based on changing weather conditions while maintaining sun safety.

Do I still need sunscreen?

The simple answer is, yes! UV-protective fabrics may help guard your skin, but the odds are high that parts of you body will still be exposed. For example, your face, hands and legs in some cases. Daily sunscreen is essential for protecting these exposed areas.

As a rule of thumb, always choose SPF 30+ formulas. Your board-certified dermatologist can work with you to flesh out a sun safety plan ideal for your needs and skin type.

Save Your Skin With Charleston Dermatology

At Charleston Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists help you unlock your skin’s potential. As a Lowcountry leader in skin care, our trusted team has an established legacy in providing unmatched, personalized care to patients across South Carolina. Contact us today to book your appointment and learn more about our medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology services!

Subscribe to our Newsletter