HealthyMe: Clothing Designed for Sun Protection

Clothing Designed for Sun Protection

Sunlight includes rays of invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Naturally, overexposure to harmful UV rays can lead to sunburn, skin aging, and ultimately skin cancer. Sunscreen and clothing offer you many ways of UV protection with more and more outdoor clothing carrying a UPF rating. In fact, all fabrics disrupt UV radiation to some degree and clothing that is the most effective carries an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating from 15 (rather good) to 50+ (excellent). Elevated UPF-rated clothing is best recommended for fair-skinned, sun-sensitive people, children, and people who spend a lot time at high elevations in equatorial regions or on reflective surfaces including snow and water.

So, here are some basic facts about Ultraviolet Protection Factor. UPF is a rating system used for sun protection. It indicates how effectively fabrics protect skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Of course, the higher the UPF number, the greater degree of UV clothing offers. You may be wondering whether SPF (Sun Protecting Factor) and UPF are related. They are. UPF is very similar to SPF. UPF measures a fabric’s effectiveness against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and UVB light. Similarly, an SPF number applies only to a sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVB rays, the ones that most commonly cause sunburn. In addition to visible light and other spectrums, sunlight includes invisible ultraviolet radiation (UV-R). Overexposure to harmful UV light has been linked to sunburn, accelerating skin aging and skin cancer. Excessive UV radiation weakens the body’s immune system and in the worst cases causes cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of skin cancer in the United States. A whopping 1 million non-melanoma cases are diagnosed annually. The vast majority of skin care cases, up to 90%, are sun-related.

Many skincare experts strongly believe that clothing protects skin more effectively from UV light than sunscreen. Some of the reasons for this belief could be that most of us apply sunscreen lotion too thinly and neglect to reapply it, giving our skin less protection than the sunscreen’s available SPF rating. All fabrics in some way influence the transmission of UV radiation. You may come across some texts that argue how fabrics absorb UV rays. This is not entirely true. However, UV radiation is converted to heat, a transformation that renders most rays harmless. Some clothing, depending on factors such as construction, dyes and fabric treatments do much better job in protection than others.

Patagonia is an American clothing company founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973 that showcases and sells mainly sustainable outdoor clothing with UPF protection. Based in Ventura, California, the company is part of several environmental movements, meaning the company is committed to combatting public concerns alongside the profit motive. When it comes to the materials they use, hemp is one of the most common. Hemp is a natural fiber that’s cultivated with a low impact on the environment. It requires no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO seeds. Patagonia makes garments with 100% hemp or blends it with other fibers like recycled polyester, organic cotton and spandex. After years of research, development, and testing, Patagonia has incorporated some recycled nylon fibers that are suitable for apparel and can pass rigorous tests of manufacturability and product quality. Patagonia offers a variety of sun protecting clothes with different UPF factors and is one of the best companies for this purpose.


Recreational Equipment, commonly known as REI, is an American retail and outdoor recreation service corporation. REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. They offer lines of high-quality award-winning gear and apparel in addition to products from the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel. Everyone at REI is passionate about the outdoors and committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions. The REI clothing company doesn’t just sell high-quality outdoor equipment, but they also design and develop one of the largest product brands in the outdoor industry: REI Gear and Apparel. The award-winning line of gear and clothing is exclusive to REI and combines quality, performance, style and functionality to meet the outdoor recreational needs of men, women and children. REI also offers a full range of mountain, road and touring bikes under the brand "Novara" that appeals to all levels and ages of riders, from cycling enthusiasts to casual recreational riders. Along with many trendy collections, REI offers a wide choice of clothing with an UPF up to 50+ for a perfect sun protection and  itis among the best sun protection clothing companies around.








Founded in 2001 by an Australian who knew the harshest of sun climates, Coolibar has evolved to be the leader in innovative sun protective fabric design. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Coolibar takes its name from a eucalyptus tree native to the Australian outback - offering welcome relief and reliable protection from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays on the continent where sun protection began. Coolibar is the first company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation for sun protective clothing. Additionally, the sun protective apparel was the first ever endorsed by the Melanoma International Foundation, and as a sun protective clothing company, Coolibar has also been endorsed by the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation. For over 14 years, Coolibar has inspired active, outdoor living with the most innovative UPF 50+ products and fabrics designed to last a lifetime.





 So, now that we’ve discussed everything about the importance of wearing sun protecting clothes with an UPF factor. Here is the list of the Top 8 sun protecting items:

8.    Tilley LTMS Airflo Hat by REI 

Effectively blocking 98% of the UVA and UVB rays you come in contact with, the Tilley LTM6 Airflo® hat design incorporates mesh in the crown for those hot days. Tilley guarantees for life that their hats will not wear out, shrink or fall apart! The hat offers excellent UV protection with a UPF 50 rating. Wide, stiff brim keeps the sun and rain off your face and neck. Closed-cell foam in the top makes the hat float if it goes overboard, making it a great companion for boating too. It has a hidden hook-and-loop pocket in the crown for storage of an I.D., hotel key, money or any other small item. SA soft, comfortable Hydrofil® band wicks away perspiration. A special cord wraps under the chin and back of head to keep the hat in place in high winds. It’s completely machine washable, will not shrink and repels rain and mildew. Made of nylon, it’s best to use when exposed to sun for longer periods of time. Available at $84 in two colors, it will offer you all the sun protection you need.



7.     SmartWool Midweight Crew Top - wool - Men's by REI

Another REI impeccable shirt that’s perfect for layering or extra warmth during activity in cool weather, the men's SmartWool Midweight Crew top offers natural stretch and breathability. Merino wool helps maintain comfort whether the climate is warm, cold or in-between. With a UPF 50+ rating, the fabric provides excellent protection against harmful ultraviolet rays, which is its best and most valuable feature. Shoulder panels eliminate top shoulder seams, reducing chafing and optimizing comfort under the pack straps. Rear body seams wrap around to the front to enhance fit, and sculpted side panels also enhance fit. Flatlock stitching eliminates abrasion, increases comfort and enhances fit by reducing bulky seams. The men's SmartWool Midweight Crew top does not itch and will not shrink. It is entirely machine washable and available in many colors. This long-sleeved, sun protecting trendy shirt is available at around $80 and would be a great choice for hot summer days.

6.     Patagonia Sun Tech Shirt - Men's

Providing cool ventilation and protection from the sun, Patagonia Sun Tech shirt is the perfect piece for warm-weather adventures. Lightweight nylon fabric dries quickly and resists odor retention. The fabric provides UPF 30 sun protection, shielding the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, its best feature. Stretch side panels offer excellent ventilation and range of motion. The sleeves roll up and are secured with button-closure tabs. Button-through chest pockets can hold travel documents and the zippered chest pocket secures small valuables. Hidden snaps at the collar keep it out and looking crisp. This is a slim fit that keeps the shirt close to the body. It’s completely machine washable for easy care. Available at around $90 in many colors, it would definitely be a great asset for anyone who spends a great amount of time under the broad daylight sun.



5.  Sunday Afternoons convertible Ball Cap by REI

This smartly-designed convertible cap from Sunday Afternoons is ideal for the sun-conscious traveler, keeping you covered when you're on the go. With an ample brim and a detachable rear neck cape, this Convertible Ball Cap offers extended coverage for sunny climates. The nylon construction is rugged enough to take on any challenge but comfortable enough to wear all day. It offers excellent protection from the sun with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+. The polyester internal sweatband and convertible side mesh panels allow for ventilation and moisture release. Side convertible crown panels fold open to reveal mesh panels for maximum ventilation on hot days. Size adjusters on the cap and cape allow for a customized fitting—the cap features a rip-and-stick adjuster in the back, and the cape features a cinch cord.



4.  REI Sunscreen Gloves

Add to your sun-safe wardrobe with these sunscreen gloves that offer sun protection when you're outside for extended periods. The fabric provides UPF 50+ sun protection, protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. The quick-drying, four-way stretch nylon/spandex blend moves naturally even in awkward positions. Soft against your skin, the fabric breathes freely and wicks moisture away from your hands for cool, dry comfort. The fingerless design provides excellent coverage while allowing for ample dexterity. It’s machine washable and perfect for cold water. Available at $30, this pair of sun protecting gloves will make your hands warm during cold periods and protects them against the sun.


3.     Convertible Sun Scarf by Coolibar

Offering total versatility, the snap closure of this Convertible Sun Scarf allows you to decide how you would like to wear it. It easily converts to a scarf, wrap, shrug or hood and it is completely perfect for all day wear to keep the UV rays at bay and keep you cool. Coolibar sun scarves are strong enough to protect your most sun-prone areas, but the soft feel of the French terry knit will keep it near and dear to your heart. It’s super soft against the skin, lightweight, cool and comfortable providing the highest quality zinc oxide protection. With a UPF of 50+, it gives perfect protection against the harmful Ultraviolet rays. Available at $40, it will be your coolest protection as well as your trendiest accessory.


2.     Criss Cross Swimsuit by Coolibar

The Criss Cross Swimsuit is designed to accentuate your best features. The ruching detail from side to side and across the tummy panel assures a figure flattering fit. This UV swimsuit is fully lined with sewn-in padded cups and adjustable straps for shoulder comfort. It’s a stylish and classic look for the summer season and beautifully complemented by sun wraps or beach cover ups. It has a V-neckline with adjustable straps and an UPF of 50+, which would give you perfect sun protection whenever you spend extra hours outside. Available at $90 and in many beautiful colors, it is a must for the hot summer days.


1.     Yoga Leggings by Coolibar

Yoga Leggings are designed with medium compression to provide a secure, supportive fit for all your activities. Made of Knit SUNTECT® fabric, these exercise leggings are 4-way stretch, wicking, and fully opaque, with an anti-microbial technology to prevent odor build up. These are the perfect workout leggings for the gym, yoga, and everything in between! With an UPF of 50+ as its best feature, yoga leggings will at the same time provide much-needed sun protection. These yoga leggings have a mid-weight fabric and are totally breathable. Black spandex provides a no-shine effect. It has a fitted, tight leg and medium compression adds support with an ultra-soft feel. The flattering wide elastic waistband with an internal draw cord allows for adjustability. The leggings also include both an internal key pocket and a back waistband zipper pocket. Available at $90, they will be your best sun protection workout buddy.















Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in more than two million Americans each year. The Skin Cancer Foundation and many leading dermatologists recommend sun protective clothing as a first line of defense. Coolibar, Patagonia and REI are some of the best companies that design sun protective clothes. If you want to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays, follow our list and check out some of the coolest pieces of clothes around with an UPF factor that will provide all the sun protection you need.

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02 Jun 2017