Recent media discussion of sunscreen chemical burns has caused confusion. Many people don’t know what to do and don’t understand that clothing sun protection can work just as well, if not better. Sunscreen is just one of the tools in their sunscreen arsenal.
Alexandria Blaelock, author of Build Your Signature Wardrobe: How to look good and feel confident in four steps argues “Clothes offer excellent sun protection because, like sunscreen, they prevent the sun reaching your skin. You just have to pick the right ones”
Here are Blaelock’s tips for protecting your skin with clothes.
- The more coverage, the greater the protection: Embrace boho this summer and wear loose long sleeves and pants or skirts. Choose denser fabrics like cotton twill that offer more protection than thinner fabrics like cotton lawn. Or layer several light garments.
- Colour Matters: Vibrant colours absorb more radiation than dull ones. Optical whitening agents that make your whites more white and your colours more vibrant can improve your sun protection.
- Wear Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing: UPF indicates the amount of UVA and UVB radiation that reaches the skin. A rating of UPF 50 tells you that 1/50th of the radiation reaches your skin. UPF fabrics are a synthetic blend of very fine and tightly knitted or woven fibres (very dense). Modern fabrics are breathable so you don’t feel like you are wearing cling wrap!
- Add a hat: A wide brim (4″/10 cm) provides good eye, face, neck and shoulder protection. A light coloured hat reflects heat and UV rays. If the underside of the brim is dark it will absorb UV rays reflected from windows and water.
- And UV protective sunglasses: UV protective sunglasses protect your eyes from sunburn and reduce your risks of cataracts and cancer (among other complications). The best glasses are close fitting wrap arounds that meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard 1067:2003 in categories 2, 3, or 4. Or Eye Protection Factor (EPF) 9 or 10 (transmitting minimal UV radiation), or UV 400 (blocks 100% of UV radiation). If you are driving make sure they are suitable for that purpose. Polaroids are useful for blocking glare, but they are not necessarily UV protective.
Using these five clothing sun protection tips and following the sun protection time recommendations will protect your skin from sunburn.
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