I doubt that when the Ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun god, they knew that he was giving them skin cancer, photo damage, wrinkles, and signs of premature aging. The sun may be life giving when it comes to plants, but it can be downright dangerous when we get too much exposure. That’s why it’s so important to stay protected in as many way possible.
Rhonda Sparks started the California-based UV Skinz brand in early 2005, after her husband (an avid outdoorsman) died from skin cancer. UV Skinz guarantees an a 50+ UPF without all of the mess, cost inefficiency, and constant reapplication of sunscreen lotions (though you should still use them!).
Why Color and Fabric Matter in the Sun
It seems counterintuitive, but darker colors will actually keep you safer in the summer. The pigments that create darker colors are better at absorbing light, therefore keeping it from reaching the skin (Skin Cancer Foundation). When an object does not absorb visible light (light waves that give things color), the object will take on the color of that light — grass is green because it absorb all light wave colors but green, tomatoes are red because they absorb all colors and reflect red light.
Black objects absorb all light waves, whereas white absorbs none. Although they may make you sweat more, darker colors are your better bet for summer clothes because they will absorb nearly all light from the sun and keep it from damaging your skin. Conversely, light colors such as white, light yellow, and pink absorb very few light waves and allow many to pass directly through them to the skin.
For example, a dark long-sleeved denim shirt has a UPF of 1700, meaning it will allow only 1/1700 of light to reach the skin, whereas your average light-colored cotton tee has UPF of 7. While the T-shirt seems more convenient at the beach, it’s the long-sleeve black shirt that will end up saving your life (Skin Cancer Foundation).
If skin-protection is for you, you will need to wear heavier fabrics, like wool, denim or polyester that have smaller weaves. The more taut the weave is, the fewer openings there are for UV rays to pierce the skin. As a general rule, if you hold up clothing to light and can see through it, it won’t be a good protectant (Dr. Cynthia Bailey).
Chic at the Beach: Accessories Make a Difference
Not only are baseball caps slowly becoming less fashionable, they won’t do much to protect your head and neck from sun damage. It’s best for men and women to find wide-brimmed hats that will cover the entire head — skin cancer can occur virtually anywhere on your body, even the oft-overlooked neck and forehead. Canvas caps are probably the best option since their thick fiber absorbs light, and flimsy straw hats allow lots of sun to reach the face (unless it is a tightly-woven straw hat) . Never forget sunglasses either, as they will protect your eyes from damage and strain from squinting, and also give a little extra protection to your face (Everyday Health).
Think of something like UV Skinz’s bucket hats ($16.95, amazon.com), which come in a variety of colors and are reversible.
For more fashion forward beach-goers, sarongs and skirts may be a great way to cover up at the beach and still look great.
Personal Use and Opinion
UV Skinz apparel tightly-weaved microfiber is good for outdoors activities like biking, hiking, swimming, and gardening, because it’s very durable and hard to snag. Plus, the tight weave blocks out most of the UV rays (it has a UPF 50+) that would otherwise enter through the small crevices your clothes to damage your skin. However, UV Skinz fabric doesn’t clean very easily and has a knack for collecting even the smallest traces of dirt, so if you plan to wear while doing messy activities (like gardening), order it in a darker shade so that the stains won’t be so noticeable.
I liked UV Skinz protection, but not so much its manufacture. The cut is a bit odd – it’s tight on the arms but very loose on the torso, which seems kind of counterintuitive for sports/outdoor apparel. Plus, the microfiber fabric made my skin feel very slippery and oily, almost as if there was a lotion in the cloth’s fibers (there isn’t). Even though some of the shirts are long-sleeved and high-necked to give you the best protection, being in the sun for a long time with a UV Skinz shirt may make you exceptionally sweaty and overheated, so make sure to visit shady areas often.
So, would I recommend UV Skinz? Yes; the tight weave blocks out almost of the sun’s rays and can even be worn in water. However, it doesn’t let the skin breathe too well so be prepared to sweat more than usual and it is a bit difficult to clean dirt and stains out of it.
UV Skinz offers lines of affordable men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel to give your family a safer summer. The fabric feels a bit slippery, doesn’t release hot air from sweating or light exposure, and it the taut weave keeps sweat locked into the weave of the fabric. That being said, the shirt’s weave is exceptionally tight and will surely keep out most of the UV rays that would penetrate nearly every other fabric — UV Skinz has a 50+ UPF.
Overall, it’s pretty comfortable for outdoors activities, from swimming to running and gardening, and as their website proudly suggests, this shirt costs the same as a few bottles of sunscreen but lasts longer, and guarantees protection until you take it off. For the best protection, use hats and sun lotion as extra defenses. I’m pretty excited to try out my UV Skinz by the pool this summer, and finally beat my annual bouts of summer sunburn.