During the long winter months, most people would agree that nothing is more welcome than the warmth and energy of the sun. Once spring and summer arrive however, individuals must once again be vigilant about the amount of sun exposure they receive on a daily basis. Although a daily dose of vitamin D is good for the body and the mind, too much sun exposure can lead to sunburn, sun stroke, premature aging and skin cancer. Protective sun clothes provide an ideal means of enjoying the outdoors without risking over-exposure. Read on to learn more about the nature of sun protection clothing, how to find it, and why it is so important.
Did you know that the act of covering up is not always enough to protect your skin from the sun’s rays? According to the creators of Sun Protective Clothing Ltd, an international producer and supplier of such clothing, regular cotton t-shirts and garments made from other lightweight fabrics can let in up to fifty percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays. When wet, those same materials are even less effective. In other words, although you may not be sunburned by the end of a day out of doors, your skin may have been left defenseless against the much more harmful, though not immediately apparent effects of UV rays.
The most immediate signs of excessive sun include sunburn and sun stroke. Although temporarily painful and uncomfortable, the acute effects of these ailments will wear off relatively quickly. More serious are the long term effects of sun exposure, which include melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Rapidly becoming one of the most common and potentially deadly forms of cancer, skin cancer can happen to anyone, but the chances of it developing can be significantly reduced simply by wearing UV protective clothing. An additional long-term effect of tanning is that of premature ageing, the prevention of which is a growing concern among women and men alike.
Due to increased awareness about the causes of melanoma and other skin diseases, and their direct correlation with sun exposure, protective sun clothes are becoming much more widely available. General characteristics of sun protection clothes will include lightweight but tightly woven fabrics that successfully block out UV rays while still being cool enough to wear on a hot summer day. Fabrics with indigo dyes are said to be the most naturally effective for repelling UV rays, however darker fabrics tend to retain heat and are therefore not always as desirable for the hottest days of the year. It is also possible to find clothing made from fabrics that have been treated with a UV repellant or blocker, adding another layer of protection, but making individual washing instructions somewhat more complicated. Other features to consider include moisture wicking properties, to draw sweat away from the body, and strategic ventilation in unexposed areas such as the underarms.
There are numerous manufacturers of UV protective clothing lines, all of which are worth considering. For points of reference, the following companies have the advantages of time-tested clientele and high quality products:
Coolibar produce a wide range of UV protective clothing for men and women and children. Their range incorporates casual wear, sports clothing and beach and swim suits.
The Sunveil Sunwear brand has been in the business of protective sun clothing since 1986, and has store locations in Canada, the US, Singapore, China and Japan, as well as on the internet. The company boasts the superiority of its 600 series fabric, which is extremely durable, colorfast, and chlorine resistant. Its men’s, women’s, children’s, and hats and accessories lines are approved by the Melanoma International Foundation, and are stylish as well as practical.
The Sun Protective Clothing Ltd. Company, mentioned previously, was started by a married couple after one party suffered a diagnosis of melanoma. As a result, the company’s mandate is to raise awareness about the importance of sun protective clothing, and help people to enjoy the outdoors in a safe and responsible manner. The company uses its trademarked Solarweave fabric, which stands up to numerous criteria, including launder-ability, its ability to stand up to excessive and long-term UV exposure and abrasion, and its bio compatibility (the fact that it will not irritate sensitive or allergic skin).
Additional locations where you are likely to find a good variety of sun blocking textiles include outdoor supply stores. Consider Mountain Equipment Coop in Canada or REI in the US. If you are shopping out of season, you may have to request a summer catalogue and pre-order, since such specific products may not be in stock.
Although testing the effectiveness of UV proof clothing is not yet mandated universally, there is one standard to look for to ensure quality and effectiveness. That standard is the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. According to this system, the higher the score is, the more effective the garment will be. For example, scores between 15 and 24 signify a rating of good, but scores of 50 and above are the very best.
For peace of mind and body during the summer months, protective sun clothes are the ideal and obvious choice. Remember that these textiles are not limited to tops and bottoms; finding a UV blocking hat that protects the nose and neck is equally, if not more important. Armed with your sun block and comfortable but protective clothing, you will able to enjoy summer to the very fullest.