Protecting You Skin From the Sun with UPF Clothing

If you're not as diligent about applying (and reapplying) sunscreen as you should be—try adding protective clothing with UPF to your sun protection arsenal. The Ultraviolet Protection Factor rating system measures the UV protection provided by fabric. Similar to the SPF rating system used for sunscreens, a garment with a UPF of 50 blocks 98% of the UV radiation. Bonus—there are hundreds of stylish patterns to choose from!


Host 1: Welcome back, everyone. It's 9:25. Whether it's sunscreen or special clothing, it is very important to protect yourself from the sun's harmful UV rays.

Host 2: Dr. Sherry Ingraham with Advanced Dermatology is here to show us some options when it comes to sun protective clothing. Good morning to you.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Good morning.

Host 2: And I see you brought a lovely little model with you to help us out today.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Yes, we did. This is Eden.

Host 2: Hi, Eden.

Eden: Hi.

Host 2: Okay, so we can wear something instead of spraying something on, huh?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Yeah, you know that's something I really want to convey to people. It's not all about staying indoors. I always say you've got to live your life, go outside, it's the Fourth of July, go to the beach, go on the boat, but protect yourself. And I think applying sunscreen every two hours, though it's necessary, can be onerous. If you can put on a shirt that has a UPF, which is an ultraviolet protection factor, not an SPF, of 50, which blocks 98% of the UV rays, you don't have to keep applying your sunscreen. And now there are a multitude of products available for really every size, every body, and every age.

Host 1: Here's the other thing, Doctor, one of the things that I'm noticing is these are all bright colors. You've got the whites, you've got the beige, you've got the gray. Is it important to stay away from the darker colors?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: No, that's a good question. So a white T-shirt, I always tell people, just your average white T-shirt, gives an SPF of about five to eight, which is no good. The darker the color, the thicker and closer the weave, actually the more it absorbs UV, so the better. So if you're going to wear a T-shirt, wear a densely woven dark one, but who wants to wear that in the summer? That's too hot. So wearing bright colors is actually better. They actually absorb more light. But even a white, well-woven sun shirt made by someone like Coolibar, which is what this is what they do, is excellent. And the neat thing is most of these fabrics have technology that makes them water resistant, so water beads up on it. They have zinc and sometimes titanium, which I like in sunscreen, built into the fabrics. They're chlorine resistant, water resistant, and they promise the UPF rating will last for the lifetime of the clothing.

Host 2: That's incredible, to be able to see the numbers on this of what the UPF is. Let's talk about the kiddos, because their skin is so delicate. Now here, is this something she could actually swim in?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Yes. She loves this little outfit. So they make these now for little girls and boys where there are shirts, there's one pieces, where it's a combined outfit with pants. You can get little skirts or shorts. And the neat thing is they're fun colors, and if you start them out young and they see you wearing a sun shirt, they want to wear a sun shirt. And we all know, I tell parents, use a spray. I like these sprays from La Roche and Neutrogena, because it's hard to get a toddler to stay still, right? You can spray him, and actually, Eden likes to use something like this, she'll show you, during the day when she reapplies on her face. They can use a sun stick, which is kind of fun and easy to apply. But having to reapply every 80 minutes, or when they get out of the water, can be tedious. If you put a sun shirt on them, they're good for the day.

Host 2: I like the idea of having her do it herself, too, because then you're not having that battle. They get to kind of be their own boss, right?

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Absolutely, and they see you do it. And another favorite thing are these sun sleeves. So I have all these men who are golfers, and they do not want to wear long sleeve shirts, so they can put these on during the day when they're out playing golf and they don't have a long sleeve heavy shirt on, and it really protects the forearms where we get a lot of sun damage. And then I also like these neat little neck scarves, because in women especially, the skin on our neck and our chest is so thin and delicate, and really shows our age and gets a lot of sun damage. So if you can wear something like this during the day, and then if you go out on the boat, you can put it up on your face and you can still breathe and talk. You wouldn't walk around town this way, but it gives you a little bit of stylish protection.

Host 1: Great. Very nice.

Host 2: Well, thank you for your help, and certainly thank you for being here with us this morning.

Host 1: You were the perfect model. You'll have to come back. All right, Doctor, thank you.

Dr. Sherry Ingraham: Thank you.