At Dacre Skincare we’re all about keeping you healthy, happy and your skin in tip-top condition. Which is why we’re the first to tell you that while clothes are a great first line of defence against harmful effects of the sun, they are not (generally) enough to keep you completely safe from those harmful UV rays.
Difficult as it can be to believe, even the barrier of cloth between your skin and the sun isn’t enough to prevent damage. As a result, full-body sun protection is essential.
We’re all used to slathering on the SPF when the sun is glaring and we’re in shorts and a strappy top or t-shirt, but how often do you take the time to apply sunscreen all over your body before you get dressed?
It wouldn’t even occur to most of us, but it’s actually very easy to experience skin damage through your clothing, despite having sunscreen on all your bare skin. In fact, there are a lot of ways the effectiveness of clothing at protecting you varies…
Go Dark Or Bright
Pale colours including pastels, white, and beige are very ineffective at absorbing UV rays. This is one reason we’re told to wear light colours when it’s hot – it keeps us cooler!
The problem with this is that while your pale clothes are keeping you cool they’re doing it by letting all that UV through to your skin.
Darker colours and bright shades like black, red, or navy blue, do a much better job at absorbing those harmful UV rays before they hit your skin.
To give you a little perspective, a white, light cotton t-shirt has a Ultraviolet Protection Factor, or UPF, of around 5. The same shirt in navy blue has a UPF of 18 – more than three times the protection.
Watch Your Weave
Just as the colour of your clothes affects how well it protects you, so too does the material you choose. And just as it’s completely natural to go for light colours when it’s sunny, it’s also an obvious choice to pick out light weaves and thin, natural fibres.
Man-made fibres win out for once in this race, as materials like rayon or polyester offer the best sun protection (who knew, right?). Coming in second are tightly woven, heavy or dense fabrics like denim, corduroy and wool.
Offering the least protection are exactly the sort of fabrics you’d go for when the sun is out – lightweight cotton and other thin materials like silk or crepe.
Accessorise Like A Sun Goddess
While your clothes often offer limited protection, the same is not true of accessories and the bigger the better. Sun hats should have wide brims of at least three inches. The wider the brim, the more of your body the hat is shielding. You’re also not doing yourself any favours with a traditional straw hat – you will get a lot more protection (and look considerably cooler) with a nice, tightly-woven fedora.
Likewise, UV-filtering sunglasses are fabulous for protecting your eyes, and the larger the lenses the more of your face is protected too (lets hope this tiny sunglasses trend is over soon!).
Cover Your Bases
Given the hit-and-miss nature of clothing effectively protecting your body from harmful UV rays, the simplest solution is to adopt a full-body sun cream regime. Remember, the more angles you have when protecting your skin, the better. So next time you’re choosing the perfect sundress, remember to take a second look at that floaty number and give yourself the best possible cover with a great sun cream, and the perfect accessories.
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