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Like sunglasses, the right kind of clothing provides an effective physical block to the sun. But a white T-shirt won't do much good; it has an SPF of only 5 (and when wet it goes down to SPF 2). Darker colors absorb more light, and tighter-constructed fabrics are better barriers. I think UV-protective clothing is just as important as sunscreen, and it's an easy way to make sure that you and your kids are protected when you're outside. (It's also a smart idea to wear a sun-protective swimsuit). Sun-protective fabric is engineered specifically to block and absorb ultraviolet light. It has a tight, nonporous weave (usually lightweight polyester, nylon, cotton jersey, or linen), and the material is infused with sunscreens (such as titanium dioxide and zinc microfibers). Another option is to wash your regular clothes with SunGuard, a laundry additive that treats fabric with the sunscreen Tinosorb. When added to detergent, it provides the clothing being washed with approximately 96 percent UPF protection.
You can protect your body in the sun by wearing long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and reapply often. Also look for one that is labeled "broad spectrum" so that it will protect you from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Remember that even these measures won't completely protect you, so you should avoid being in the sun for a long period of time, especially during the sunniest part of the day. Talk to your dermatologist for more information.
Skin damage caused by overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can be prevented by using sunscreen that protects both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays (UVA and UVB). The animation shows more about sun damage to the skin.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.