Clothing is first protection from UV rays!
All fabrics are able to filter out some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Some fabrics do a better job than others.
- Darker colours and tighter woven fabrics like Lycra provide better protection than thinner, lighter coloured loose weave fabrics
- Men’s fashions often cover more skin with higher collars, longer sleeves and knee length shorts than women’s fashions tend to
- Women’s and girls’ fashions tend to have scooped necklines, capped sleeves or thin straps that bare shoulders and recent trends in shorts and skirts tend to be short
- All fabrics offer less protection when they are wet
Some countries like Australia require clothing manufacturers to rate the Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF of the fabric an item is made of. Denim is considered one of the best UV protectors with UPF ratings ranging from 750-2000. Canada does not require UPF tags on clothing items.
What to look for in sun protective clothing:
- Tightly woven fabrics
- Tops with higher collars & longer sleeves
- Bottoms that reach the knees (eg. board shorts, Capris, skirts)
Specialty sun protective clothing including swimwear that covers more skin than typical swimwear can be purchased online or at outdoor stores. This clothing may cost more but is usually long-wearing and durable.
Purchases that are made to specifically protect from UV rays can be claimed on your Canadian income tax under health receipts.
Take a good look in your dresser and closet before spending a day outdoors. Choose an outfit that covers more skin which means less sunscreen to apply and reapply. Look for clothing that covers skin like your back which is harder to apply sunscreen to.
Many skin cancers occur on the ears, nose, face and scalp. Protect the skin above your shoulders! Cover up your head with a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face, neck and head.