Beyond the Beach: Sun Protective Clothing

Sunscreen at the beach or pool is a no-brainer, but when was the last time you lathered up before going to work or running errands? Furthermore, have you tried applying sunscreen to an energetic kid lately? And we’re not talking about the toxic spray-on kind. Yeah, not so easy. Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t capable of doing damage to our skin.

While we still encourage the use of non-toxic sunscreen on body parts exposed to the sun, today we discover why wearing UV protective clothing year round is equally, if not more, important. 

Beyond The Beach Sun Protective Clothing

Did you know?

  • More than 85% of skin cancer is caused by UV radiation exposure from the sun.
  • Every hour, one person dies from skin cancer.
  • More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year.
  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their life.
  • Over the past 3 decades, more people have skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
Source: Skin Cancer Foundation

Some people only think about sun protection when they are on vacation or spending a day at the pool. We all recognize that a sunburn is the quickest way to ruin any great vacation. However, going out into the sun unprotected on any day has the potential to subject your skin to premature aging or, worse, skin cancer. The truth is that we are exposed to harmful UV rays every time we are in the sun whether it be hot or cold, cloudy or hazy, or bright and sunny. In particular, the hours between 10 am and 4 pm; and during the late spring and early summer are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in the United States.

How do you protect yourself from UV Exposure?

It hardly makes sense to avoid going outdoors completely. Besides, it would be unfair to your little ones to just stay inside as it would also prevent you from being active. Remember, physical activity is an important part of staying healthy. Instead, here are 10 steps you can take to limit your exposure to UV rays and protect your skin:

1. Stay in the shade, especially during the sun’s peak hours.

2. Apply SPF 30+ topical sunscreen to exposed skin every 2 hours to prevent burning.

3. Treat any sunburns immediately (one blistering sunburns as a child doubles your risk for melanoma).

4. Wear a hat.

5. Avoid tanning beds and artificial tanning devices.

6. Keep newborns out of the sun.

7. Teach your children about the importance of sun safety.

8. Examine your skin from head-to-toe for moles once a month.

9. Have a professional examination annually.

10. Wear sun protective (UVF) clothing!

What is Sun Protective Clothing? 

Similar to SPF in sunscreens, sun-protective clothing is labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). The highest UPF rating possible is UPF 50+ and it is classified as “excellent sun protection,” blocking over 98% of UV rays. Clothes with less than a UPF 15 cannot be labeled as sun-protective. For example, a standard white cotton t-shirt typically has a UPF 5-7.

How is UPF Determined? 

The UPF of fabric is affected by the thickness of the fabric, the tightness of the weave and the color. The darker the color, the more inherent the sun-protection. A tightly woven fabric protects better than loosely woven clothing. Dry fabric is generally more protective than wet fabric.

If UVF or sun protective clothing sounds interesting to you, read on.


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Coolibar promises relief and reliable protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays with a sun protective clothing line that has been popular in Australia for well over a decade. Using the experience they developed down-under, Coolibar’s high quality fabrics are guaranteed to be the most dependable on the market. In fact, they will only offer garments that provide 98% UV protection (UVF 50+) every single time they are worn.

Wearing sun protective activewear becomes a no-brainer with Coolibar. Not only are the colors and styles attractive, but the fabrics are moisture wicking and don’t feel like you’re wearing a swimsuit.


These styles are especially flattering and perfect for guys for everyday wear to the gym or for their daily run, as the peices don’t look any different from the activewear they normally wear. Men are the hardest to convince to take care of their skin, yet this light blue and grey outfit won’t make your man feel any different while keeping him comfortable and protected.

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With that in mind, Coolibar has raised the standards for sun protective fitness gear. We love this short sleeve cool fitness shirt in aqua drift paired with gray fitness shorts.

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Coolibar’s new, moisture activated cooling technology is integrated right into the quick dry fabric, while side mesh panels significantly improve air flow. We love these pieces so much that we’re seriously considering ditching our old t-shirts for more of these fitness shirts. 

In all seriousness though, UV protective clothing doesn’t have to mean beach clothing, and that’s one thing we love about Coolibar. These are pieces that you can wear any day.

Coolibar Cardigan

For example, if you’re going to an outdoor wedding or enjoy eating outside on a beautiful day you might need a little extra shade for your arms and shoulders. The versatile ZnO Sun Wrap offers the same reliable UV coverage as a sun shirt, in a “go-anywhere” package. Plus, the wrap features Coolibar’s latest technology development called “ZnO SUNTECT®.” This technology embeds millions of tiny particles of zinc oxide (the same ingredient that is used to block UVA and UVB in better sunscreens and to treat mild skin irritations or burns) into every fiber. These ZnO particles cannot wash or wear out.

Coolibar Women Hoodie

For a more active look, Coolibar has an awesome hoodie with a twist. The twist – it has a zipper that can go both directions.We really love this one because you can throw it in your bag and carry it with you virtually anywhere.  It also has handy kangaroo pockets while still offering quick sun coverage and the fabric we love. If you could only buy one piece, buy this hoodie. It’s light, it’s cool and it doesn’t take up much space, but you’ll be protected! 

Coolibar Hoodie Women

UV Skinz

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UV Skinz came to be out of a need to help raise awareness and educate families about the sun. The owner of the company lost her 32 year old husband to skin cancer and vowed to use her experience to help create quality sun protection products so that others may not have to experience the same devastating loss that she and her three young boys have.

UV Skinz offers shirts, shorts, swimwear, cover-ups, dresses, hats and more for the entire family with a mission to provide “peace of mind in the sun.”  Not only is their apparel easy to mix and match, but each piece offers UPF 50+ protection, meaning that by wearing the clothing, you are blocking out 98% of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Uv Skinz Dress Details

We all know that what starts as a simple trip to the pool or beach, often leads to other activities. With that in mind, UV Skinz offers this short cover-up in aqua for women. It’s stylish enough to wear to lunch and offers enough coverage to make a quick stop into the store on your way home.We love the soft, quick-dry fabric and bright color that gather at the back to create concealing drapes, and side drawstrings at the empire waist to adjust to your body. The subtle pique texture is certain to flatter any body type. It’s available in five color options.

Uv Skinz Girls Collage

For girls (specifically babies and toddlers), we love this adorable striped sun jumper. Made from their quick drying, woven microfiber sun fabric, this outfit is chlorine and salt water resistant, and features adjustable shoulder straps and a front pocket. Pair with it  UV Sunzie in aqua and a matching hat for a complete sun safe outfit. It’s so cute that your child can wear it just about anywhere.n The sun jumper and UV Sunzie are available in two color options. The reversible bucket hat is available in 5 colors.

Uv Skinz Hats

Finally, UV Skinz offers a sun hat for women that will put the hats our mothers once wore to shame. The Sunny Swim Hat is both stylish and functional. It comes in an adjustable size that fits most heads with a drawstring that serves dual purposes of being both decorative and functional. Available in five different colors, the 4″ wide, feminine brim will keep the sun off your face, ears, and neck.

Cool, comfortable and fashionable, this long-lasting, lightweight, breathable sun protective clothing is great for the pool or beach, and is also great for any other outdoor adventure. 


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In 2007, SummerSkin’s founder, Summer Kramer, was diagnosed with melanoma on her lower left leg. Following surgery, her dermatologist recommended that she wear sun protective clothing whenever she planned on being outside. To her dismay, it was difficult to find fashionable apparel that would protect her skin from harmful UV rays, while still maintaining a sense of style, versatility and expression.

With very few options that she could feel confident wearing to a picnic or an outdoor function, or just walking around the city, the idea for SUMMERSKIN was born. Today, the company combines high-end luxury fabrics composed of natural cottons, Tencel and bamboo/cotton blends with a research and development process that is backed by a licensed pharmacist and skin cancer survivor. Their fabrics are luxurious, breathable and most of all comfortable! Even better, none of the material has been treated with chemical additives.

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From the moment we opened the package, we knew that this is not your typical “sun protective” clothing. SummerSkin’s clothing line includes tops such as the Raglan Pullover (above), dresses, pants, hats, sunglasses and their signature Endless Summer Scarf (below), with prices ranging from $32  to $165. The Raglan Pullover is one of those essential, everyday pieces that everyone should own. Available in four color options, this top is great to wear to yoga, coffee or drinks. The sleeves are meant to be worn past your wrist with a dedicated space for your thumbs for added protection.

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The Endless Summer Scarf  offers “endless” ways to stay protected from the sun while looking fabulous. Scarves are very trendy right now, but what we love about the endless scarf is that it can be worn as an infinity scarf, shoulder wrap, instant hood, skirt or any other way you can think of. Available in 11 color options, it’s small and light enough to throw in your bag or purse for the day, and fashionable enough to be worn for any occasion.

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Both of these pieces have a UPF +50 rating, but you’ll quickly forget you’re wearing sun protective clothing when you wear SummerSkin.

Cabana Life

After being diagnosed with a malignant melanoma at age 26, Melissa Marks Papock, Cabana Life founder and president,  discovered that her ordinary, light-weight clothing was hardly protecting her skin the way she thought it was. In fact, she found that a simple white t-shirt has the equivalent of SPF 5!

It was then that her doctor informed her that she should be wearing sun protective clothing. But when she saw what was available, she realized why people weren’t wearing it. There was clearly a need for comfortable AND stylish UPF clothing. So, with the help of her husband (who also battled skin cancer), they formed Cabana Life.

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Cabana Life combines fashion with function by offering stylish clothing with 50+ UV protection through their patented SkinSafe™ Technology. Their collection offers a variety of sun protective clothing essentials including bathing suits, hats, cover-ups, tunics, shirts, and pants for the entire family . Furthermore, Cabana Life’s “beach club chic” styles have quite a celebrity following that includes Oprah, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marcia Gay Harden, Jack Black, and Lisa Kudrow.

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We particularly love this athletic, yet feminine, full front zipper rashguard in Aqua with white stitching. This swim jacket with 50+ UV protection really is a vacation must-have, but can be worn just as easily at the playground. It’s ideal for walking, running, paddle boarding, swimming, lounging or just covering up. And, it has two convenient pockets that are the perfect size for a room key or credit card.

We paired our aqua jacket with Cabana Life’s new coral mosaic swim shorts. Inspired by and designed for our active lifestyles, these shorts are breathable, breezy and beach-ready. The wide waistband and mid-rise silhouette is fit to flatter every woman, and can be worn both in the water and out.

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For men, we love the convenience and comfort of Cabana Life’s relaxed style, zipper neck rashguard. While it can certainly be worn at the beach or on vacation, this is a shirt that can be worn anytime your guy is outdoors.

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Grey contrast stitching accents the side piecing, sleeve, hem and neck seams. Long sleeves provide extended UV protection.

Cabana Life White Zip Up

Or, if you prefer a short sleeve option, we love how this roomy cut rashguard silhouette is made of breathable, quick-dry fabric perfect for water sports and sweat! Long sleeve and short sleeve rash-guards are available in white, black, navy and charcoal.

UV protective clothing shouldn’t be limited to the beach or pool. Be sure to check out today’s brands for fashionable clothing that you’ll want to wear year round. Not only will you be protected but you’ll also look great.

If you are interested in more fashionable looks for the entire family this fall, check out: Mommy and Me Coordinated Clothing for the Entire Family.

Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk and The Art of Making a Baby



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Ashley Sisk
Ashley Sisk
Ashley lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids and Kitty Paw. She’s a work-from-home mom with a natural light photography business and a passion for sharing everything she knows. Since leaving the corporate world, she now spends her time trying to get through elementary school with her daughter, chasing her firefighter loving little boy, writing and finding ways to enjoy life. You can find her on Facebook, Google + or on her website.