Skin Care UV Protection: Dressing Safe in the Sun By UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, June 2, 2015 We’ve all heard how important it is to wear sunscreen daily, no matter what the season or weather is like. And, there is no doubt that wearing sunscreen protects your skin from sun damage and reduces the risk of skin cancer by offering UV protection. But, did you know that you can also protect your skin from dangerous UV rays with clothing? When you’re out and about (and not at the pool or beach in a bathing suit), you may not even consider how you should dress to protect yourself from the sun. If you plan to spend long hours exposed in the sun – maybe you’re going on a hike or a picnic – in addition to sunscreen, here are clothing essentials you should have to protect your skin: A wide brimmed hat (not a baseball cap) Choose a hat that has at least a 3″ wide diameter. This will cover your face, ears, and neck. You should avoid straw hats with holes, as these will let the sun in. Wear long sleeves/full length pants This may be difficult for you in the summer heat (and you definitely don’t want to overheat yourself), but try to wear clothing that covers all of the potential sun-exposed areas of your body. Sunglasses Don’t forget to protect your eyes! Choose quality, full eye-covering close-fitting sunglasses to shade your eyes from damaging UV rays. Wear vivid colors You may have heard that dark colors attract more heat, but they also absorb more UV rays than whites or light colors. However, vivid colors, such as red, also provide protection. Choose the right fabric Like straw hats, certain clothing fabrics can let more light in as there is space in between the fibers. The best options for fabrics to protect your skin are tightly woven cotton, denim, nylon, and polyester. Of course, you should always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 upon any exposed skin. You should also seek shade whenever possible. Want to learn more about protecting yourself from harmful UV rays, which can cause skin cancer? Check out our sunscreen infographic to learn the basics! Stay safe this summer and protect your skin from UV rays. A little prevention can go a long way. Don’t forget to do regular skin checks to make sure moles or sunspots aren’t cancerous. Learn more about what you should watch out for and chat with an expert at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.