Sun protection consists of broad spectrum sunscreen products, in the traditional sense; but as technology and science progress, the skin health professional and their patients have more and more practical options to add to their skin protecting arsenal. Although applying a broad spectrum sunscreen to all sun exposed areas is still the first line of defense against harmful UV rays, we can now take it a step further by utilizing handheld umbrellas, UV protective clothing and even UV laundry detergent.
A study performed by the Dermatology Department at Emory University Grand Rounds in Atlanta discovered the Ultra Violet Radiation (UVR) protective benefits a simple handheld umbrella can offer.
Researchers collected 23 handheld umbrellas from on-campus attendees ranging in color, size and brand. The umbrellas that were free of tears or other obvious defects were tested under a cloudless sky using a meter to measure UVA and UVB rays. According to the research, regular handheld umbrellas can block between 77% and 99% of UV radiation.
UV protective clothing
Over the past decade, UV protective clothing has become mainstream, and can be spotted on children and adults alike at the beach or by the pool. This high tech fabric generally provides an SPF up to a 50, and can block upwards of 98% of UVA and UVB rays. While wearing sun protective garments are an added boost to sun protection, they do have a short lifespan and should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, Coolibar® sun protection clothing features SUNTECT® fabric that is viable for 100 hours or 40 washes.
UV protective laundry detergent
Sun protecting laundry detergent is another way to increase broad spectrum UV protection on regular clothing. For example,donning the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, SunGuard™, a wash in sun protection detergent, adds an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 30 and blocks 96% of harmful UV rays. By immersing any clothing item in SunGuard™, as the manufacturer suggests, there is no need to buy specialty garments. However, it is still necessary to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen product to all sun exposed areas for full UV protection.
A broad spectrum sunscreen should still be part of everyone’s daily skin care regimen, but having other ways to further protect against UV rays adds additional layers of protection. Regular handheld umbrellas, specialty clothing with UVB protection and laundry detergent with broad spectrum sun protection are all technologically advanced ways to protect the skin from potentially cancer-causing UV rays.