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Sunnier weather and warmer temps have arrived, which means beach days, camping trips, and outdoor adventures are on the horizon. After winter, frolicking in the sun is certainly an appealing thought after we’ve holed up indoors for so long. While we don’t want to bum you out before you pack your bags and hit the trail, you should know that significant research shows the more time spent outdoors, the higher your chance of skin damage. And while the ever-popular practice of tanning might give the appearance of a “healthy glow,” according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there’s no such thing as a healthy tan. That’s why this summer, we’re stocking up on the best sun protection clothing that gives your skin an extra level of defense against harmful, long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Sun protective clothing fabrics are made with a close-weaved knit that provides skin with an additional shield, or they are infused with special chemicals made to filter out UV rays. Similar to sunscreen’s SPF (aka sun protection factor), UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) is a standard that measures the effectiveness of sun-protective fabrics. SPF only protects against one type of UV rays, skin-burning UVB rays, while UPF protects two kinds — UVB and skin-aging UVA rays. While it’s still recommended that you slather on sunscreen to protect exposed skin, wearing sun proection clothing means you have fewer areas to cover.
Recommended and rated highly by the outdoorsy reviewers who wear them most, find the best sun-protective clothing for women to buy for spring and summer below.
As an outdoor runner, I can attest to how top-notch the quality of lululemon’s jackets are. This lightweight option with a cooling back vent comes in white as well, but I love the ‘Solar Orange’ colorway for its high visibility (an important attribute to have when running near roads).
If you get burnt at the beach in a bikini, no matter how much sunscreen you put on, it may be time for a rash guard. Just think — you’ll be able to sleep better after your beach day without shoulder and back burns.
Take to the golf course (or anywhere, really) with the famous prep brand Lilly Pulitzer’s UPF 50+ Luxletic 28″ Corso Pant. Shoppers love these stretch pants for their “true-to-size fit,” “breathability,” and “variety of colors and prints.”
“I have photo-sensitivity and need to cover pretty much every square inch of skin with some sort of sun protection,” one shopper wrote, “This shirt is fantastic because the hoodie offers protection to the back of my neck and scalp without having to wear a hat.”
What’s great about this UPF piece is its ability to be worked into your everyday wardrobe. Toss it on over a sundress or a tank for instant extra protection — it’s that simple.
If it’s hot out, you won’t catch me running errands or working out in full-length pants. Still, I don’t want to get burnt while I’m out and about. That’s why these cropped Athleta leggings are my fave. They have the right amount of compression, UPF 50+ sun protection, and feature two pockets (!).
Sometimes, all you need is a basic shirt. This Amazon’s Choice option is great because it comes in over 20 colors, with reviewers loving the slit hem detail and longer backside coverage.