Most Australians would be familiar with our summertime mantra “Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade or shelter, and Slide on some sunglasses”.
We are taught from a young age to implement a combination of different sun protection measures, but does clothing block UV rays? How important is it really to slip on that shirt?
Clothing can offer you UV protection, but choosing the right type of fabric is key. Tightly woven fabrics are better, as they prevent more UV rays from touching your skin. Lycra and elastane are the safest option, and swimwear generally falls into this category.
Nylon and polyester are the next best options, and thicker fabrics such as tweed and denim are also suitable. Linen and bleached cotton will offer less UV protection, but any shirt is always better than no shirt!
Tip: Hold an item of clothing up to the light to determine just how much light can pass through.
It isn’t just the type of fabric which is important, but also the colour. Many people avoid dark clothing in summer because shades like black can make you feel hotter.
However, when it comes to sun protection those very same dark shades work harder to absorb those nasty UV rays, which is safer for your skin.
Tip: More vibrant shades, such as red, are better at reflecting light than pastels.
Some clothing manufacturers design tightly woven clothing specifically for outdoor use. Many of the more general fabrics lose their sun protection when wet, so if you spend time in the water something made with a special UV coating is recommended.
These types of clothes come with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Rating) of up to 50+, and long sleeves and pants are the safest option. A rash vest (rashie) is an excellent choice for every member of the family as they are designed for use in the water. Many styles even come with a higher neckline for added protection.
Tip: Look for Australian made clothing which meets our strict sun safety standards.
Preventative measures will lessen the likelihood of skin cancer, and allow you to enjoy the summertime with family and friends. Yes, clothing can help to block UV rays but what you wear will make a difference.
Combine the “Slip on a shirt”, with the “slop, slap, seek and slide” and you will be giving yourself the best chance of skin cancer prevention.
Tip: Have your skin checked regularly, and don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a specialist if you notice any changes.
Get in Touch with Us
If you are concerned about the effects of sun exposure, we are here to help. Visit one of our nine friendly My Skin Centre locations in WA for an individual mole check, whole body skin check or mole removal.
Please contact us today for more information, or to book an appointment.
With multiple locations throughout Perth and the South West there is a clinic near you!