Do Swim Shirts Protect You from the Sun?

January 29, 2020

Swim Shirts and the Australian Lifestyle

One of the biggest questions that we get asked as a sun protection company, is whether swim shirts really protect you from the sun. In a society where going to the beach is the ultimate in fun and relaxation, there needs to be more done to educate and inform of the very real dangers of the sun and what it can mean to your health. Here in Australia, our lifestyle is very much outdoors due to the beautiful country that we live in including the fabulous coastline. And with this outdoor lifestyle, tanning is just something that we do every summer, and it’s a sign of being outdoors and it’s taken as a look that is healthy.


Tanning and UV Rays

But how healthy is a tan?

The Cancer Council has been on at us about sun protection for years now and keep trying to tell us about the dangers of exposing our skin to the sun in pursuit of a glowing tan. Yes, it has been clinically proven that the sun’s rays do cause skin damage including premature again and the very scary skin cancer. So how do the rays do this to our skin? Understanding the different kinds of radiation and when they are at their most prevalent is a crucial first step into protecting yourself and your family.

How UV Rays Impact the Skin

There are two main rays associated with the sun and these rays are UVA and UVB. They are two totally different rays that impact the skin differently and most importantly, are prevalent at differing times of the day. So lets look at UVA rays first.

UVA Rays

UVA rays are the ones that are commonly associated with premature aging as they penetrate deep into our skin and go all the way down to the dermis layer. They are also around at any time that it is light. So, from morning to night, they are there. Even on cloudy days as they just come straight through. This is why it is important to have sun protection at all times of the day and to always make sure that it covers UVA rays too.

UVB Rays

The UVB rays are the rays that are commonly associated with skin cancer. These rays don’t penetrate as deep as the UVA ones, rather they penetrate our skins more outer layers. These rays are prevalent at times when the sun is directly overhead, so they come straight down through the atmosphere. This is why they say to avoid the sun during the hours of 10am and 4pm. Again, these days penetrate through the cloud, so a cloudy day is not going to protect you.

Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer

What does this mean for us? The means that we are exposed practically all day from either one or both of these rays. The very real threat here is the incidence of developing skin cancer and the Cancer Council states that having exposure to these UV rays is the main factor in causing skin cells to become cancerous. And that almost all skin cancers are caused by UV radiation. In fact, they also go on to say that 2 in 3 Australians will get diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70 years.

Let’s look at how you can take precautions to protect yourself and your family from this but still enjoy an active life. Sun protection is not a chore and if you have the know-how and also the right items, it is very straight forward and will quickly become a quick daily routine. One of the easiest ways of providing sun protection is through purpose made sun protection clothing or otherwise known as swim shirts. Having a piece of clothing to slip on before heading outdoors will make your life easier.

How do swim shirts work against UV rays?

They work through providing a filter to stop a large percentage of the sun’s rays from getting to your skin. Contrary to popular belief, they are actually very light weight, quick drying and not hot at all to wear on a warm day. They do come in a variety of different protection levels so checking out the UPF rating on one before you buy it is always a good idea. Just like sunscreen, the higher the SPF the more protection it offers. With clothing, the higher the UPF (ultraviolet protection factor), the more it will stop the rays from coming through. For example, a UPF rating of 50+ filters out up to 98% of both the UVA and the UVB rays.

Swim shirts also needn’t be unfashionable, just take a look around and you will see that they now sport fabulous designs and also prints that look chic and stylish. Just like wearing active wear whilst out shopping or having coffee, swim shirts are the beach option. The fit of the swim shirt is also important as you want to make sure that it works with what you plan to do in it. If you are swimming, a snug fit is always a good idea as it will move with you and not balloon out. If it’s something that you will wear whilst sitting on the sand, gardening or other land types of outdoor activity and you like a more relaxed fit, then order a size up to give you room to move inside it.

Remember that its your health that we are talking about and whilst we can’t live our lives totally indoors, unfortunately skin cancer is a very real threat. Taking time to protect yourself will not only reward your skin now, but also in the future.

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