clothing to stay cool & sun safe
June 3, 2010 8:15 AM   Subscribe

sun-protection filter: after several summers mostly indoors, I've been outside quite a bit lately, and it's definitely feeling like that hole in the ozone has got *a lot* bigger - so, clothing-wise, what to wear?

I know one obvious answer is sunscreen, and I do use it on my face, etc., but otherwise it's kinda messy and impractical, so what I'm looking for is some sort of pull-over type garment that can keep the sun off and not get too hot (like most of the ones I've come across so far). I won't be at the beach or anything like that, mostly just walking around doing errands (in the Midwest, USA). Bonus points for style (likely outfits to be worn with: khakis and polo shirts; jeans and t-shirts, etc.; am male, fwiw).
posted by 5Q7 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A thinner white cotton long sleeved shirt that buttons up the front (so you can wear it open over your t-shirt) and a hat.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:23 AM on June 3, 2010

posted by jamaro at 8:35 AM on June 3, 2010

You may want to google "SPF clothing". I've gotten sunburns through light cotton shirts, but these clothing articles have a physical sun protectant (like zinc oxide) and are tested to have certain spf ratings.

This store is all sun protective clothing. REI also has some stylish shirts with spf ratings.
posted by fontophilic at 8:57 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

People think I'm insane, but I wear long sleeves throughout the summer. It keeps the sun from getting baking hot on my shoulders, and since I'm prone to skin cancer with my white-white arms, SPF won't do it alone. Gap has very thin, stretchy long-sleeved shirts that let you breathe while also offering coverage. I also rub on SPF and let it dry before dressing. Yes, I am paranoid, but that's the luck of the Irish.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:30 AM on June 3, 2010

I just discovered that Rit (the dye company) makes wash-in SPF for clothes. It only works on 100% cotton, linen, or other plant-derived fibers, but it's cheap and worth a try if you already have a lightweight longsleeve shirt or a cotton hat that you want to have SPF. I am not sure if it's as reliable as the fancy REI sun shirts, or how long the coating is effective for, but it is invisible on the fabric. It would be available in most fabric or craft stores, or maybe sporting goods stores too.
posted by slow graffiti at 9:53 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Solumbra makes clothing just for this, although, unfortunately for me, I find it more geared towards women. I suppose that's not unreasonable, women seem to bear more of the burden of photodermatoses than do men, so you go where your market is.

Wear your sunscreen anyway. Do not neglect your neck and behind your ears. Mexoryl is finally allowed in the US, which is at least an alternative to your standard zinc oxide if you want UVA protection.
posted by adipocere at 10:32 AM on June 3, 2010

I use a bush hat and thin cotton long sleeved shirts when i am out in sunburn country (High altitude arizona and new mexico) and just a hat when not in sunburn country (pacific nw). I don't like sunscreen, it makes me feel greasy and makes me sweat more. The above measures keeps me from burning for the whole day as long as I drink lots of water and stay in the shade as much as possible, when i stop moving i stop in the shade.
posted by bartonlong at 11:06 AM on June 3, 2010

I just discovered that Rit (the dye company) makes wash-in SPF for clothes.

This is great stuff. It lasts for about twenty launderings, so you should reapply it at the beginning of each summer. Special high-SPF clothing costs a fortune, but applying this invisible dye to natural-fiber clothing is cheap. One treatment yields an SPF of about 30, but you can apply it twice in a row in order to get an SPF of about 50.

I always use this stuff on my kids' clothes before going on vacation. It's really great for water sports like windsurfing or sailing, where you spend a lot of time in the sun after getting wet, because ordinary cotton clothing doesn't provide much protection at all when wet, but the treated clothing does. We've seen a remarkable difference.

Our local stores do not seem to carry it any more, so we mail order it. One box of Rit Sun guard will treat a five- or six-pound load of laundry and costs $2 plus shipping. Another company which I prefer for all other dye, Dharma Trading Company, sells the Jacquard Products brand of the exact same SPF treatment, iDye Sun Blocker, but it costs more, $3 for enough to treat up to three pounds of fabric. They also sell a huge variety of inexpensive white cotton and rayon clothing that you can dye and/or treat with the sun blocker.
posted by Ery at 11:36 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

and it's definitely feeling like that hole in the ozone has got *a lot* bigger

Not answering your question, but you should know that the CFC ban has been successful at reversing the expansion. The hole is getting smaller and atmospheric ozone overall is reconstituting.
posted by dhartung at 10:57 PM on June 3, 2010

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