The Importance of Wearing Sun Protective Clothing: Insights from Dermatologists

Sun exposure is a leading cause of skin damage, premature aging, and skin cancer. To combat these risks, dermatologists emphasize the critical role of sun protective clothing.

The Rising Concern of UV Radiation

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a major environmental risk factor for skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. This alarming statistic underscores the need for effective sun protection.

Dr. Elizabeth Hale, a board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at New York University, explains: "UV radiation is the primary cause of skin cancer, and the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has been steadily increasing over the past few decades."

The Role of Sun Protective Clothing

Sun protective clothing serves as a physical barrier against UV rays, reducing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. These garments are rated by Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which measures how effectively the fabric blocks UV radiation. A higher UPF rating indicates better protection.

Dr. Hale says, "Sun protective clothing is one of the most effective ways to guard against UV radiation. Unlike sunscreen, which needs to be reapplied every two hours and can wear off with sweat and water, UPF clothing provides continuous protection throughout the day."

How Sun Protective Clothing Works

Sun protective clothing is made from fabrics that are specifically designed to block UV radiation. These fabrics are tightly woven or knitted, preventing UV rays from penetrating through to the skin. Additionally, some garments are treated with UV-inhibiting ingredients to enhance their protective properties.

Dr. Howard Sobel, a dermatologist and founder of Sobel Skin in New York City, notes, "The effectiveness of sun protective clothing lies in its fabric composition. Tightly woven fabrics like polyester, nylon, and spandex are particularly effective at blocking UV radiation. These materials are also lightweight and breathable, making them comfortable for extended wear."

The Benefits of Sun Protective Clothing

  1. Continuous Protection: One of the primary benefits of sun protective clothing is that it offers continuous protection without the need for reapplication. Dr. Sobel emphasizes, "Sun protective clothing provides a reliable defense against UV rays throughout the day. This is especially important for individuals who spend long periods outdoors and may not have the opportunity to reapply sunscreen regularly."
  2. Reduction of Skin Cancer Risk: By blocking UV radiation, sun protective clothing significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. Dr. Hale states, "Wearing UPF-rated clothing can lower your risk of skin cancer by providing consistent protection, particularly in areas that are often exposed, such as the arms, legs, and torso."
  3. Prevention of Premature Aging: UV radiation is a major contributor to premature aging, causing wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Sun protective clothing helps preserve the skin’s youthful appearance by shielding it from harmful UV rays. Dr. Sobel explains, "By minimizing UV exposure, sun protective clothing helps maintain skin elasticity and prevents the breakdown of collagen, which is essential for youthful, healthy skin."

Key Features to Look for in Sun Protective Clothing

  1. High UPF Rating: Choose garments with a UPF rating of 30 or higher. Dr. Hale advises, "For optimal protection, look for clothing with a UPF of 50+, which blocks at least 98% of UV radiation." All JOJU products are independently certified to be UPF 50+. 
  2. Quality Fabric: Opt for high-quality fabrics that are tightly woven or knitted. Dr. Sobel suggests, "Fabrics like polyester, nylon, and spandex are excellent choices because they provide superior UV protection and are also durable and comfortable."
  3. Coverage: Maximize skin coverage with long-sleeve shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats. Dr. Hale recommends, "The more skin you cover, the better protected you are. Consider wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, even in warm weather, to ensure comprehensive protection."
  4. Breathability and Comfort: Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin. Dr. Sobel notes, "Comfort is key when wearing sun protective clothing for extended periods. Look for garments with moisture-wicking properties and ventilation features to stay cool and dry."

Learn more in Our Ultimate Guide to UPF Clothing: How to Choose and Use Sun Protection Clothing.

Practical Tips for Wearing Sun Protective Clothing

  1. Layering for Extra Protection: Layering sun protective clothing can enhance protection. Dr. Hale advises, "Layering a UPF-rated shirt over a tank top or wearing a lightweight jacket over a long-sleeve shirt can provide additional defense against UV rays."
  2. Combining with Sunscreen: For areas not covered by clothing, such as the face, neck, and hands, apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Dr. Sobel emphasizes, "Sun protective clothing and sunscreen work best together. Use sunscreen on exposed skin to ensure comprehensive protection."
  3. Wearing Hats and Sunglasses: A wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses protect your face, ears, and eyes. Dr. Hale states, "Hats with a brim of at least three inches can significantly reduce UV exposure to the face and neck. Sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays are essential for protecting your eyes and the delicate skin around them."


Sun protective clothing is a crucial component of a comprehensive sun safety strategy. By providing continuous protection against harmful UV radiation, these garments reduce the risk of skin cancer, prevent premature aging, and ensure long-term skin health. Dermatologists like Dr. Elizabeth Hale and Dr. Howard Sobel advocate for the use of high-quality, UPF-rated clothing to safeguard your skin effectively.

Incorporate sun protective clothing into your daily routine, especially during outdoor activities. By choosing garments with a high UPF rating, quality fabrics, and proper coverage, you can enjoy the sun safely and stylishly. Remember to complement your clothing with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for the best protection against UV radiation. Your skin will thank you for the extra care and attention.