Cases of melanoma continue to rise even as the cases of many other cancer types are in decline. If one is seeking safe and comfortable protection from the sun’s rays, should they opt for UV swim shirts or sunscreen as the better alternative?
From the simple freedom of movement standpoint, sunscreen comes closest to acting as a second skin. There are no clothing-drag issues while in the water, and no layers to trap heat or restrain movement while on land. It is possible to forget there is any substance on the skin at all.
When it comes to covering all skin surfaces, UV clothing cannot compete with sunscreen. If used conscientiously, lotion can cover ears, hands and be applied partially underneath clothes for a continuous barrier. Even with long-sleeve shirts, hands are not covered and skin around the waist is often accidentally exposed.
The safety of the method used is also a factor in making a choice. Research has shown that popular sunscreens contain toxins and other chemicals that can affect hormone production. On the other hand, swim shirts treated to provide UV protection do not pass these ingredients on to the body.
Swim shirts leave no doubt that sun protection is in place. However, if lotion washes off the skin, there is little or no indication to the user that they are at risk. This is particularly important when monitoring children playing in the sun.
While hot days and athletic activity can make a shirt uncomfortable to wear, cool days and cool water make the extra layer a welcome insulator. The material dries very quickly, so the chilling affect of evaporation is brief. These shirts can actually be worn throughout the day.
Moisturizers and vitamins can be added to sunscreen and provide a benefit to skin in addition to the barrier to the sun’s rays. These include ingredients to help heal skin that has already been sun damaged. Skin lotions can certainly be applied under a shirt, but this involves an extra step and expense.
Instructions on sunscreen often tell the user to apply the product generously over exposed skin. With this approach, families can empty containers at a rapid rate. Swim shirts eliminate the constant need for more lotion and can last as long as a regular shirt with average use and proper care.
For UV protection with the least risk and greatest effectiveness, swim shirts are a better solution. At the same time, a lotion can cover all skin surfaces and combine protection with skin care. Given a goal of speed, economy, and no exposed areas of skin, a combination of both with some overlap is the top choice for a healthy day in the sun.