'So easy, no need to reapply': Why you should wear UPF sun-protective clothing this summer

UPF clothing can add an extra layer of sun protection this summer, shop stylish version like this Columbia shirt (Photo: Columbia, Art: Yahoo Lifestyle photo-illustration)

One of the best parts of summer is getting outdoors and basking in the sun, but as we all know, this can be detrimental to your skin without proper protection.

Although you should never forgo sunscreen, one way you can protect yourself this summer is to wear UPF Clothing. Whether your plans include a hike, a kayaking trip, camping or simply spending prolonged time outside, UPF clothing is specifically designed with sun-protective fabric. It is rated according to a UPF system which is similar to how sunscreen is rated using SPF. To explain further, we consulted Dr. Ellen Marmur of Marmur Medical who is a leading dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon and expert in the field to share more insight into this growing UPF clothing market.

What’s the difference between an SPF rating and a UPF rating?

“Both SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) are standards used to measure sunburn protection,” Marmur explains to Yahoo Lifestyle. “SPF, the standard used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreens, has been around for many years. The UPF system is relatively new and was created specially for sun protective fabrics. At first, American sun protective fabrics were rated using the SPF standard until the FTC finalized the UPF standard we have today. Use of the UPF standard is voluntary so some sun protective fabric manufactures still use the SPF system.”

Does UPF clothing really work?

“While technically all clothing can be considered sun-protective if it covers up the skin, sun protection clothing carries a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating that's designed to provide more protection. Just like SPF in sunscreen, the numbers range for UPF in clothing, in this case from 15 to 50-plus.”

Would you recommend wearing UPF clothing to protect against the sun?

“Yes! It is an extra layer of protection which is important. Plus it’s so easy—no need to reapply.”

Thankfully, there’s plenty of stylish UPF clothing as well as basics on the market for both men and women. Shop our favorites below!

Columbia Women’s UPF 50 Freezer Maxi Dress

Columbia Women’s UPF 50 Freezer Maxi Dress (Photo: Zappos)

Wear this stylish maxi dress all summer long. Whether you have a barbecue on the books or going to a Memorial Day picnic, this dress will keep your skin protected and you looking chic too.

Shop it: $45 (was $60), zappos.com

Lilly Pulitzer Women’s UPF 50+ Sophie Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Women’s UPF 50+ Sophie Dress (Photo: Amazon)

This bright and colorful Lilly Pulitzer print exudes summertime dreams and while the boatneck silhouette is conservative, it’s still elegant for a multitude of occasions. Boatnecks are also a Meghan Markle favorite!

Shop it: $138, amazon.com

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Beach Cover-Up Dress

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Beach Cover-Up Dress (Photo: Amazon)

If you live near a beach, you know how critical it is to have a dress you can just throw on and head outdoors with. This striped number is so soft and comfy, you’ll forget you’re even wearing a dress!

Shop it: $63, amazon.com

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Sun Wrap

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Sun Wrap (Photo: Amazon)

This is one of those easy breezy wraps you can just throw on with a dress, skirt or pair of jeans and a T-shirt. It’s so comfortable, but versatile too.

Shop it: $75, amazon.com

Baleaf Women’s UPF 50+ Sun Protection T-Shirt

Baleaf Women’s UPF 50+ Sun Protection T-Shirt (Photo: Amazon)

If you need a simple basic tee with UPF protection, this is for you. It’s also the best seller in Amazon’s women’s outdoor recreation shirts category.

Shop it: $16 to $18, amazon.com

Columbia UPF 50 PFG Tidal Deflector Long Sleeve Shirt

Columbia UPF 50 PFG Tidal Deflector Long Sleeve Shirt (Photo: Columbia)

This is easily our favorite UPF shirt find this season. Available for both men and women, this funky shirt comes in five different colored gradients. Wear it during outdoor activities or while you hit different music festivals this summer. It’s a subdued take on the rapidly growing tie-dye fashion trend.

Shop it (women): $42 (was $55), columbia.com

Shop it (men): $49 (was $65), columbia.com

Vapor Apparel Men’s UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection Performance Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Vapor Apparel Men’s UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection Performance Long Sleeve T-Shirt (Photo: Amazon)

With over 2,800 near-perfect reviews, Amazon shoppers say it has a perfect fit, comfortable and stylish.

Shop it: $20, amazon.com

Patagonia Men’s 50+ UPF Sol Patrol Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt

Patagonia Men’s 50+ UPF Sol Patrol Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt (Photo: Amazon)

As one customer shared, “Great outdoor adventure shirt that can also do a nice dinner.” Shop the shirt in four different colors.

Shop it: $79, dickssportinggoods.com

The editors at Yahoo Lifestyle are committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. At times, we may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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