With summer well under way, we should all be diligently slathering ourselves with sunscreen—arguably one the most important travel accessories. But if you aren’t taking care of your skin to protect against the risk of skin cancer, then at least do so for vanity’s sake: About 90 percent of visible skin aging is caused by harmful UV rays from the sun. Plus, with a growing number of brands designing wearable, chic 'UPF' clothing, it’s easier than ever to cover up.
According to Dr. Roy Geronemus, director of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York who counts Drew Barrymore as one of his clients, choosing the right clothing can be key when it comes to protecting yourself against the sun’s rays. “I routinely recommend sun-protective clothing to my clients to protect against sunburns, minimize the risk of skin cancer, and prevent photoaging,” says Geronemus. “The bottom line is, there is a real value with these items, and they are underutilized.”
While the Skin Cancer Foundation tells Condé Nast Traveler that clothing is generally the best means of sun protection, it can be difficult to pinpoint just how protective that dress or t-shirt is simply by looking at it. Holding it up to the sun will help show how much visible light passes through, but not harmful UV radiation. So take note that sun-protective clothing is rated according to UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor, which quantifies how effectively a piece of clothing shields against the sun, and look out for the UPF label: based on the content, weight, color, and construction of the fabric, it indicates just how much UV can penetrate the clothing. (A UPF rating of 50 can block about 98 percent of UV rays.)
Here, our picks of some of the best brands out there....