We love sunscreen and we love sun shirts, but which one is better? Generally, a combination of both will be your best option. There are always going to be parts of your body which will need protection that a shirt won’t cover. For instance, your face, hands, neck and legs. However, for areas like your chest, back, and arms, UPF shirts are a better option for a few reasons:
1. UPF Shirts provide FULL coverage so you can’t miss a spot
Rubbing in sunscreen over your entire body is not always a thorough process and spots are often missed, resulting in red streaks and blotches on your skin in areas which were accidentally unprotected. And unless you have the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast, it’s nearly impossible to get your entire back without recruiting someone else to help. A sun protective shirt, on the other hand, eliminates both of these issues, ensuring you are fully protected everywhere the shirt sits.
2. No reapplication needed
Sunscreens often have a water resistance rating listed on the bottle, stating the amount of time you should be protected regardless of the circumstances. However, this does not guarantee you are fully covered for that length of time, especially if you are swimming or sweating. At a minimum, regardless of your activity, you should be re-applying every two hours—which is often forgotten or ignored. Also, re-application is never an easy process. Once you’re covered in sand or start sweating, it’s never easy to completely dry off to properly reapply sunscreen. A UPF shirt avoids both of these issues because it doesn’t ever need reapplication—so have fun in the sun without the need to strictly monitor your exposure time.
3. Sunscreen costs add up quickly, so UPF shirts pay for themselves
To cover their entire body, most adults need to apply approximately 1oz of sunscreen. The average cost of 1oz of sunscreen is around $3 / oz, so about $3 per application. If you are out in the sun for 6 hours, those three applications throughout the day cost about $9 for just one day of proper protection. A high quality UPF 50+ shirt will cost more up front, but will last a LONG time and quickly prove its value as it allows you to use merely a fraction of the sunscreen you would otherwise use every time you’re out in the sun.
4. UPF Shirts are always broad spectrum, providing full protection
It’s important that whatever you decide to do, you protect yourself with a broad spectrum option. Any sunscreen that does not provide broad spectrum coverage is only protecting you from half of the sun’s damaging UV rays. Unlike sunscreen, sun protective fabric is always broad spectrum.
5. Ease of coverage – UPF Shirts are quicker and easier to put on
With a sun protective shirt, you can immediately get proper coverage. You won’t need to recruit your friend to get your back, and you can get out the door faster. This means you get onto whatever fun activity you had planned without having to stop and lather up. We still recommend you take a moment to hit any exposed skin with sunscreen, but putting on a sun shirt is certainly easier and faster than trying to get proper coverage on your back, chest, and arms.
Rayward Apparel focuses exclusively on UPF 50+ apparel, specializing in sun protective shirts that are as comfortable as they are protective. Shop Rayward Apparel today!
Our vision sees through the sun’s glare and extends far beyond clothing. Dedicated to supporting the fight against skin cancer, Rayward Apparel donates 5% of all profits to charities with a similar vision to ours. Learn more about how we give back.