What Is Actinic Keratosis? And Will UPF Apparel Help?

Rayward Apparel Hat And Gaiter

Actinic keratosis is not technically skin cancer, but is one of the most common pre-cancer signs. Like skin cancers, actinic keratosis is caused by exposure to UV radiation.

Spotting Actinic Keratosis

What Does It Look Like:

It may vary in appearance, but some of the most common signs are:

  • A small rough or dry patch of skin
  • Usually smaller in diameter than the approximate diameter of a quarter (about 1 inch)
  • Flat or slightly raised
  • Might be itching, crusting, or bleeding
  • A noticeably different color than the surrounding skin
  • Often found on head, face, and neck – areas where you experience the most UV exposure

What Causes Actinic Keratosis?

Like many skin related cancers and diseases, actinic keratosis is caused by UV radiation. Properly protecting yourself from UV rays will not only help reduce the likelihood of developing actinic keratosis, but other forms of skin cancer as well.

Exposure to UV radiation is cumulative over your lifetime. This means every bad sun burn growing up increases your likely hood of developing a skin cancer as an adult. For that reason it isn’t until adulthood that we see most skin cancers appear, but that doesn’t mean we can’t protect ourselves earlier in life. While actinic keratosis is usually found on people 40 and older, it can also appear on people much younger.

Preventing Actinic Keratosis

  • Keep your skin protected. If you’ll be out in the sun, use sunscreen or wear UPF apparel (UV protective clothing). Keep any exposed areas of skin protected from harmful UV rays.
  • Find shade, especially between the hours of 10am and 2pm when UV radiation is the most intense. We aren’t recommending you lock yourself indoors, just be smart and make sure you stay protected.
  • Don’t go tanning. Never. Tanning beds can cause just as much damage to your skin as the UV radiation from the sun. It’s just not worth it, regardless of how good you think you may look afterwards.
  • Do monthly skin checks. Know the ABC’s of skin cancer to locate suspicious spots and check for any changes monthly. If you find anything unusual, have a dermatologist check it out.

If You Think You Might Have It, See A Dermatologist

Rayward Apparel Hat And Gaiter

Actinic keratosis can look slightly different on everyone. Here at Rayward Apparel we pride ourselves on helping our customers prevent skin cancer with quality UPF apparel, but we are not medical professionals. If you think you might have it, our recommendation is always to see a professional to have it evaluated further. Left untreated it has about a 5-10% chance of developing into squamous cell carcinoma. While that might be a minimal risk, it’s still too high to leave to chance. Getting it evaluated by a dermatologist is always going to be your best bet.

How Rayward Apparel is Helping

All of our products are certified at UPF 50+, providing the best possible skin protection available. In addition to our commitment to high quality sun protective products, we have a vision of helping with the greater good. 5% of all company profits are donated to organizations dedicated to the research and treatment of skin cancers – now and forever. In addition we work diligently to help create awareness around the dangers of UV exposure while promoting a more healthy and active lifestyle.

Top 4 Tips For Preventing Skin Cancer On Your Nose And Face

Nose and Face Protection

Exposure to UV radiation (sunlight) is one of the top risk factors when it comes to skin cancer. This means keeping your skin protected from UV exposure is one of the best ways to prevent a future skin cancer diagnosis. At Rayward Apparel we believe your clothing should do more than just look and feel great, but also help protect your skin. With this in mind, we only carry products which have been certified at UPF 50 or greater while also guaranteeing comfort and quality.  However, certain parts of the body are harder to protect from UV rays than others. You can’t simply throw a UPF 50+ shirt over your face and walk around town. This is why, statistically speaking, skin cancer on the nose and face occurs more often than anywhere else on the body.

Preventing skin cancer on your nose and face is the same as anywhere else on your body – you simply need to keep it protected from UV exposure. Thankfully, there are some very easy ways to make sure you always have the proper face protection without looking like you’re about to rob a bank. Here are 5 tips and tricks to keeping your nose and face protected throughout the day:

Preventing Skin Cancer On Nose With Rayward Apparel Sun Hat

Wide Brim Sun Hats

Sun hats (also known as UPF 50 hats and bucket hats) with a wide brim will help keep your nose and face in the shade throughout the day. Make sure you find a sun hat that is not only certified at UPF 50+, but one that has a large enough brim to provide shade to your entire face for most of the day. Because of the low angle of the sun you may still need some face sunscreen in the early morning and late afternoon.

Neck Gaiters

Sun protective neck gaiters, also known as tube bandana’s, are one of the most versatile sun protective accessories you could ever own. This is especially true when it comes to trying to prevent skin cancer on your nose, face, and neck. Neck gaiters are designed to be worn around your neck, but are very stretchy and can be worn in a variety of ways. To keep your face covered, you simply pull the gaiter up over your nose and mouth. It’s lightweight and breathable so it won’t cause any discomfort, but will provide excellent sun protection. You can also adjust the gaiter to be worn as a balaclava to help keep your head AND face protected at the same time.   

Find Shade

Whenever possible, seek shade. If you’re at the beach, bring an umbrella so you can create your own shade. While this preventative practice is not specific to your nose and face, it’s always an easy and effective way of minimizing UV exposure.

Find A Quality Face Sunscreen

The tried and true method of sun protection – simply wear sunscreen. The difficult part about sunscreen is that you need to constantly reapply every two hours which can be difficult to do throughout the day. This is especially true if you are in and out of the sun all day, which can be a bothersome process. So while we typically recommend finding a quality sun hat or gaiter, sunscreen is always a great option.  There are plenty of quality sunscreens designed specifically to be applied on your face. These sunscreens are often more comfortable and won’t have the same torturous burning effect if it gets into your eyes.

ABCs Of Skin Cancer: Know The Signs For Early Detection

ABCs of Skin Cancer

Understanding the ABCs of Skin Cancer can help you determine what spots on your skin might be potentially cancerous. While it’s not a fool-proof method, it’s a great guideline to helping people understand some of the common characteristics of cancerous moles.

Exposure to UV radiation is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. Avoiding this exposure is key in keeping your skin healthy and cancer free. However, even for the sun protection professionals out there you still need to be diligent in checking yourself regularly for unusual spots on your skin. Skin cancer is an extremely treatable form of cancer, especially when discovered early. So while it’s important to always keep your skin protected with quality UPF 50+ gear, it’s just as important to understand your skin and the signs to look for.

We pride ourselves on producing high quality clothing that is as comfortable as it is protective. Unlike most other companies, all of our products are designed to block UV radiation and are certified at UPF 50+. We don’t claim to be dermatologists or skin care professionals, but aim to do everything we can to promote skin cancer awareness and safe skin health practices. With that in mind, we wanted to share one of the easy ways we’ve learned to check for potentially cancerous spots on the skin – The ABCs of Skin Cancer.

Skin Cancer ABCs

A: Asymmetry – Potentially cancerous moles are often asymmetrical with one half looking different than the other. This can be in shape or color. Pretend there is an invisible line down the middle and compare the two sides, healthy moles should be nearly identical.

B: Border – If a mole has blurry or uneven edges, that’s a bad sign. The edges of an early melanoma spot will be much less clear and uneven than that of a healthy mole.

C: Color – Potentially cancerous moles will have a wide variety of colors. They may even look like part of it is bruising. A healthy mole is uniform in color throughout.

D: Diameter – Melanomas are often larger than 6mm or ¼in (about the size of a pencil eraser).  While it’s not the case 100% of the time most healthy moles will be on the smaller side.

E: Evolving – Look for any spots that might be actively changing. If you notice a mole getting larger, changing in color, or really changing at all it’s important to get it checked. Regularly checking your skin will help with understanding what your spots look like so you can keep an eye on any that may be changing.

Getting It Evaluated Further

The ABCs of Skin Cancer are simply a helpful guideline, but it’s important to understand that every mole is different. A mole may only show one of the 5 signs, but we’d still recommend getting it checked out in those situations. And again, we are not skin care professionals here at Rayward Apparel – If you have any concerns about your skin we’d highly recommend you see a dermatologist to discuss it further. And if you don’t already have a dermatologist, it can’t hurt to schedule an appointment. Skin cancer can happen to anyone and catching it early is critical. So even if you have no concerns, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Why You Need A Sun Protection Neck Gaiter

Silhouette of Woman Needing Sun Protection Gaiter

Sun protection neck gaiters are one of our favorite outdoor accessories. So much so, in fact, that we’re reluctant to label them as “accessories” for fear the term diminishes their importance. Do you need a sun protection gaiter? Yes. Why do you need one? Glad you asked!

UPF Neck Gaiters Save Your Hide… Literally

Sun protection neck gaiters block UV rays from hitting the vulnerable parts of your face and neck. Without this protection, UVA and UVB rays will cause sunburn, early aging, sun spots and can ultimately lead to skin cancer. However, with a sun protection gaiter touting a UPF 50+ rating, over 98% of harmful UV rays will never reach the parts of your skin protected by its fabric.

UPF neck gaiters are great for necks because necks are an otherwise difficult, or at least inconvenient, area to protect. They are vulnerable, often exposed, and you can’t see them to ensure they’re protected! The same can be said for your ears and face. Fortunately, Rayward Apparel’s Del Mar neck gaiters can be pulled up over your mouth, nose and ears without exposing your neck. This is especially important on or near the water, such as when fishing.

Although applying sunscreen isn’t especially challenging, if you’re concerned that you aren’t doing it as properly or as often (every 2 hours minimum) as you should, then it’s best to try a new means of UV protection, such as a UPF neck gaiter. Your skin will thank you, and you’ll quickly realize that our UPF neck gaiters offer way more than UV protection.

Our Neck Gaiters Do More Than Block UV Rays

Sun protection neck gaiters, while designed first and foremost for UV protection, do much more.* For example, the soft fabric can be dipped in cool water and returned to your head or neck for a quick, refreshing cool down. The lightweight and breathable fabric is also moisture-wicking, so sweat will evaporate quickly to keep you dry and cool. Additionally, although the fabric is lightweight, it will still help you retain some of your body’s warmth on chilly days. This is because the air between the fabric and your skin will remain warmer than the air outside. Plus, there are additional benefits based on how you wear your gaiter, including as hairbands, wristbands and hat liners!

If you don’t yet have a sun protection gaiter, you’ll be excited to learn that Rayward Apparel’s Del Mar UPF 50+ neck gaiters are available NOW! They are everything you need from a UPF neck gaiter, and nothing you don’t! And remember, join our email list to be among the first to know about new UPF 50+ products from Rayward Apparel.

Rayward Apparel's Sun Protection Neck Gaiters

Need a refresher on how UV rays affect your skin? Check out the video below:

* One thing Rayward Apparel’s sun protection neck gaiters are not designed for is preventing the spread of disease. Our UPF neck gaiters have not been tested for their effectiveness at preventing the spread of disease, such as COVID19. Therefore, they should not be used as an alternative to any appropriately-rated face masks.

How Harmful Are UV Rays?

How Harmful Are UV Rays? Sun Over Hills

Our skin’s number one enemy is UV (ultraviolet) radiation, but just how bad is it? Like most things, there are a lot of misconceptions about sun protection and it really depends on length of exposure, but it’s proven to cause cancer and definitely something you should be protecting yourself from. Thankfully, most UV shirts for men and women do exactly that – keep you protected.

How & When Are People Exposed to UV Radiation?

The Sun and UV Damage

Women Tanning UV Exposure

The main source of UV radiation is the sun, which we are exposed to at different levels throughout the day. UV radiation from sun exposure does not penetrate past the skin, but can be extremely damaging and cause cancers which then permeate through the body. Look for products with a high SPF or UPF rating to determine the amount of UV protection a sunscreen or fabric provides.

The sun emits three types of UV radiation, but only two of them even reach our skin:

  • UVA: long wave ultraviolet waves. These do not cause sunburn, but are shown to damage the DNA of skin cells overtime and can lead to skin cancers overtime. Only broad spectrum sunscreens protect you from UVA rays in addition to UVB rays, but UV shirts for men and women with a high UPF rating always protect you from both.
  • UVB: short wave ultraviolet waves. These have more energy than UVA rays and damage the outer surface of your skin directly and are the reason you get a sunburn. Also, UVB rays are thought to be the leading cause of most skin cancers such as melanoma, basal and squamous cell skin cancer. 
  • UVC: The highest energy waves the sun emits, but these never reach our skin thanks to the interaction with our atmosphere. However, this is sometimes emitted through various man-made objects.

Tanning Beds and UV Exposure

The next most common exposure to UV is through tanning beds. While the amount of exposure depends on the duration and the specific lamp used, exposing yourself to unnecessary UV radiation should be avoided.


  • Black-light lamps
  • Mercury-vapor lamps (but these generally only have dangerous UV rays when broken)

UV Studies and Statistics Related

Skin Cancer and UV Exposure in the United States

Building representing US Skin Cancer Facts
  • 9,500 people in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer every day
  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer every hour
  • 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with UV exposure from the sun
  • The annual cost of treating skin cancer in the US is $8.1 Billion
  • 3.3 million people in the United States need skin cancer treatment annually

Link Between UV Exposure and Cancer in Men & Women

Certain cancer research organizations study and post the findings of the different causes of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and National Toxicology Program (NTP) are a couple of them. Below are a few of the many UV related causes that the IARC and NTP have linked to cancer:

  • Solar Radiation
  • Use of UV-emitting tanning devices and exposure to sunlamps/sunbeds
  • Broad-Spectrum UV radiation (including UVA, UVB, and UVC)

Summary of UV Exposure for Men & Women

UV exposure is not something you should take lightly. You should always keep your skin protected with either sunscreen or proper sun protective apparel if you are spending time outdoors.

You should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist immediately if you are concerned about your UV exposure and worried you might have developed skin cancer or have any concerning spots. The included video has a quick summary for things to look for if you are worried at all. Here at Rayward Apparel we are passionate about skin protection, but we are not skin cancer professionals and cannot give medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, it’s always best to consult with a doctor.

Protection with UV Shirts for Men & Women

We are committed to helping the battle against skin cancer. We make UV shirts for men and women, all of which have the highest possible UV protection rating, UPF 50+. Also, Rayward Apparel donates 5% of all company profits to our non-profit allies in the fight against skin cancer.

Source: American Cancer Society

Rayward Apparel Launches Its First UPF Performance Clothing Line

Rayward Apparel debuts new collection of sun protective clothing, compromising neither comfort nor performance in the process.

NEW ORLEANS, LA, March 26, 2020. With the launch of its new UV protective clothing line, Rayward Apparel sees a bright future. With a unique fabric utilizing bamboo’s natural properties, the company’s first UPF sun shirts blend comfort, performance and protection.

Founded in 2019, Rayward Apparel began with a simple mission of designing better UPF sun protection clothing. That mission quickly grew beyond apparel, however. “I wanted to start a company bigger than myself—one that could create a positive impact on as many lives as possible, while encouraging and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle,” says Devin Regan, Rayward Apparel’s founder. “Many apparel brands reinforce the ‘active’ component, but too few address health and the hidden dangers of UV exposure.”

A Wakeup Call No One Wants

Devin, a former collegiate track and field athlete at the University of Maryland (’09), spent hours training in the sun. More than a decade after graduating, he still enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle. However, this almost came to a sudden stop after a melanoma diagnosis at age 32. “The diagnosis was a wakeup call, and the quick discovery probably saved my life, but I knew I needed to do something to help prevent others from suffering a worse fate,” explains Devin. “My goal was simple: create the type of apparel I should have been wearing all along—one that protects as well as it performs.”

After thorough design and testing, Rayward Apparel’s debut line of performance sun protection is available for an exclusive pre-sale. The Sun Bound Collection, as its called, is available in three styles—short sleeve, long sleeve or hooded. Inspired by the company’s year-round sun chasing, the Sun Bound Collection is lightweight, ultra soft and, most importantly, protective. Rayward Apparel is finalizing production now and expecting the first batch of orders to ship out this summer.

“I’m unbelievably proud of the hard work and research that went into producing our first line of UPF apparel, but even more proud of the positive impact we hope to make as a business,” says Devin, alluding to Rayward Apparel’s commitment to donating 5% of all company profits to organizations researching and treating skin cancer.

About Rayward Apparel

Rayward Apparel believes staying protected shouldn’t mean staying indoors. Likewise, sun safety shouldn’t mean compromising comfort, style or performance. Focusing exclusively on UPF 50+ sun clothing, Rayward Apparel’s promise is simple: More Adventure. Less Exposure. Learn more at https://www.raywardapparel.com/

UPF Sun Hoodie in Tidal Blue

Are UPF Shirts Worth It?

Although this is a fairly vague question, it’s one we get asked often. If you are considering buying a quality UPF shirt with sun protection and asking if it’s worth it, our answer is always a resounding ‘YES’. Exposure to UV radiation is harmful to your skin and can lead to cancer, you should always do your best to stay protected.

However, our reasons why depend largely on what you are looking to get out of your UPF shirt. For example, whether you are buying it to stay safe from harmful UV rays, save money, or possibly both.

Health Benefits and Value

Doctor showing health benefits of sun protection

Alternative: Standard shirts

The primary function of a shirt for sun protection is to do exactly that – protect you from the sun. The reason UPF shirts exist at all is because the average cotton shirt has very little protective qualities. While it depends on a variety of factors, a standard shirt may have an average UPF rating of anywhere from 1-5. Although UPF is a little different from SPF, this is like protecting yourself with sunscreen having an SPF of anywhere from 1-5. That is certainly not a sunscreen you would use to protect yourself, therefore a shirt with that value is not something you should wear when outdoors. 

All Rayward Apparel products are UPF 50+. This provides ‘Excellent’ UV protection, allowing less than 1/50th of the sun’s harmful rays to penetrate the shirt. In summary, if you are often outdoors and want to prioritize your health a quality shirt for sun protection is certainly worth it. 

Alternative: Sunscreen

On the other hand, lets say your alternative is to simply stay shirtless and use sunscreen. From a skin protection standpoint, if you are using an SPF 50 sunscreen you are receiving the same protection as a UPF 50 shirt (make sure the sunscreen is always ‘broad-spectrum). However, to stay completely protected you need to make sure you re-apply your sunscreen at least every two hours. This time frame is even shorter when swimming or exercising. Sunscreen naturally fades and washes off, so reapplication is critical to maintain the proper level of protection. 

Alternatively, a shirt with sun protection is always going to be broad-spectrum, never needs re-application, and the UPF value won’t wash out. The downside is obviously that you need to wear a shirt, especially if it’s an extremely hot beach day. Luckily, while most sun shirts are extremely protective, they can also be lightweight and breathable allowing you to stay comfortable even on the hottest of days.

Cost Benefits and Value

UPF Shirts with Sun Protection Equal Cost Savings

From a cost perspective, a shirt for sun protection might appear to be more expensive up front, but you need to consider the long term benefits. 

Let’s say for example you play tennis, volleyball, or some other outdoor sport every Saturday. Let’s also say you are outside for a total of four hours each time. The recommended amount of sunscreen to cover your entire body is 1 ounce, and even the cheapest sunscreen can cost $1 – $2 per ounce. Assuming you are sweating, you will likely have to apply three total times to maintain a proper level of protection throughout the four hours. This would equate to using around $5 worth of sunscreen every Saturday.

Instead, A UPF protective shirt may cost you a total of $50 up front, but it will keep you covered for years to come. That means after about 10 times wearing a shirt with sun protection, or 2-3 months of only wearing it once a week, it will recoup its cost and then start saving you money on sunscreen moving forward. Keep in mind you will still need a minimal amount of sunscreen to protect any exposed areas. This will not only save you money, but a ton of trips to the convenience store as well. 

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