You don’t have to spend much time with the Rayward Apparel Team to realize that we’re big fans of sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreen is a critical part of sun safety, and we use it to complement the protection offered by our SPF shirts for men/women. However, sunscreen isn’t perfect, and there are many reasons we prefer SPF apparel, whenever possible. Continue below for more on what is bad about sunscreen, from application issues to ingredient concerns. At the same time, we’ll examine if those same issues exist with SPF shirts for men/women.
Marketing Gimmicks and SPF
Not every sunscreen is guilty of this, but far too many rely on gimmicks and misleading labels. Our main point of criticism is in SPF ratings. In sunscreen, most dermatologists recommend an SPF of 30-50. However, since you still need to reapply after 1-2 hours, there isn’t much benefit to going above SPF 50. A higher SPF isn’t necessarily bad for you, but misleading labeling often portrays them as being safer. An SPF 100 sunscreen, for instance, still needs to be reapplied as frequently as SPF 30 or SPF 50 lotion. It will probably cost you more, however. Speaking of cost…
Sunscreen is Expensive
Good sunscreen is expensive, often around $2-3 per ounce. And prices only go up as you include more criteria, such as non-greasy application, water resistance and reef-safe ingredients. Consider that it takes about 1-2 ounces of sunscreen to properly cover your exposed areas of your skin. Now remember that you need to reapply every 1-2 hours, based on activity. Given that, even a half-day at the beach could require an entire 8 oz bottle of sunscreen per person! Of course, the more of your body that is protected by UV protective clothing, the less sunscreen you need.
Sunscreen is Too Greasy
It may be a necessary evil, but it’s a common complaint that sunscreen leaves your skin feeling oily or greasy. Plus, with some sunscreens the same thing that makes them greasy also causes them to stain your clothes. Fortunately, there are now more sunscreens that both feel dry and don’t stain, but this is still a common problem with sunscreen. UV protective apparel, on the other hand, will of course not make your skin feel greasy. Plus, if it’s made with quality fabric blends, like the natural cottons and viscose from bamboo used in our Sun Bound collection, then the finished product is extremely soft, comfortable and lightweight!
Challenges Applying Sunscreen
Another big problem with sunscreen is in how it’s applied. With lotions, you may need the help of someone else to properly cover your hard-to-reach areas. Meanwhile, with spray lotions, you have to be careful not to overspray, contact your eyes or breathe in the fumes. Plus, for all varieties of sunscreen, you should apply 15 to 30 minutes prior to going out into the sun. This requires either waiting or a bit of planning ahead. Also, you’ll need to reapply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours, and possibly more often if you’re sweating or spending time in the water. With SPF shirts, on the other hand, your protection is instant and never lapses!.
Concerning Sunscreen Ingredients
Our final gripe with sunscreen regards ingredients. It seems like new research comes out weekly raising concerns about the safety of certain sunscreen chemicals, or their environmental impact. Some sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into your skin, and there’s much to learn about related health consequences, especially with children. As of now, the FDA isn’t saying sunscreen is unsafe, but they are requesting more research on the potential dangers of absorbing sunscreen chemicals through your skin. If this concerns you, choose a topical mineral sunscreen that sits on the surface of your skin. Additionally, mineral sunscreens (aka physical or natural sunscreens) don’t use ingredients linked to coral bleaching, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. If you think this is complicated and leaves too much to chance, then rely on UV protective clothing as much as possible. With UPF clothing, you don’t have to worry about chemicals being absorbed through your skin or damaging marine life.
Sunscreen vs SPF Shirts
Based on the above, you hopefully understand why we prefer SPF shirts for men/women instead of sunscreen, if possible. At the same time, we’re realistic and recognize that you can’t cover your entire body in UV protective clothing. Therefore, you should still make sunscreen (or a safe alternative to sunscreen) a regular part of your sun safety routine, along with sunglasses and head protection, but do so knowing how to avoid the worst sunscreens.