Don’t Get Burned!

Check out these sun-protective clothes for you and your family that have a seal of approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation.


Virtually any family vacation taken at this time of the year involves plenty of frolicking in the sun. Often, that means exposing yourself and your kids’ skin to a lot more bright, summer sun than is good for their skin. And that can mean worse health care problems than a fun-crippling sunburn.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. While regular and liberal applications of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 can keep the red off your skin, it is easy to rub, sweat or wash off. And the types of fabrics most likely to be worn on sunny days—light-colored, lightweight and loosely woven—offer the least protection. For instance, a white cotton T-shirt will have a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of about 7, compared to about 50 for a black one. But who wants to wear black on the beach?

With that in mind, the Skin Cancer Foundation has begun offering its official Seal of Recommendation to specially treated, sun-protective clothing with a UPF of at least 30—which means the fabric will allow only 1/30 of the sun’s UV rays to get through. The foundation considers a UPF of 50 or better to be excellent. Note that UPF is not the same as the SPF standard familiar to sunscreen users—that figure measures the amount of time it will take sun-exposed skin to redden. 


Sun protective clothing began in Australia, and so did Coolibar, which has a wide and colorful line of men’s, women’s and kids clothing, hats and swimwear made from its SUNTECT fabrics, which all offer a UPF rating of 50+. This Embroidered Sun Tunic ($79.95) is made from Coolibar’s lightest weave, and features underarm vents and a blossom pattern on a white background. Top it off with a Tuscon Sun Hat ($39.95) made from a breathable straw braid with a crepe sash and moisture-wicking headband. The company also has golf- and spa-wear lines. 

Columbia Sportswear

Venerable Columbia Sportswear’s UPF 40-rated Omni-Shade Tamiami Long Sleeve Shirt comes in eight colors and offers front, back and underarm venting, as well as Moni-Dry moisture-wicking technology, for $39.95. Columbia offers more than 140 styles of Skin Cancer Foundation-approved Omni-Shade clothing for men, women and children, with UPF ratings ranging from 30 to 50.

DaRiMi Kidz

DaRiMi Kidz is another maker of sun-protective clothing with roots in Australia as well as the United States—well, one of the two mothers who founded the company is from Down Under, at any rate. The company has two lines, both aimed exclusively at children and teens: its own UPF 50+ Sunbusters swimwear and hats, and Seafolly Girl, an Australian company whose designs it distributes in the United States. Through the month of June, DaRiMi is celebrating Sun Busters recent award of the Skin Cancer Foundation seal by donating $20 of the $45.99 retail price of its two bestselling items—the All-In-One Combination Long Sleeve Swimsuit in Watermelon/Lime or Slate Grey/Titanium—to the foundation. 


Girls4Sport focuses on women aged 20 to 40 and their children (and really, women of all ages) who live an active, outdoor lifestyle. The company’s UPF 50+ Rashguard line of swimwear and activewear was recently augmented by the quick-drying Supra-Dry line, designed to be worn in or out of the water. This Cross-Train SupraDry Sport Zip Top in black/periwinkle lists for $54. All of the company’s rashguard tops have a shelf bra built in for comfort and light support.

Solar Protective Factory

Solar Protective Factory has been making sun protective clothing for more than a dozen years, and in that time they’ve managed to impress organizations ranging from the Skin Cancer Foundation to NASA. The company points out that to be certified as sun protective, clothing has to be tested after being washed and dried 40 times. It does not, however, have to be uncomfortable or expensive. This all-cotton SPF Long-Sleeve T-Shirt is certified to a UPF rating of 40-50+, comes in 18 colors and costs $17.95. It is available in sizes from small to 3x, and the company sells UPF clothing in sizes up to 6x. 

Themes: Family Travel

User Comments

I had no idea regular T-shirts offered so little UV protection! I recently purchased some Coolibar swim shirts for my family before our trip to Mexico and I must say they're great. The fabric is very soft and light-weight providing good comfort. They're also quick-dry, which is great for the beach.

Thanks for sharing Hi Rhonda -- I'm very sorry to hear about your husband, but thanks so much for sharing your additional resource for our readers who may be looking for UV protective clothing. Best, Donna

Another Sun Protection source Thank you for posting about the need for good sun protection. I lost my 32-year-old husband to skin cancer and due to this experience and having to raise three young boys on my own, I turned my whole life into helping raise awareness about the sun. I also started a company called UV Skinz ( We manufacture and sell UV protective swim shirts and accessories for the entire family. We actually looked into getting the 'seal of approval' from the Skin Cancer Foundation but it was way too expensive and didn't hold as much value to us as the certification process that ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) does with our garments. In honor of my late husband's birthday (which is tomorrow - he would have been 39!), we are running a great special right now on our web site. Buy any product and get a FREE swim shirt. There are many styles and sizes to choose from. Thank you again for writing about this much needed and highly misunderstood subject. Regards, Rhonda Sparks

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