Preventative Tips, Sun Safety, Wellbeing

Preventing skin cancer through sun protective clothing

Why sun protective clothing should be part of your wardrobe

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 07/04/20
Sun protective clothing

This feature is brought to you by Solbari - specialists in UPF clothing

We all know to slap on the sunscreen and slip on a hat and clothing whenever we’re out in Australia’s harsh sunlight, but did you know that at least 20% of UV rays can still penetrate through many fabrics? In fact research shows that ordinary clothing and hats may be equivalent to wearing SPF5 sunscreen1.

Which means that, even when you think you’re covering up, your skin may still being damaged - which in turn can increase your risk of getting melanoma or other types of skin cancer. That’s very concerning when Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world – and two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.2

Sun hats can help prevent skin ageing

Above: Sun hats as the best defence to help prevent skin ageing.

How does sun protective clothing help prevent skin cancer?

Around 90% of skin cancers result from over-exposure to the sun1, so medical experts recommend high UPF sun protective clothing and sun hats as the best defence to help prevent skin ageing, skin cancer and melanoma.

While sunscreen is an effective way to protect yourself from harmful UV radiation, it’s considered a last resort (i.e., when you’re unable to block the sun’s rays with a wide-brimmed hat and clothing, or by staying in the shade).

Wear sun protective clothing

Above: Sun protective clothing should at least block 98% of UV radiation.

What does UPF mean?

A Unique Protection Factor (UPF) rating is used to measure how much UV radiation penetrates a fabric. Specialist sun protective clothing should have a UPF rating of 50+ which is the highest sun protective rating available – and means that at least 98% of UV radiation is blocked.

To be effective, sun protection clothing and sun hats should provide excellent skin coverage and utilise fabrics which are lightweight and breathable so that they’re comfortable to wear in hot, sunny conditions.

Solbari is an award-winning Australian specialised sun protection brand, with customers in over 75 countries. They offer a range of high quality, breathable, sun care clothing and accessories which includes UPF50+ sun protective clothing, broad brim sun hats, accessories and SPF50+ sunscreens. To find out more, check out their website at

People with fair skin are at high risk of getting melanoma

Above: If you are fair skinned you are in high risk of getting melanoma.

Who should wear high UPF clothing – and when?

People with a fair, pale or freckled complexion and red or blond hair are considered to be most at risk, but in fact, anyone can get melanoma or other skin cancers (check your skin cancer risk here). If your skin is regularly exposed to the sun or sunbeds, you’ve experienced sunburn, or you have a personal or family history of skin cancer, you also have an increased risk.

Wearing high sun protection clothing is recommended for anyone who is likely to be out in the sun for any length of time, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm during daylight savings months. It’s very popular with athletes, golfers, boaties, farmers and others who work or play in the sun regularly – and for those who simply wish to cover up and protect their skin while outside.

Worried you might have skin cancer? Here’s what to do...

Two out of three Australians will get skin cancer in their lifetime1, so don’t wait until the signs and symptoms become more obvious before having your skin and moles checked.

The earlier skin cancer such as melanoma is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully. So if you’re concerned about a suspicious mole, call us on 1800 665 362 and we’ll make a plan to help you.

Sources: 1. 2. Melanoma Institute Australia:

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