How To Use Clothing To Protect Your Girls From Sun Damage

Whether you're heading to the beach with the kids or just want to spend the afternoon in the park, you need to protect your children from sun exposure to avoid immediate problems like sunburn and long-term issues like skin cancer. Instead of trying to slather everybody with sunscreen from head to toe, try investing in some clothes that are designed to block UV rays so you only have a little exposed skin left to worry about. Find out how to please your fashion-conscious daughters while protecting them from the sun.

Aim for Dark Colors

It's common knowledge that you should dress your children in light colors during the summer to keep them from overheating, but this advice runs contrary to the facts regarding sun exposure. Bleached fibers like white cotton block a lot less sunlight from reaching the skin, while dark colors like black and navy absorb substantially more UV rays. If your child is dreading the idea of wearing black in full sun, at least stick with saturated colors like bold pink instead of going for white and pastels.

Shiny is Good

Do your daughters love sparkles, metallic prints, and shiny reflective fabrics? Let them indulge in their love of flashy clothing for the summer since reflective synthetic fabrics like rayon are more useful for preventing a sunburn. Of course, a sparkly outfit alone isn't enough to prevent a sunburn, but it does increase the efficiency of an outfit already designed for sun protection with a tight weave and fiber additives. Plus, letting your girls indulge in sparkly and shiny clothing is likely to encourage them to actually wear their protective outfits when heading out into the sun.

Check the Weave

The weave of the fabric itself is the biggest determinant of how well any piece of clothing will block sunlight. You can soak a gauze shirt in sunscreen and you'll still get a sun burn because the UV rays penetrate through the gaps between individual threads. Stretch a piece of fabric and hold it up to a bright light source like an uncovered lightbulb. If you can still make out the shape of the bulb from a few feet away, you're likely to get sunburned despite wearing that piece of clothing. Choose clothing with a tighter weave to get greater protection.

Look for Testing

Finally, look for specialty sun-protective clothing that has a UV blocking rating on it, and aim to outfit your kids with clothes that rank at least 30 on the scale. It's not enough to simply claim a number based on the weave or the additives mixed in with the fibers. Independently tested clothing is the only option reliable enough to make it worth skipping the sunscreen on covered skin.

Find options that fit each of these requirements from a girls clothing boutique near you to ensure that your girls will be protected from the sun.