The Importance of Sun-Smart Clothing

In the arid climate of Mesa, Arizona, where the sun often blazes down relentlessly, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is not just a matter of comfort but a crucial step in preventing skin cancer. While sunscreen and seeking shade are common strategies, many people overlook the protective power of clothing. In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of sun-smart clothing, what to look for when choosing protective garments, and how to effectively shield yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, with insights from dermatologists in Mesa, Arizona.

Understanding the Risk: Skin Cancer and UV Radiation

Skin cancer is a prevalent concern globally, with over 5.4 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. UV radiation from the sun is a leading cause of skin cancer, including deadly melanoma. The sun emits two types of harmful UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature aging and contributing to skin cancer development. UVB rays primarily affect the outer layer of the skin, causing sunburn and increasing the risk of skin cancer.

The Role of Clothing in Sun Protection

While sunscreen provides a crucial barrier against UV radiation, clothing offers another layer of defense. Not all clothing, however, is created equal when it comes to sun protection. The effectiveness of a garment in blocking UV rays depends on factors such as fabric type, weave, color, and coverage.

Choosing Sun-Safe Clothing

When selecting clothing for sun protection, consider the following factors:

  1. Fabric: Opt for tightly woven fabrics with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. UPF indicates how effectively the fabric blocks UV radiation. Fabrics such as nylon, polyester, and denim offer excellent protection, while loosely woven fabrics like linen may allow UV rays to penetrate.
  2. Color: Dark or bright colors tend to offer better protection than lighter shades. This is because darker colors absorb more UV radiation, whereas lighter colors may allow more penetration.
  3. Coverage: Choose clothing that provides ample coverage for the skin, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide-brimmed hats. Additionally, consider garments with built-in UPF, which offer added convenience and peace of mind.
  4. Fit: Loose-fitting clothing may be more comfortable in hot weather, but it can also allow UV rays to reach the skin. Opt for snug-fitting garments that cover the skin without being restrictive.

Practical Tips for Sun-Smart Dressing

Incorporating sun-smart clothing into your wardrobe doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some practical tips to help you dress for sun protection:

  1. Layer Up: Layering lightweight, UPF-rated clothing allows you to adjust your level of coverage throughout the day. Start with a long-sleeved shirt as a base layer and add a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for added protection.
  2. Accessorize Wisely: Don’t forget about accessories like scarves, shawls, and umbrellas, which can provide additional coverage when outdoors. Look for accessories made from UPF-rated fabrics for maximum sun protection.
  3. Plan Ahead: Check the UV index before heading outdoors and dress accordingly. On days when UV levels are high, opt for clothing with higher UPF ratings and seek shade whenever possible.
  4. Invest in Quality: While sun-protective clothing may require a slightly higher investment upfront, it pays off in the long run by providing reliable protection and reducing the need for frequent reapplication of sunscreen.


In Mesa, Arizona, where the sun’s intensity is a constant concern, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is paramount. By incorporating sun-smart clothing into your daily routine and following the guidance of dermatologists, you can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Remember to choose clothing with UPF ratings, opt for darker colors and ample coverage, and consult with a dermatologist for personalized recommendations. With the right clothing and sun protection strategies, you can enjoy the beauty of Mesa while safeguarding your skin for years to come.

 MON  7am - 5:30pm
 TUE  7am - 5:30pm
 WED  7am - 5:30pm
 THU  7am - 5:30pm
 FRI  7am - 5:30pm
 SAT  8am - 12:00pm
 SUN  Closed