FYI, You Need More Than Sunscreen In Your Arsenal This Summer To Protect Against UV Rays

The sun is back, and it's back with a vengeance. With summer in full swing, the sun has returned to its rightful place high up in the sky, which just means that it's poised to wreak havoc on our skin. Even though our bodies require a moderate amount of sunlight every day, it's no secret that prolonged exposure to the sun's UV rays can be incredibly detrimental, especially in the summer when their intensity is at its peak (via American Cancer Society). You ought to be more mindful of how you're protecting your skin from those harmful UV rays, lest you risk your susceptibility to skin cancer, painful sunburns and blisters, and a host of skin-related issues.

Sunscreen is your best bet when it comes to safeguarding your complexion, but broad-spectrum sunscreen is important, folks. And while your first instinct may be to pick up a sunscreen with a higher SPF, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's the fullest protection. If you want to up the ante and additional UV protection other than SPF, you may want to look into sporting UPF clothing and using products you already have in your closet, like sun hats, sunglasses, and a cute umbrella, of course. As dermatologist, Dr. Amy Kassouf, points out to Cleveland Clinic, "You have options when it comes to protecting your skin from sun damage. You don't have to pick just one, either. If you use them all, in fact, they can help protect you better."

Consider wearing UPF clothing

Technology has advanced enough that scientists have found a way to embed UV protection in clothing, and cute ones at that. In case you haven't heard, UPF, or Ultraviolet-Protection Factor, clothing now exists. As Dr. Aanand Geria, a board-certified dermatologist, explained to CNN, UPF refers to "a garment's ability to block your skin from all UV rays." Unlike SPF which only gauges UVB protection, UPF offers an all-around defense against both UVA and UVB rays.

UPF clothing is relatively new, so navigating the available selections on the market may be tricky. As a guide, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing UPF garments with a UPF rating of 30 to 49, but those over 50 are ideal. To better illustrate, a UPF rating of 50 means the clothing only allows 2 percent of the sun's rays to pass through. So the higher the UPF rating a piece of clothing has, the harder it will be for UV light to come in contact with your skin when worn.

While a growing number of brands are already producing UPF clothing, from casual dresses to athleisure, they can still be prohibitively expensive to some. The good news is that most of the clothes you already own likely offer some UPF. If you can't shop for special UPF clothing just yet, the foundation recommends opting for loose-fitting clothes with tightly woven fabric, since they are more capable of protecting your skin from UV rays. 

Make sure to whip out your umbrella, sun hats, and sunnies, too

Apart from slathering sunscreen all over your face and body and wearing UPF clothing, you can also enjoy more protection from your wide sun hats, sunglasses, and umbrella. Not only can these elevate your hot-weather fashion game, but they're tried and tested tools for UV protection.

For instance, the large sunglasses you love wearing may shield your eyes and the sensitive skin around them from the harsh sunlight, so long as they have the UV protection sticker. Dr. Rebecca Taylor, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, told Time about how you're supposed to shop for sunnies. The Nashville-based ophthalmologist explained, "The bigger the better. With little, round John Lennon glasses, you get scattered rays coming in from all sides."  

Meanwhile, Australia's Cancer Council recommends sporting bucket hats and hats with a wide brim since they do a better job of protecting your head, eyes, and ears. As for the umbrella? Beach umbrellas offer you enough shade, but be sure to wear sunscreen, too, since it can't do all the work.