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How to choose effective sun gloves and why you should

Sun exposure poses multiple health risks, ranging from painful sunburns to skin cancer. Your hands are particularly at risk for sun damage due to the amount of sun exposure they receive. Wearing sun gloves is one way to prevent sunburn on your hands and lower your risk of getting skin cancer.

How do sun gloves protect your hands?

Sun protective gloves are made from fabric that blocks ultraviolet radiation from the sun more effectively than typical fabric. To determine how much protection a fabric provides, look at the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) listed on a piece of apparel.

Ultraviolet protection factor

The UPF rating indicates how much UV radiation can pass through a piece of fabric and potentially harm your skin. Fabrics that have a UPF of at least 30 qualify for The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation. The Foundation awards this seal to products that meet its standards for effective and safe sun protection.

Check the label on any gloves you are considering purchasing for a UPF rating. The higher the rating, the more protective the gloves should be. Fabrics with a UPF between 30 and 49 provide very good protection. A UPF of 50 or more indicates excellent protection. (All Clair Obscur products are being developed to be rated UPF 50!)

Why should you wear sun gloves?

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying sunscreen to all exposed skin any time you go outside, putting sunscreen on your hands isn't always realistic.

Sunscreen can make your hands slippery, which can be problematic if you’re performing an activity that requires a firm grip (like climbing, biking, hiking, golfing, driving, or working outdoors). Additionally, because we use our hands so much, it’s easier for sunscreen to rub off.

You need to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours for it to be effective — and possibly more often on your hands, since you are more likely to rub or wash off the sunscreen. If you are working outside for a long period or going on a long hiking or biking trip, it may not be easy for you to reapply and keep your hands protected the entire time.

Sun gloves do not interfere with your grip, rub off, or need to be reapplied. 

What should you consider when choosing gloves?

There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a pair of gloves for sun protection.

Fingerless versus full finger

Fingerless gloves can be useful for activities where you need to be able to touch surfaces or objects with your fingertips, such as using a touchscreen. (They’re  also an ideal option if you want to reduce exposure to UV light while getting a gel manicure!) Fingerless gloves are also cooler than full-finger gloves, making them a good choice for hot days. 

Fingers are not as exposed to the sun as the back of the hands for many activities, but some activities, such as hiking with poles, frequently result in burned fingers. Generally, fingered gloves provide the most protection, so if you don't have a specific reason to prefer fingerless, you may want to default to this option.

Palm type

Certain activities, such as taking a stroll on the beach, do not require sun gloves that are particularly grippy. However, if you’re biking, golfing, driving, hiking, or doing some other activity where you need to hold on to something, opt for gloves with silicon, rubber, or leather grips. If your palms will not be exposed to the sun, try a palmless variety, which will provide more ventilation.

Weight and durability

Heavier gloves usually last longer and hold up better to intense activities, such as hiking with poles or performing outdoor work. Lighter materials tend to wear out sooner but may be more comfortable and breathable.

Wicking ability

If you will be wearing your gloves in hot weather or while doing activities where you expect to sweat or get wet, a fabric that wicks away moisture is ideal. Moisture-wicking fabric keeps you more comfortable and maintains the effectiveness of the material by allowing moisture to evaporate. Gloves made from a wicking material can even withstand a dip into cool water!

Where can you get sun gloves?

Clair Obscur is designing beautiful and functional accessories, sunscreen, and clothing, including sun gloves. We strive to launch products so effective, elevated, and effortless that they will change your relationship with sun care. Visit us to find out more.