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Wearable beauty as part of a sensitive skin care routine

Sensitive skin care doesn’t have to mean staying inside on sunny days, watching through the (UV-tinted) windows as the rest of the world enjoys the beautiful weather.

If you have sensitive skin, you can find ways to protect yourself from the sun's rays in style.

Practice sensitive skin care by dressing properly

Beyond the all-important sunscreen, show off your style while forming smart skin-care habits. Hats, scarves, and sunglasses are an often-overlooked yet crucial aspect of sun protection. In the world of sun protection, there are two labels that matter for your sensitive skin care: SPF and UPF.

Sun Protection Factor

An SPF rating on sunscreens and cosmetics describes the product's ability to protect your skin against the sun's ultraviolet B rays. These are the rays that cause sunburn and photodamage. Essentially, SPF measures how long you can bask in the sun's rays before you begin to turn red.

For example, an SPF rating of 50 means that wearers are protected 50 times longer than they would be if they weren’t wearing sunscreen. If your skin is particularly susceptible to damage due to a fair complexion, that amount of time will be shorter than if your skin has a darker tone.

Ultraviolet Protection Factor

Wearable protection is rated on the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) scale. This scale measures the amount of UVA and UVB rays that can reach the skin through the clothing material. A UPF 50 fabric, for instance, only allows 2% (1/50th) of the sun's radiation to penetrate the material, blocking the other 98% completely.

Look for materials that support sensitive skin care

Choosing appropriate clothing for sun protection doesn't have to mean heavy or unattractive materials; instead, look for these qualities:

UPF labels

Clothing lines are beginning to provide UPF labels on their products, a boon to your skin care practices. UPF ratings can appear on the hang tags or online descriptions. Choosing UPF clothing means you’ll be sure that you’re protected from the sun.

Color

Darker colors tend to absorb more UV radiation before it can get to your skin. However, if you choose UPF-rated clothing, you don’t have to worry too much about colors. As these materials are tested in a lab to provide the same UPF rating, they will provide you with consistently superior sun protection.

Materials

Canvas, wool, denim, or synthetic fibers provide powerful protection against the sun's UV rays. Although it may seem counterintuitive to wear heavier fabrics on warm days, thin or loosely woven materials allow much more radiation through to your skin. If you can see light through the fabric, the light can get through to your skin underneath.

If wearing heavier materials is less than appealing, shiny fabrics, such as polyester and silks, also can act as excellent protection, as they reflect the radiation away from your body. These materials are often also lighter in weight. Some new fabrics are treated with chemicals to raise the UPF rating with absorbent materials or dyes.

Additionally, the natural lignins in unbleached cottons, such as linen, absorb UV radiation, even though these materials are typically lighter in color.

Coverage & fit

Long pants and long-sleeved shirts deliver better sun protection than tank tops and shorts. In the hot summer months, people with sensitive skin care needs can be comfortable while getting full coverage by wearing outfits made of lighter fabrics, such as linen or silks.

Along the same lines, choose loose-fitting apparel with a tighter weave to keep out the UV rays, as tighter clothing stretches the fabric, allowing more space for the UV rays to find a way through the threads. 

Don’t forget hats & scarves

Hats offer sun protection with a dose of style.

Wide-brimmed hats extend the best protection; look for ones that shade not only your face, neck and ears, but also your shoulders. The ears and neck are two of the most common areas to receive photodamage. A UPF-rated hat is a crucial component for practicing sensitive skin care; when combined with sunscreen, hats can alleviate many of the effects of the sun's rays.

Similarly, scarves add glamor while protecting your skin. 

Wear sunglasses to reflect the light

UV rays exacerbate wrinkles in your skin, and they can also cause hyperpigmentation, or skin darkening, under the eyes. Wearing UV-rated and polarized eyewear can help avoid this type of damage. Go for the Audrey Hepburn look and find shades with big, glamorous lenses to protect the whole eye area from sun damage.

Sensitive skin care needs a holistic approach

Sensitive skin care does not have to entail unpleasant creams and layers of unappealing clothing. Luxurious fabrics and gorgeous accessories can protect you from the harsh rays of the sun. Learn more about how sun protection aids in sensitive skin care at Clair Obscur.