Beach Bumming Pt. 2
Fitted long-sleeved white cotton shirts are timelessly cool. Add thumbholes and elbow patches, and swoon! Now that’s a handsome shirt. What makes this top even more covetable (in my skin-conscious eyes, at least) is that it was woven with eco friendly fibers that absorb the sun’s rays, blocking 98% from reaching your skin.
Since getting my first long-sleeved cotton shirt from SPF Addict last year (in yellow) I’ve been living in it on the weekends, feeling effortlessly put together. I’m not one to peacock when it comes to style but I also don’t like looking drab, so when planning my sun protective wardrobe for my Caribbean honeymoon, I knew I had to include something from SPF Addict, a California-based company that epitomes casual cool. And who better to ask for fashion advice than a cosmetic nurse who fixes sun damaged skin every day and who happens to have fashion textile experience?
Marina Arnold, RN – the head honcho at SPF Addict – acted as my virtual UPF 50+ stylist by handpicking two versatile pieces I could take from beach to street. A tall order for sun-protective clothing (traditionally these garments can look and feel like sportswear). Here’s how I wore them on my Jamaican honeymoon.
The Long Sleeve Shirt
Long walks on the beach needn’t result in long-term skin damage. Chic and functional in design, this button-up top with elbow patches and thumbholes fits like a dream and keeps its shape and sun protection ability after 40 washes.
I wore mine near the end of my trip after experiencing a little dermal drama, oh but of course. The story: I was feeling fat from treating my stomach like a bottomless pit for jerk chicken pizza and Pina Coladas (ah, the joy and curse of “all-inclusive”). To scorch some of the calories I did a group exercise class in the pool. How good was I, right? Well that one-hour spent in the pool did quite number on my skin, despite having sunscreen on.
I got a sun rash and a mild burn on both arms – most of the visible damage were on the upper arms since I exposed them the most with all that arm raising that the instructor made us do. The top of my hands also got marred with small acne-like pustules. The areas didn’t hurt but they were lobster red and scaly, so for the rest of the trip I was careful to shield my arms and hands with physical protection with my SPF Addict shirt.
Skin lesson learned: You can still get sunburnt while wading in the water. In fact, UV rays will reflect off the surface of the water onto exposed skin above the water, giving the swimmer a double the dose of UV radiation compared to someone who isn’t in the water and getting just direct sunlight, says our derm Dr. Lisa Kellett. But mistakes can happen, and that’s why skin experts like Dr. Kellett and nurse Arnold stress that sunscreen are just ONE way – not the only way – to avoid sun damage and skin cancer. “Sun lovers still should wear a hat and sun-protective clothing when they can, as well as seek shade,” says Dr. Kellett.
The Go-Everywhere Wrap
This large versatile peacock-printed wrap, called Julie’s Wrap ($63, SPFAddict.com), is made up of 50% micro modal and 50% supina cotton – a unique blend that gives it a touch similar to soft cotton pajamas but is much more durable and resistant to shrinking and fading. Like a baby with a security blanket, I adore this wrap and felt (sun) safe when I had it on – whether it was around my shoulders or waist.
One night we had dinner under the stars and I wore it with a white-fringed Marciano dress. The look, according to the hubs, was very apropos. I was peacocking without much effort –my kind of style.
Even when you’re not bumming it on the beach, SPF Addict clothes are a superb choice if you have sun sensitivities or just want to be proactive in your aging game, year round. Remember, there is no day off from protecting your skin. Harmful UV rays still exist during the winter months and on cloudy rainy days. And as Dr. Kellett recently reminded us, skin cancer can take 20 years to show up. As we come into the Fall, I suggest scooping up a piece from SPF Addict because preserving your skin’s health is an addiction that’s good for you.