You know you’re a skincare junkie when you seek clothes with UPF 50+. Even in the cold Canadian winter, I look for interesting pieces that I can wear all year round to shield my skin from the aging sun. Most sun protective clothes can feel like sportswear on, or make you look like you’re living in Boca Raton. But not this California-based company, SPF Addict. Above are some of my favourite styles from their latest collection, from left to right: Vintage Royal Blue SPF Scarf ($25); Black Poncho ($78); Hoodie ($86); Long tan gloves ($50). I love supporting companies that make quality products, but above all, have integrity and purpose, and since skin health is the crux of The Skiny, I thought it’d be worthwhile to introduce you to the woman behind the brand.
Dermatology nurse, Marina Arnold, RN, took matters into her own hands after seeing so much sun-damaged skin day in and day out on the job. “Being in Newport Beach, you can only imagine all the sun damage from years of fun in the sun,” says Arnold who, in 2009, launched SPF Addict, a line of stylish sun protective clothes inspired by her hometown’s dress code of casual cool (think Kate Hudson’s style). Here, a conversation with a pioneering woman who is taking sunscreen to the next level.
What skin concerns do you mostly treat at the skin clinic?
Our office is a combination of both dermatology and plastic surgery. So I treat a variety of things, but primarily sun damage and rosacea.
What is your favourite clinical treatment, and why?
I love them all, but must say it’s the IPL, known as photofacial. I can work on combination of things, from sun damage to rosacea and calming pigment problems such as acne and port wine stains.
What prompted you to start SPF Addict?
It was my patients that prompted me to develop a fashion forward sun protective line, I even tried giving them other UPF companies brochures and they all said “I would never wear that”. Hearing this repeatedly, I decided to take this on myself. I actually started in the fashion and apparel industry in L.A., but left for the medical world.
What were some challenges you faced in the early stages of production?
To my surprise the biggest challenge was finding honest people to take on your goals, the fashion industry is completely different from the medical industry.
There are several sun protection garment companies these days. What makes SPF Addict clothing different from the rest?
What is unique about SPF Addict is that my fabrics do not have chemicals to achieve the UPF50+ factor. Many companies use chemicals that will eventually wash out! I use natural fibers that are woven in to create the protection, then they are tested by an independent lab, tested by a PhD chemist in textile. He then washes them over 40 times, simulates the sun’s UV, and retested again to make sure the UPF is still the same. As a nurse in the field this is extremely important to me! I try to be environmental friendly as much as possible, the high tech fibers create a rich soft feel on the skin with a quick dry.
I personally love the gloves, which I use for driving to keep sunspots away. And the thumbhole features on your shirts are wonderful. They’re fun and functional!
Living at the beach, we keep it youthful and fun to match the lifestyle for daily wear, which can be worn day or night. Our thumb holes go purposefully over the hand for good hand protection.
Do you have a favourite piece?
Yes, the Marina cardigan is a versatile pack-and-go piece for ultimate coverage! It’s a light weight loose wraparound that you can dress up or dress down. It has thumb holes and a hoody, and can be wrapped across your neck and chest.
Was it named after you?
No, that was a coincidence. The Marina cardigan didn’t have a name so my production developer felt that was a great name meaning the ocean, where it’s worn well!
Should people wear UPF 50+ clothes in the winter also?
Absolutely, we tell our patients to wear sunscreen rain or shine, the same is true for your fabrics. The UVA, which is the long wave length is the one that not only passes through windows but also clouds, it is also responsible for causing skin cancer.
Besides sun protective clothing, what is one skincare product that you never leave home without?
Sunscreen with SPF 30.
Do you reapply it frequently? Be honest now.
Yes every two hours if I am out all day! And I don’t believe in the “I don’t want to ruin my makeup” excuse, because now there are SPF powders to brush over throughout day.
Click the image below to go to their website. Happy shopping!