Revolutionary Advances in Sun-Protective Clothing--An Essential Step in Eliminating Skin Cancer in Our World

J Long Term Eff Med Implants. 2004;14(2):95-106. doi: 10.1615/jlongtermeffmedimplants.v14.i2.30.


For many years, individuals around the world have relied on sunscreen alone as their primary form of protection against ultraviolet rays (UV-R). Australia has shown that a multitactic approach to skin cancer prevention, combining sun-protective clothing with sunscreen, can be both highly effective and widely accepted by the general public. In the US, the aging baby boomer generation and rising skin cancer epidemic call for a fundamental behavioral shift toward this combination approach to sun protection. Sun-protective clothing, such as that manufactured by Coolibar and awarded the Seal of Recommendation by The Skin Cancer Foundation, offers millions of Americans the opportunity to significantly improve the quality of their lives and is an essential step in eliminating skin cancer in our world. All Coolibar clothing products carry a minimum ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 30, blocking 97% UV-R or greater. Each product in the Coolibar clothing line is individually tested and rated for its UV protection level; this process is explained in a thorough hangtag attached to the product. This tag specifies what UPF the product has received, how the UPF is figured, which testing procedures the individual product was submitted to, and if that product has received the Seal of Recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation. In addition to photoprotective clothing, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends Rit Sun Guard, a photoprotective laundry additive. Rit Sun Guard washes into the clothing fibers and absorbs broadband UV-R. A single treatment of Rit Sun Guard sustains a UPF of 30 for approximately 20 launderings. The active ingredient in Rit Sun Guard is TINOSORB FD. In order to be certified by The Skin Cancer Foundation, the Coolibar clothing product must undergo extensive UPF testing to confirm the accuracy of the product labeling. Laundry additives evaluated by The Skin Cancer Foundation undergo similar tests to that of photoprotective clothing after a uniform laundering method is used to apply the product to the clothing fibers. Both of these certification processes confirm the UPF, UV-A and UV-B transmittance, and percentage blocking UV-A and UV-B. The certification process is reviewed on an annual basis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Protective Clothing / trends*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*