Sun Protective Clothing: Coolibar Is Our Recommendation!

sun protection Jun 30, 2014

In trying to minimize the amount of sunscreen (i.e., chemicals) put onto my children while also keeping them sun-safe, I have found Coolibar sun protective clothing to be a great addition to our family's summer vacations!  To learn more about how the company’s clothing provides extensive UV protection, we spoke with Coolibar Marketing Specialist, Ms. Jennifer Annett.

How Does The Clothing Provide Sun Protection of UPF 50+?

Coolibar carries different types of fabrics that use different properties to block the sun. ZnO Suntect fabric infuses titanium dioxide inside the fiber of the fabric as the primary UV blocker. Since the mineral is infused in the fabric, Coolibar products made with this material remain effective for as long as the garment is intact and the minerals do not wear off onto the skin. The aquaSuntect fabric, which is what Coolibar's swim-wear is made of, provides sun protection due to the tightness of the fabric's weave. There are no additional chemicals in the fabrics.

Coolibar Neck to Ankle Swimwear

Coolibar Neck-to-Ankle Swimwear

In addition (and in general), there are other attributes of fabric that will increase its UV protectiveness rating: (i) tighter fabric weave; (ii) darker color; (iii) heavier fabric weight; (iv) less stretch; and, (v) more dryness.  The other major factor that affects protection is the addition of chemicals such as UV absorbers or UV diffusers during the manufacturing process.  Many factors that make a garment comfortable also make it less protective.  The major design challenge for sun protective clothing is how to combine comfort, style, and protection in the one garment.  Luckily, Coolibar successfully finds a successful balance for that challenge!

Most summer clothing exposes large amounts of skin to the sun.  A major goal for all Coolibar’s UV protective clothing and UV protective swimwear designs is to cover as much skin as possible while still making the garment cool and comfortable to wear.  Coolibar’s UV protective clothing and swimwear are designed to cover as much skin as possible while staying comfortable.  To do this, Ms. Annett explained that Coolibar uses hidden ventilation and moisture managing UPF 50+ rated fabrics for protection and comfort.

What Is UPF?

"UPF," or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is a rating system that measures a fabric's UV protection factor, similar to SPF used with sunscreens.  The difference between UPF ratings and SPF ratings is that UPF rates refer to protection from both UVA and UVB rays whereas SPF rates refer to protection against only UVB.

All Coolibar garments have the highest possible rating for excellent UV protection of UPF 50+.  UPF of 50 means there is protection from 98% of UV radiation.

For How Long Will The UPF Protection Last?

To ensure durability and longevity, Coolibar puts their fabrics through rigorous testing.  Tests consist of two UV transmittance tests, 40 washes, and exposure to 100 fading units of simulated sunlight.  The UV transmittance tests measure UVA and UVB rays.  Because most fabrics lose some level of UV protection as they age, fabrics are rated at the second UV transmittance test results.

Does the zinc and titanium oxide wear off onto the skin while being worn?

No, the zinc and titanium will not wear off onto the skin.  With most of Coolibar's synthetic fiber products, the main UV blocking element is TiO2 (titanium dioxide), which is inside of the actual fiber.  This is what most of the better sunscreens also use for UV blocking.  Since the TiO2 is inside of the fiber it can never leak out, wear out, or stop working.  Coolibar tests every dye lot to ensure this.

Coolibar's ZnO SUNTECT® has embedded zinc oxide (ZnO), a natural mineral compound with well-established sun protection properties, to the fibers of natural cotton and viscose from bamboo to create a light weight and breathable fabric.  Again, the zinc oxide will not wear off onto the skin.

Our Family's Experience?

We've really enjoyed this new swimwear!  My daughter loves the pink neck-to-ankle swimwear (below) and the pink neck-to-knee swimwear (and she looks adorable in them as well!).  Moreover, my husband and I love being able to use less sunscreen on her while not compromising her sun protection!

Coolibar Neck-to-Ankle Swimwear

Third-Party Recognition

As a mom, I was further comforted that Coolibar has received approval from the American Academy of Dermatology, The Skin Care Foundation, and the Melanoma International Foundation.  Click on Coolibar Recognition to read more.

Coolibar's Sale

Currently, Coolibar is hosting their biggest sale of the year: 20% off everything until August 28th. Click on Coolibar Sale to pick up some these helpful products!

Please note: The S File and no member of The S File benefit from promoting Coolibar in any way.

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Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

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