These high-tech clothes block sunlight better than sunscreen

Sunscreen isn’t the only defense we have against the sun.

A growing number of companies are starting to offer clothes with UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor. Think of it as the sartorial equivalent of sunscreen’s SPF, but with UPF you don’t have to reapply every two hours.

“People think a T-shirt is protecting them from the sun, but an average cotton tee has an SPF of about 8,” says dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler.

Although you’re probably not getting sunburned through your clothes, you’re still at risk for other sun damage that can speed up the aging process and increase your risk for skin cancer. But the densely woven materials that make up UPF clothing protect you from both the kind of rays that can burn you and the kind that can damage your skin over time.

“I don’t think anyone can be diligent enough with sunscreen,” Wexler says. “These clothes take the worry out of sun protection because you don’t have to wonder if you’re covered.”

Here are some of this season’s most fashionably protective clothes with UPF 50 — meaning that just a 50th of the sun’s rays can penetrate ’em.

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Afternoon cocktails on the beach anyone? This preppy and pretty sweatshirt has you covered. “Captain” popover, $98 at Lillypulitzer.com
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Orange you glad you spotted this juicy suit with more than a month of summer to spare?! “Mila” Swim One Piece, $118. Mott50.com
FALL RESORT_LAYDOWNS
Since 2001, this brand of UPF clothing has provided stylish and protective designs. “Wide Brim Beach Hat,” $49.50, Coolibar.com
M Space Dye Long Sleeve
This clean-cut, long-sleeve swim top protects you both in and out of the water. Space Dye Long Sleeve Swim Top $44 at Speedo.com
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Make rash guards chic again with this top, designed in collaboration with surfer Malia Manuel. Swell Seeker Paddle Top, $98 at Lululemon.com

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These sleeves are a hit on the golf course, protecting arms at every stroke. Plus, the stretchy fabric is sweat-wicking. Nike’s Dri-FIT Solar Sleeves, $28. Nike.com
Studio Bra - Amore
Workout gear like this colorful bra, from Noli’s expansive collection of UPF workout clothes, can be paired with matching leggings. Amore studio bra, $50 at Noli.com
SUMMER 1_LAYDOWNS
Throw on this beachy bohemian kaftan for all-over sun protection. Women’s Summer Kaftan, $125 at Coolibar.com
Sun Stash Hat_
The polarizing bucket hat trend just got a sun-ready makeover in a reversible tiger print and camouflage. Sun Stash Hat, $28 at Northface.com
Athleta
These airy-back tops are perfect for rooftop yoga sessions. Tulip back tee, $54 at Athleta.com
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