The follow piece is a guest blog by Susan Wood.
Many of you know I always try to raise awareness of the dangers of sun exposure among my gardening friends. Why? I?m still recovering from complications of my most recent melanoma surgery last November. Sun damage to your skin is cumulative, resulting in photo aging if nothing else. We try to protect our skin by using physical barriers such as hats, gloves, long sleeves and long pants as well as sun blocks when working or playing outside. We avoid the hours of most intense sun — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — whenever possible. These are the basics.
Most clothing offers an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 5, dropping to zero when wet. Keeping sun block on your arms, legs and back is a challenge. I?ve tried the Solumbra line of sun protection clothing, but found the fabric doesn?t ?breathe?. This method seemed to require a choice between sun protection and heat stroke.
But wait, there is something fairly new on the market that you may not be aware of yet. Rit, the dye manufacturer, makes an additive to use with detergent in the washing machine. SunGuard increases the UPF of clothes to 30. My dermatologist says it usually can be found at Target and Walmart. Listed at $1.99 a box, each SunGuard treatment lasts through 20 additional washings. According to the manufacturer, the treatment allows fabric to protect your skin by absorbing 96% of the sun?s harmful UV rays, without altering the fabric?s ability to breathe.