Sun protective clothing rated by Consumer Reports

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Skin cancer is among the most common of all cancers, and sun exposure is a primary cause.

Covering up when you're outside can be a critical step in prevention.

Consumer Reports says it's important to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays with both sunscreen and protective clothing.

But do you really need to spend money on special UPF clothing?

Consumer Reports tested a $32 Coolibar Girl's Rash Guard, embedded with titanium dioxide.

It promises a UPF of more than 50, meaning less than one-fiftieth of UV radiation can penetrate the fabric.

When Consumer Reports put it to the test, the Rash Guard did deliver.

It measured a UPF of 174, more than three times the protection it promised.

While that sounds impressive, the other two shirts that were tested, which didn't claim any U-V protection, did very well too.

For just about half the price, the Eastbay Evapor long-sleeve compression crew delivered a UPF of nearly 400.

That's more than twice what was delivered by the special shirt.

And even a $13 cotton Hanes Beefy-T, which is thicker than a regular T-shirt, delivered a UPF of 115.

Consumer Reports also ran tests when the shirts were wet and judged all three to have respectable levels of protection.

But the Coolibar Rash Guard was the only one to deliver increased protection when wet.

It's important to note that all testing was done on new clothing that had yet to be washed or exposed to elements like chlorine and salt water.

Those elements can affect the protection factor over time.

So while covering up when you're in the sun is important, Consumer Reports found that it's really not necessary to buy a special shirt.

Which means you can get effective protection without getting burned at the register.
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