Memorial Day has come and gone and I spent a good chunk of the weekend happily drinking, snorkeling, and soaking in the sun. And true to beauty editor form, I arrived with my beach bag fully stocked with sunscreen.
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I was happily sharing my SPF when my friend who works at the Gap showed up in a "UV-protective bikini" made out of "fine Italian nylon that provides SPF 50" to her finest assets.
While UPF clothing (Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which is similar to SPF ratings on sunscreen) has been around for a while, the tiny amount of skin it's covering in bikini form seems to defeat the purpose, reports the Times.
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And it's not just bikinis. With a growing awareness of (and mounting paranoia about) skin cancer, budding entrepreneurs are finding more products to lace with SPF -- everything from umbrellas to shoes. (I'm not kidding, Pink Ladybug Water Shoes with UPF 50 are all the rage with the sun-worshipping set).
But why stop there? You can even "SPF wash" your entire wardrobe with a laundry additive that purportedly gives "an invisible shield into clothing that helps block more than 96 percent of the sun's harmful rays from reaching your skin."
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I have to ask: Is this all necessary?
Naomi Lawrence, head of procedural dermatology at Cooper University Medical Center in Camden, N.J., says no.
"When it comes to sun protection, you really can't beat a dark shirt with a tight weave and a good hat," she told the New York Times. "There is a lot you can do and not spend a lot of money."
So while my friend spent $38.95 on her UPF bikini, I'm listening to the doctor and sticking with my two-piece from Target and tote bag filled with sunscreen lotions, sprays, and wipes.
What do you think? Are you into the UPF craze or are you trusting your good ol' Coppertone?