Sun-Resistant Clothing: Does It Work?

Mara Schiavocampo looks into special fabrics that are billed as helping to prevent skin damage.
3:16 | 06/18/14

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Transcript for Sun-Resistant Clothing: Does It Work?
? All right. Back now at 7:40 with "Gma" investigates. Sun protective clothing, that's a popular way to protect your skin from harmful uv rays and prevent sun damage. But does the clothing really work? ABC's Mara schiavocampo put some to the test and joins us now with all of the details. Good morning, Mara. Lara, good morning. We know about the importance of using sunscreen but now many are turning to clothes for protection. We put some pieces to the test to see if they really hold up against the power of the sun. ? summer days, so many of us love spending them outside. But as "Gma" investigates learned, all of that fun in the sun can be damaging and dangerous. I am being examined by a skin analysis machine which shows sun damage to the skin before it reaches the surface. Oh, no. Ah! See all of those green lines, they are wrinkles in the making. Is this definitely going to show up at some point or can I do anything now? Sunscreen. Reporter: But dermatologist Elizabeth hale tells me that's not the only risk. One in five Americans will get skin cancer at some point in their lives. Dr. Hale saying there ale a new defense. Sun protective clothing. That can allow people to be outside for mow prolonged periods and protect their skin and doesn't wear off the way sunscreen does. Reporter: Some of it has tightly woven fabric often treated with chemicals to absorb uv rays. Just as sunscreen has an spf rating, all clothing has a upf rating which stands for ultraviolet protection factor. The darker the fabric and tighter the weave the higher the upf. Kaitlyn Kennedy wears it almost every day. She was diagnosed with skin cancer at 18. How has it affected your life. I still enjoy myself but now have to make sure I have an umbrella, a hat, my sun protective clothing and lotion on. Reporter: So does it really have the upf it claims? "Gma" investigates tested five items, all claiming to have a upf between 50 and 100. We asked a lab to check the upf before and after washing the clothing according to the manufacturer's instructions. The results, all the clothing had around the upf it claimed, even after multiple washings. You're never too young to need protection. Remember that skin analysis machine? It found that our 20-year-old "Gma" intern Katherine is already developing brown spots and fine lines. I definitely will be looking into wearing sunscreen clothing. Now, we should point out a skin analysis machine like the one we used in the piece can be used to show skin damage but not skin cancer, for skin cancer detection everyone should be checked out at least once a year. Really this is about typing the balance between enjoying the sun but being safe. Thank goodness you didn't bring one of those machines if here. I do not want to look at that. Do they have like a spider-man costume sunscreen situation? That's what it's getting to. All right. Thank you, Mara. Really good advice.

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