Use fashion to stave off skin cancer
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Use fashion to stave off skin cancer

Just applying sunscreen doesn't guarantee full protection in the summer. Researchers find out how some of today's hottest fashion trends can help play it safe in the sun.

fashion and trends Updated: May 07, 2009 17:32 IST

Just applying sunscreen doesn't guarantee full protection in the summer, and thus researchers have now offered insight into how some of today's hottest fashion trends can help play it safe in the sun without leaving you feeling like a well-greased baking pan.

Dr. Susan Y. Chon, assistant professor in The University of Texas M. D. Anderson's Department of Dermatology, has explained how the hottest trends from the spring/summer 2009 runway shows also can provide skin cancer prevention and maximize clothing's sun protection power.

The most fabulous, current sunglass styles are those with extra-large frames that help protect the delicate skin around the eyes from skin cancer and aging. Sunglasses also should have broad ultraviolet (UV) protection that absorbs at least 99 percent of UV rays for maximum cancer prevention benefits.

Leggings have now become a runway staple and can go under dresses and tunics even in hot weather because they aren't as heavy as pants. They are a great way to defend legs from UVA and UVB rays while running errands or at an outdoor barbeque.

Long Dresses:
Another leg-saving fashion trend that is extremely popular on the runways for spring/summer 2009 is the move from "mini" to "maxi"-long dresses are everywhere, and are being worn for day and night.

Modern, wide-brimmed sun hats shield the face, neck, ears and chest from the sun. The trend this season on the runway-the bigger the brim, the better! Sun hats also should be tightly woven.

Tunic Tops:
Pretty, "boho" style beach cover-ups with long sleeves are a great way to save a person's skin from being over exposed in a teeny-bikini. Tunic tops are not only perfect on the beach but also can transition from day to night when worn with the right accessories, like chunky bracelets, necklaces and belts.

Summery shawls and scarves in lightweight fabrics are back again this season.

"Women are usually pretty good about applying sunscreen to their face, but generally forget their necks and the 'v' of their chests. A light scarf is a great way to cover neglected skin that gets a lot of sun exposure during summer months," said Chon.

One Piece Bathing Suits:
The new trend of one-piece bathing suits gives skin on the stomach an extra layer of protection. One-piece suits also provide more coverage of the lower back, an area often missed while applying sunscreen.

Maximize clothing's sun protection power

"There are certain colours and fabrics that will offer more protection than others," said Chon.

To maximize clothing's skin cancer prevention powers, wear tightly woven, dark-coloured fabrics.

"You don't need to wear special UPF clothing to get extra protection, just wear a sunscreen with SPF15 or higher under layers. It is absolutely possible to be fashion conscious and protect yourself from the sun. The trends on the runway this year offer more coverage. We love that! Said Chon.

First Published: May 06, 2009 20:53 IST