Summer is here, and the sun is out! The outdoors beckon, and the waves and beach are calling.

Fun and sun, ah… that is, until sunburn. Ouch! With the help of public awareness campaigns, most people know that sun damage leads to wrinkles and increases our chances for skin cancer. In fact, just one severe sunburn on a child doubles a child’s chances for skin cancer later in life.

Sunblock is a great place to start. Many brands offer one or two dollar off coupons. Coupled with sales, the price is often down to $4.00 or $8.00 depending on sun protection factor. Well, I’m a fair ginger so I use SPF 100 if I can find it! For most people SPF 15 – 30 is just fine.

True, not everyone spontaneously combusts in sunlight like I do, but even those that tan known what happens when the sunblock wears off or when all the “water-proof” stuff you slathered on washes away.

One solution is to cover up your skin with UV protecting swimwear. It is a trend catching fire in the United States imported from Australia. The land down under has some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. More people understand the dangers of UVA and UVB. So American companies are answering the call for protective wear.

UV protective swimwear usually offers a 50+ UPF rating, meaning shirts and suits made from these materials will protect you from more than 98 percent of the sun’s harmful rays. The suits will not wash off, are unaffected by water, and the protection doesn’t diminish over time. That means a no-burn summer! Of course, unlike sunscreen, you only have to buy it once.

Rash-guard style shirts and shorts that dry quickly and are chlorine friendly come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles, including long and short sleeve. They come in men’s, women’s, kids’, and plus sizes. Some companies even make full rash suits.

I’ve had my daughter in a full rash suit for the last two years. People are always asking me where to find one (note: I still apply sunscreen to her face and any exposed skin).  But the suit protects her from the sun, is absolutely adorable, and cuts down sunscreen purchases. I now probably use a tenth of the sunscreen I used to, so my bottles last a year or two, instead of just weeks!

Here are popular online suit retailers:

UV Skinz: They offer hats; men’s, women’s and children’s shirts and shorts; and a good selection of plus-size swim shirts. Prices for swim shirts run anywhere from $20-$45. They often have clearance sales, and sometimes you can find coupon codes to use on their site. For men, they offer a unique polo-style shirt with a collar that looks good in or out of the water. Shipping is free with a $50 purchase.

 Solartex: Sun- and swimwear from one piece suits for babies to shirts and shorts for plus sizes. Prices range $20-$68 for their products, but like UV Skinz, they also run clearance and sales which can save you a good bit of money. They also offer baby sunglasses and a big selection of hats for little ones. Shipping is free with $65 purchase, or $5.95 flat.

Coolibar: One of the first companies to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval. Coolibar’s swim products tend to run a little bit more, often $38-plus, but this company also offers UPF clothing, not just swimwear. They have a good selection of various styles of swimwear and sun wear, but their plus-sized section leaves much to be desired. Their hat selection is impressive. Coolibar occasionally offers coupon codes. Find these with an online search. Shipping starts at $5.95 and is tiered to the purchase amount.

 Ebay:For younger children, eBay can be a gold mine for affordable sun and swim wear! Just like they outgrow their clothes overnight, so goes it with swim wear sometimes. You can often find gently used suits worn only 3 or 4 times or even brand new and never worn, for pennies on the dollar. In fact, the suit I bought for my own child came from eBay two years ago. This year, with her pretty well outgrowing it, I found a replacement suit made by the same manufacturer (SunWise) brand new for $12.50 shipped!

 This has been a guest post by Amber from St. Johns, AZ
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

Leave a Reply

11 thoughts on “Full Suit: Why Sunsuits Might be Cheaper than Sunscreen”

  1. lauren says:

    Just a few things about this article. I read a complete sunscreen guide in a magazine the other day. I learned some things that suprised me. They say not to bother with sunscreen over 50, its just a waste of your money. That you need at least an ounce for one person, every 2 hours. Also to apply it 15 minutes before going into the sun. They said those 15 minutes were enough to get a sunburn with some. Hopefully this helps, for all the areas that aren’t covered. 

  2. Bjazzma says:

    I got my nephew one from the Gap. No one was buying them and they were on sale for $12 and they came in super hero styles. I got super man for him and the suit had a hood. The sizes ranged from 3 months to 4t in the section I was shopping in.

    • Bjazzma says:

      I got him a complete suite that looked like a onezi but they also had shirt ans short separates for sizes 2t+

  3. Amanda says:

    UV protective clothing is a great money saver for adults, too! I’ve always been religious about protecting my fair skin from the sun–it’s total vanity–I don’t want wrinkles. I’m new to couponing and it’s just hit me how much money I spend on sunscreen…I buy it by the vat year-round. So I did invest in some UV-protective clothing this summer and I’m shocked at how much money I’m saving on sunscreen. Athleta and Lululemon have some very attractive and stylish UV protective tops and swimwear. They are pricey, but watch for sales!

  4. boyce says:

    I got a suit from

  5. rollerderbymama says:

    UV swim shirts were on clearance at Old Navy, $8 for short sleeve; $12 long.  Combine with discount and cash coupon, came to $5.50.

  6. Ghostblossom says:

    I bought a suit like the one pictured above for my DD at Costco. It was $16 and worth every penny. Not only did I’d save me money on sunscreen, it saved me a ton of time and effort. We wen to the beach and it kept all of the sand out of crevices and created a much easier “post beach clean up”

  7. Anonymous says:

    Did not know about these “UV” swim wear! Thanks for this article.

    One thing I learned in nursing school is that to remind people to also apply sunscreen on their feet. We read a case where skin cancer was diagnosed at the bottom of a client’s foot, and they never suspected that they could get skin cancer “down there”. Lesson: Apply sunscreen EVERYWHERE and inspect your skin from head-to-toe for any “moles”. :)