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
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