We wear our face masks every time we leave the house, but did you know a typical fabric mask only offers the equivalent sun protection of SPF 7? That means to protect your skin from harmful and damaging UV rays, you should be wearing sunscreen underneath your mask. Especially in the August heat, it's tempting to wear the lightest, most breathable mask you can find, but the looser the weave of the fabric, the worse it is at blocking UV rays.
It’s worth noting that if your mask is a three-ply mask or made with a tightly woven synthetic fabric (like polyester or rayon), you’re probably getting a little more protection than SPF 7, but if the fabric stretches or gets wet, it decreases its ability to shield you from the sun.
Another thing to consider is the color of your face mask. In general, lighter-colored masks, light white or pastel, provide less UV protection than a darker mask, like black or navy.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone wear a minimum of SPF 30 every single day, even on cloudy days or when you're outside for just a few minutes. On days when you're going to be spending a lot of time outside, consider swapping your usual face mask for one made with UPF like this UPF 50+ mask from Sun50. UPF masks are densely woven to help block UVA and UVB rays from penetrating the fabric and reaching your skin. This mask blocks 98 percent of UV rays. Pair it with SPF 30 or more, and your risk of sun burn, sun damage, and, more importantly, skin cancer, go way down.
Sailing is one of the best options for social distancing outdoor activities, but if you with friends outside of your quarantine pod, or walking around the dock, wearing a UPF face mask is a great way to protect your skin and help stop of the spread of COVID-19.
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