MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Protecting our skin from the sun’s damaging rays is important. And protecting your children’s skin is serious business.

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Everyone knows about the benefits of sunscreen, but it turns out there may be an even better way to protect your kids, and yourself, for that matter.

What could be better than sunscreen?


Turns out, dressing your kids like little surfers could save their skin.

For 11-year-old Sam Randall, who’s sailing Lake Calhoun in a sailing camp this summer, sunscreen is as important as the starboard.

“I use the spray kind, and then I use a stick for my face,” he said.

But he’s wearing a lot less of it these days because of the shirt he’s wearing.

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“I think it’s very nice, because it makes it so that I don’t have to put on any sunscreen on my chest,” Randall said.

And he’s on to something, according to Dr. Jaime L. W. Davis of Uptown Dermatology.

“Trying to corale kids to reapply sunscreen isn’t always the easiest thing to do, so with the clothing you get high-degree sun protection that’s going to last as long as they do,” she said.

She’s talking about sun shirts and sun hats. These protect from 98 percent of harmful rays.

They’re made by Coolibar, and shipped all over from right here in Minnesota.

John Barrow runs the St. Louis Park-based company. He got the idea of making sun-resistant clothing from his home country of Australia, where melanoma is rampant.

“They’re very high tech fabrics,” Barrow said. “They’re designed to be worn in hot conditions and they’re actually gonna help cool you down.”

But don’t toss away that sunscreen.

You still need it for kids’ faces, hands and feet, but that’s a much quicker application than having to cover them head to toe.

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To learn more about sun-resistant clothing, click here.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield