Sun smart dressing doesn’t have to mean rash vests and legionnaire hats.

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According to the Cancer Council, 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer, and 95-99% of skin cancers result from sun exposure. This makes skin cancer the most common type of cancer in Australia and accounts for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year.

The good news is that through simple measures such as wearing sun protective clothing, applying sunscreen and avoiding the sun, skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer in Australia.

Redefining the rash vest

It wasn’t until I had children that I started really looking into sun protection. That’s when I learnt the average white cotton t-shirt has only a UPF 5. I was shocked to learn the Cancer Council’s Slip Slop Slap message is not being fulfilled by slipping on clothing of any description. I had been wearing t-shirts, kaftans and sarongs my whole life and unknowingly exposing myself to sun damage.

But the answer is not as simple as telling women to wear a rash vest. Traditional rash vests are unflattering and unfashionable – so this message has not been resonating with women who are body or fashion conscious.

Recognising that sun protective clothing is only helpful if you wear it, I decided to design a fashionable alternative to the rash vest.

Honeybell Waterwear provides a contemporary range of lightweight, breathable and quick-drying sun dresses, shirt dresses, swim t-shirts and tunics – all certified as providing UPF 50+ protection. This is the highest possible protection rating, blocking 98% of the sun’s damaging UVA/UVB rays.

Designed to be comfortable, feminine and flattering, the end result is a long way from the regular surf branded rashie!

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"Traditional rash vests are unflattering and unfashionable – so this message has not been resonating with women who are body or fashion conscious."

5 reasons sun protection clothing is perfect for women

Avoiding skin cancer is reason enough to be sun smart and wear sun protection clothing. But there are a number of other happy benefits too:

1. Keep your skin young and healthy

There is one thing everyone agrees on – sun damage is the number one cause of environmental ageing. With 90% of the visible signs of ageing coming from sun exposure, having the best possible skin comes down to reducing your exposure.

2. Feel comfortable and stylish

Body conscious? You’re perfect just the way you are, and beauty comes in all shapes and sizes – but many of us still feel self-conscious in revealing swimwear. Instead of feeling uncomfortable, slip on a garment specifically designed to have a feminine fit that drapes over your shape. These garments are relaxed and comfortable, not restrictive like traditional rash guards.

3. Reduce your suitcase size

Not made just for the water, sun protection clothing can be worn day or night by pairing with shorts, capris or skirts.

4. Reduce risk of wardrobe malfunction

This is pretty important for mums who are keeping up with their preschoolers, paddle boarders and body surfers alike!

5. Save time

Unlike sunscreen, no application is needed ahead of time and no reapplication is needed because it won't wash off! I'm not sure about you, but I'm hopeless at reapplication – and let's not mention the pesky bit in the middle of your back you always seem to miss.

Honeybell Waterwear offers a beautiful range of sun protection clothing, available in sizes AU8 to AU18. Check out the full collection online.

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