Sun Protection Swimwear better than sun cream! – Jody and Lara
Swimwear to protect your skin against the sun's harmful rays. | Jody and Lara

Sun Protection Swimwear better than sun cream!

We are all used to slapping on the sun-cream to protect our skin from the sun's harmful rays, but do you know sun protection clothing is more protective than sun cream?

We don't often consider what we wear can do the same job as sun cream if not better. Did you know a cotton T-shirt can give you between UPF 10 -15 of sun protection depending on the colour and the weight? Jody and Lara Swimwear is made from UPF50+ swimwear fabric, which means it gives excellent protection against the suns harmful UV rays, wet or dry. It dries quickly so when you are out of the water, your swimming costume will quickly dry and still keeping you protected. How great is that?

Also it has been proven that sun protection clothing is far better at blocking UV rays than sun cream. And that is mainly due to the fact that not one of us puts the right amount of sun cream on ourselves or our children. In fact you have to lay it on with a trowel to really meet the benefits on the packaging. Also sun cream either washes off, wears off or indeed is sweated off within an hour or two of application.  Where as sun protective swimwear protects for as long as you wear it, wet or dry.

A little more about UV light/rays/radiation known by many different names but its all the same thing really. UV light is just part of the electromagnetic spectrum like radio waves, microwaves, light, X-rays and gamma rays. It has high energy levels, not as strong as Gamma radiation but certainly higher than light waves. It can not be seen and is present within sunlight. 

The sun is wonderful, we look forward to warm sunshine so much after the long Winter, and yet this inviting bright globe can be so damaging for our skin and particularly at a cellular level. There are the immediate painful effects of being burnt by the UV in sunlight, but are you aware of the permanent long term damage to the skin and the cells beneath? Long term effects particularly in young skin, when exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays which can stay hidden beneath the surface way into adult years.

UV radiation is part of the make up of light which radiates from the sun and arrives 6 minutes later on our planet. UV rays/radiation are unseen and are not heat giving. The heat you feel is radiant heat from the sun not the UV itself. The UV rays which have much higher energy than radiant heat are more like microwaves or X-rays. Radiant heat in sun light can be reduced while UV rays which are also present can remain high. You cannot feel UV radiation as it impacts your skin, which is why you can be burnt on a cloudy day or on a windy, sunny day when it feels relatively cool.  Like most radiation it has an effect on our bodies which accumulates over time. It is the main cause of skin cancer, and skin cancer is on the increase, and sadly is still the number one for cancer sufferers. You are more at risk if you have pale skin, but it effects ALL skin colours, whether you tan easily or not, tanning is simply your skins way of protecting itself from the harmful radiation but the damage has still occurred.

There is no such thing as a healthy tan!

It is a silent destructive force which effects your health and manifests itself in negative ways later in life. So protect young skin, by repeating the sun cream application every 2 hours, wear a wide brimmed hat and try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, preferable in the shade.

And so when I designed this swimwear I made sure of some key things to ensure protection and performance.

1. This swimwear is UPF50+ it is the highest sun protection factor you can get. If you feel the fabric you will notice how dense the knitted structure is and it feels slightly heavier. It's the highest quality fabric including some titanium in the fibre to aid with UV blocking. It is also super soft as I didn't want my children to get those skin rashes that can appear on some swimwear use, when worn all day. 

2. I designed the swimwear to have more skin cover-up. The shorts have longer legs and I have full arm length rash vests. The rash vests have longer body lengths. This is because I found that when my kids where playing in the pool outside they would often drape themselves over a lilo or something inflatable and unless the rash vest was long enough it would expose the small of the back to the sun. Hence why I made this change. I also altered the neck line to be further up the neck to help protect the back of the neck from sun burn. I put Zips at the back so its easier to pull over the head. Also the zip pullers have longer tabs so its easier to reach around and pull up or down. 

3. And finally I made the Jody and Lara swimwear from recycled plastic waste. Through my career as a Sustainability and Ethics Manager for Sainsbury's I knew that it is possible to make clothing the right way. Ensuring the swimwear is made sustainably and is made through a factory where the workers are treated well. Or course with that came a financial cost. But I made a decision that I would not make cheap clothing and exploit the people producing it for my own gain. So these are not the cheapest swimwear on the market, but they do have the best credentials by far.  

So there you have it a little insight into why I chose this fabric, this design and these ethical and sustainable origins. But why start a swimwear brand and an online shop! There are far easier product lines I could have started selling on line, fidget spinners were just starting out when I started! 😂

Let me tell you a story.....

 Every year during the school summer holidays in July and August, my family would head off to the inviting beaches, water parks and guaranteed hot sun of Cyprus. As my girls grew from toddlers to primary school, and left the “all in one” swimsuit with the pink unicorns print behind. The choice of swimming costumes being offered with cover-up sun protection, drifted away and was replaced with bikini’s, tankini’s and the high cut one-piece cozzie.  Even if I invested in a rash vest, it was usually unimaginative in design, with no UPF clearly marked and was often paired with knickers and not long line shorts. And no matter how hard I tried with sun-cream application, my girls still suffered from sun burn on the tops of their thighs just below the leg opening on the knicker line; or on their bottom checks where two red crescent shapes would appear where the knickers would ride up; and sometimes on the small of their back, caused by being draped over the floating inflatable “ice cream” or “dolphin” having fun in the outside pool and the rash vest riding up leaving skin exposed. I was also very aware of the accumulative effects of UV radiation or sun damage made by simply being in the sun. 🌞

Fed up with not being able to find what I wanted, I created my own cover-up swimwear range with UPF 50+, not specifically for girls, as boys can wear it too, (I didn't want my son left out!!) but to offer more choice for girls where there currently is very little. The brand is called “Jody and Lara” a cover-up swimwear UPF 50+ brand made from used plastic bottles and manufactured in China as I could not find a solution in the UK or Europe. By the way there is a solution in Portugal but sadly I am too small to meet their order volumes. I am still at the beginning of my journey but I hope you like what you see and please do let me have any thoughts or ideas on how you think I can make this deliver more of what you want. Next year I have introduced swim leggings. They look great!!! Love  💗💗