My favorite sun protection products

Summer is coming, so it is time for me to start thinking (more) about protecting my skin from the sun!  People typically think sunscreen when they think sun protection, but as someone who’s skin is very sensitive and gentle sunscreens can be hard to find, I have learned lots of other ways to protect myself!  This post shares my favorite products and habits to protect myself from the sun.

My favorite sun protection products

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My favorite sun protection garments

Especially in the summer, I pretty much live in sun protection clothing. 

sun protection products

Columbia shirts and pants

Columbia has a lot of sun protective clothing – marked with the Omni-Shiled label, and I really like it.  I am lucky enough to have a few Columbia outlet stores nearby, and for some reason I find that I have liked the styles available at the outlets better than their regular stores/website.

Columbia sun shirts

I pretty much live in my Columbia button down shirts that can be dressed up to business casual type attire.  They are very lightweight, and great for travel because they can be washed in a sink, dried in a towel then air dried over night. Most of the shirts are free from wrinkles when they have finished drying!  I also really like that some of the shirts have zip close pockets in the lower front, great for carrying a cell phone, chapstick, and more.  I have several similar to this style, with the low pockets and very light weight.  

Columbia sun shirt

Columbia also has long hiking pants with Omni-Shield.  Some pants styles are very nice looking – I have even worn the black ones as business-casual pants.  The have just a little stretch to make them really comfortable.  I actually buy these a little snug because they stretch out a bit when worn.  I love these pants because they actually come in “short,” “regular,” and “long” lengths.  Great for me because most pants are far too short for me!  

Columbia sun pants

I like my Columbia shorts as well – like the hiking pants, they are soft and just a bit stretchy so they stay comfortable through all activities, like walking, hiking, gardening, and various work on/around my house.  Columbia sells shorts with various inseam lengths, so it’s easy to find a pair that suits different activities and comfort levels. 


Wide-brim hats are great for protecting the face, neck, and scalp from sunburns.  While I do not wear these all the time (I think they look a little dorky and let my vanity get in the way here…) but when I do the Scala hat and Siggi hat are my favorites!  They both have nice wide brims.  Siggi has a removable chin strap (great for hiking when windy), and the back of the brim has no structure so it protects my neck much better than regular, uniform brim hats.  Oh, and the best part is the ponytail hole in the back!  The Scala hat is a little more stylish (in my opinion) and is packable and machine washable, so super easy to keep clean, and convenient for travel. 

sun hats, scarf, headband

Scarves and headbands

Sometimes I don’t want to wear a hat, but want to shade my neck and chest or scalp.  

This headwear works as a (short) scarf or headband, and even hat!  The Amazon product page shows many ways to wear it – though I stick to the scarf and headband.  

The infinity scarf can be worn like any infinity scarf, and is wide enough to pull up over my hair to provide some sun protection to my scalp.  

For in or on the water

One of the first pieces of sun protection clothing that I found was the swim shirt.  This is great for times when I am in or on the water, protecting my arms, back, chest, all the way up to my neck.  I don’t have to worry about sunscreen wearing off all over, and can just focus on my face, neck, and hands.

swim shirt

I also discovered lightweight sun protection jackets.  They’re a stretchy, zip up the front, and some have hoods and pockets.  I like to put one of these on when it’s a little cooler out but still sunny, or for on-the-water activities like boating an kayaking.  They stretch when I move, and protect my skin when I need it most – that water reflects the sun and makes me burn faster.  I have one that it DuckSkinz brand and another GreenBeanz, though those brands no longer appear online.  I found these jackets for $5 at Ocean State Job Lot.   

sun jackets

Where to buy sun protective clothing

Where do I buy sun protective clothing?  Pretty much anywhere!  I keep my eye out for this kind of clothing at my local discount type stores (Ocean State Job Lot, Marshalls, TJ Maxx) and online.  I can find almost anything on Amazon, though I often have better luck at the brand specific clothes, specifically Columbia and even moreso, Columbia Outlet.

My favorite sunscreens
Homemade, everyday, light sunscreen

I love my light feeling natural sunscreen for everyday, light sun exposure, such as when I expect to be outside a bit in the winter when the sun is less intense, or during spring and fall when I do not expect to be out in the sun. 

Commercially available, water resistant sunscreens

When I need a more intense sunscreen, something that will hold up to a little sweat or water and give me more sun protection I use Goddess Garden sunscreen (which I wrote about last year).  Though by the end of a season I was finding the sunscreen settled in the bottle, so I will try the lotion in a squeeze bottle rather than the spray, next time. 

I also recently tried Rocket Pure sunscreen, and I LOVE the texture!  It is a thin-ish consistency that is easy to apply, and uses zinc oxide to protect against the sun.  I think this is my current favorite commercially available sunscreen. 


Homemade water resistant sunscreen

I still use my homemade natural sunscreen, which is water- and sweat-resistant due to the shea butter and cocoa butter.  But I am working on a new homemade sunscreen recipe that has a more smooth, easier to apply texture (like Rocket Pure sunscreen).  I’ll update this post once I have that new recipe perfected!

My tips for avoiding sun burns
  1. I stay in the shade when I can.  While I can still get a sunburn in the shade (or on an overcast or cloudy day!), shade does provide some filtering of UV rays and extends the amount of time I can spend in outside before burning.
  2. I avoid the outdoors in the middle of the day – between 10 am and 2 pm.  The sun is most intense in the middle of the day, so I try to plan my outdoor activities around this.
  3. I use my favorite sun protection clothing and sunscreens!

Note:  This post focuses on protecting the skin from the sun, but the sun is NOT bad!  Actually, it is very essential to life!  Not only do we completely rely on the sun to live (it keeps our earth at a survivable temperature, after all), but at a smaller scale, our bodies need the sun to produce Vitamin D.  So, while I try to prevent burns or much tanning of my skin, I do make sure get some sun exposure.


What do you do or what products do you use to protect yourself and your family from the sun?  Share with us in the comments below!