Sun Protection Marketing Lingo Run Amuck

So remember that little article I wrote a couple weeks ago warning you about companies jumping on the sun protection bandwagon with misleading marketing?  That article was specific to a Tea Collection catalog and their SPF 40 branding vs. the appropriate UPF which would be the industry standard for fabrics.  Well today I received an email from Title Nine advertising their new summer offerings and guess what, they have jumped on the bandwagon in a major way.

Their email reads “New Swim For Summer.”  As you scroll down you see a picture of this adorable hoodie coverup and above it the copy reads, “Super Lightweight Sunscreen.”  Here the lightweight is referring to the weight of the shirt, so most people would read that and assume the shirt offered a quantifiable amount of sun coverage.  I clicked on the link to read the product description at the website.  On the website the product description says, “Here’s the problem: When it’s hot we want to wear as little as possible, but still want sun coverage, so we pull on the Heatwave Hoody. It weighs barely more than a breath, but still covers our assets.”

So now the company has referenced – twice – in marketing speak that the product provides sunscreen or sun protection.

What I know, and want you to know, is that anyone selling a true sun protection top will make note that the fabric has an UPF  rating.  Otherwise, there is no way to truly quantify how much or any sun protection the clothing item will offer.

So, I decided to use their lovely “chat now” option just to put this to the test.  Below is the copy of my online chat (Photo shows it layered over the marketing email and the webpage).

Anne N: hi monica B

Monica B: it does not have an official rating under the UPF criteria, it does offer some protection

Anne N: so it is marketed as a sun protective layer and super lightweight sunscreen, but you can’t really prove that?

Anne N: hello?

Monica B: yes, are you looking at this item number 460998

Anne N: yes

Anne N: the Heatwave Hoody

Monica B: okay, it does not have an official UPF rating from that agency,it does offer light weight sun protection.  The fabric is a burn out design and is a light weight material, good in the heat.

Anne N: but basically just like a t-shirt when it comes to sun protection

Monica B: yes

Leading Marketing of Sun Protection

Always read the product details when purchasing sun protective products. If it doesn’t say UPF, don’t buy it.

So there you have it, straight from Monica B at Title Nine.  It’s no different than wearing a t-shirt.  PLUS, it is a “burnout fabric” which means parts of the t-shirt are basically mesh.  This top is probably worse than wearing a basic t-shirt when it comes to sun protection.  This poor girl sailing the boat in the marketing piece isn’t going to have a great day on the water.  She is going to get burned because of very misleading marketing and will probably end her day with some crazy burn lines in the shape of a fabric burnout pattern.

The details matter: One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.


Author: sunality

I am a mother of two and survivor of a very scary malignant melanoma diagnosis. I was diagnosed in my early thirties. Since that day, I have been working to change my lifestyle and incorporate sun blocking effective products into my daily life to create a new reality of living in the sun... my "sunality." I want to pass along this information to others who are facing the same lifestyle changes and challenges. You can still live a normal life and protect yourself from the deadly effects of the sun.

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