Carley and Carlos Gomez-Meade are both physicians and the founders and owners of Little Leaves. When their son became a toddler and began spending more time outside, they searched for sun protective play wear for him, but found mostly swimwear. Although swim wear was the most abundant sun protective clothing available, pool time and beach time are not the only times children are exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Carley and Carlos Gomez-Meade know that their children spend much more of their outdoor time playing in the yard or at the park than in the water. Carley is a pediatrician, and Carlos is a dermatologist, and they understand that the importance of sun protection begins in childhood. Sun protection clothing for children is extremely important. Even on a cloudy day in the fall or winter 80% of ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun penetrates through. This UV radiation is linked to skin cancer and premature aging. Skin cancer prevention starts in early childhood. Sun damage is cumulative over your lifetime. Over 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year! Primary prevention of skin cancer means being smart about sun exposure. It’s important to protect children’s skin anytime they are exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Wearing sun protective clothing is an easy way to know they are protected. Although, they still recommend sun screen for exposed skin, Little Leaves sun protective clothing significantly decrease the sun exposed areas, therefore decreasing the amount of sun screen needed (a battle many of us would like to avoid!) and having to reapply sun screen over and over again. It is recommended sunscreen be applied at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied every 2 hours.
Due to the lack of available products in 2013 Carley and Carlos Gomez-Meade set out to provide sun protective play wear for children. The research began with finding the right fabric. They wanted a fabric that was gentle enough for children’s sensitive skin yet effective at protecting them from ultraviolet rays. After much research, we chose a bamboo, cotton, spandex blend. The fabric is made from 67.5% bamboo fibers. The sun protection is in the construction of the fabric and is not chemically treated like some competitors’ fabrics. Bamboo is an extremely soft, lightweight, fabric that is preferred for sensitive or eczema-prone skin.
- Naturally hypoallergenic
- Odor resistant
- More durable than traditional cotton
- Absorbent (moisture wicking) – absorbs 4 times more moisture than cotton
- Ultra light- weight is perfect for everyday wear
- Cooler than traditional fabrics of similar weave, more breathable than 100% cotton
- Environmentally friendly and chemical free – bamboo does not need pesticides or fertilizers to grow
This fabric not only blocks over 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, but also is ideal for children with eczema, atopic dermatitis, and other sensitive skin condition.
Little Leaves fabric has been tested and given the highest rating for sun protection (Ultraviolet Protection Factor 50). Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating for clothing is similar to the SPF rating for sunscreen.
- The fabric’s effectiveness at blocking ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburns, skin damage and skin cancer.
- A rating of 50 means that over 98% of ultraviolet radiation is blocked.
- For comparison, a regular white cotton T-shirt has a UPF rating around 5-10.
- The degree of sun protection of a fabric is determined by the weave, color and weight. Increased sun protection is found in fabrics that are a tighter weave, darker color or heavier weight. However, during the summer a lighter color and weight are preferred.
That’s why they developed a fabric that provides the highest UPF that is ultra lightweight and breathable without the use of chemicals. Laundering your sun protective clothing will not reduce the sun protection; in fact it will enhance the sun protection by slightly tightening the weave of the fabric.
Once the fabric was selected, the design process began. Little Leaves Clothing Company’s signature shirts come in a variety of colors and fun graphics fitted to both boys and girls. All graphics and screen prints are printed with chemical free, non-irritating water based dyes. The shirts are all long sleeve, for optimal protection, moisture wicking and lightweight enough to wear even on the hottest summer days. The sun-protective play pants come in coordinating colors, so your little one is safe from the sun’s rays and looking adorable at the same time!
You can find out more about Little Leaves Sun Protective Clothing for children and adults at their website, littleleaves.com.
Sponsored by Little Leaves. Opinions expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.