| Seattle, Washington, USA|
Solumbra is a line of sun protection clothing and a patented fabric. Introduced in 1992, Solumbra was reviewed under medical device regulations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and by Health Canada. This was revolutionary; no sun protective clothing had previously been reviewed as a medical device in the U.S. or Canada. Solumbra offered improved and superior ultraviolet (UV) protection when compared to a conventional 30 SPF sunscreen and typical summer clothing. Solumbra sun protective clothing—hats, shirts, pants and accessories—is now rated at 100+ SPF.
Solumbra was developed as a personal sun protection clothing solution by Shaun Hughes, who was diagnosed and treated for malignant melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, at age 26 during a visit to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1983. After two surgeries, he found that traditional UV protection was not sufficient: he would sun tan through his sunscreen and sunburn through his summer clothing. Based upon medical research and involvement of UV and medical experts, Hughes developed the Solumbra line of fabric and clothing. Solumbra was reviewed under medical device regulations. Solumbra entered the U.S. marketplace soon after May 13, 1992. The Solumbra logo is a depiction of the sun’s rays eclipsed by effective sun protection that, in turn, provides an area of safe shade.
Solumbra sun protection fabrics rely on four methods to achieve sun protection: fiber content, weaving methods, fabric dyeing process and finishing process. The key concept is to prevent UV from transmitting through the fibers and apertures (holes between the fibers). Solumbra I fabric is protected by U.S. and international design and process patents. Hughes developed the technology without treatments or coatings that could lose their effectiveness and photoprotection after use, laundering and exposure to environmental factors. Solumbra clothing designs are based upon published medical guidelines. Designs are typically long sleeved, long legged and wide brimmed, all to provide maximum UV protection against both direct and indirect UV exposure.
Solumbra fabrics were at the forefront of in vitro and in vivo research into UV protection offered by fabrics. This research revealed that traditional summer clothing in North America offered less than 15 SPF protection, the minimum level recommended by doctors. R Sayre was the lead researcher of in vitro SPF testing for regular summer fabrics, which tested between SPF 5 to 9 when dry and SPF 3-9 when wet. Nicholas Lowe and R Sayre followed this up with in vivo research. They found that Solumbra offered over 50 SPF when dry or wet. In vivo research spearheaded by J Menter and Sayre, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, showed that most mice contracted squamous cell carcinoma (scc) skin cancers through typical summer fabrics and mice protected by Solumbra fabrics did not incur skin cancers. Subsequent research by Menter and Sayre found that specific Solumbra fabrics provided photoprotection for mice against injury from visible light when sensitized with the photosensitizer, ALA, compared to insufficient protection by typical summer fabric. Research was just presented by an independent researcher in March 2012 that showed that Solumbra fabrics now offer 100+ SPF even after 500 durability cycles.
The New York Times declared “Sun Precautions was the innovator, with its Solumbra line, which blocks more than 97 percent of UVA and UVB.” Solumbra has been featured in other leading publications and national media, including Time, U.S. News and World Report, People, MSNBC, The Today Show, The Los Angeles Times, Vogue, and Health. In October 2011, Travel and Leisure magazine found that Solumbra was one of the “'The Game Changers'--World’s Most Important Travel Innovations.” The American Academy of Dermatology recognized Solumbra and Sun Precautions with a “Gold Triangle Award” for assisting with skin cancer awareness and prevention.
Solumbra has been used by highly sun sensitive patients as well as by world-class athletes participating in international competition. Sun protection clothing can offer superior photoprotection because of typical sunscreen shortcomings: not equally broad spectrum, misapplication, low durability, allergic reaction, poor reapplication behavior, and poor cosmetic elegance. Sun protection clothing has become a choice of patients with skin cancer, lupus, vitiligo, porphyria, XP, and sun allergies.