In this fast-paced world, our chaotic daily routines can prevent us from paying proper attention to our health. Sure, there are diet plans and efficient workout sessions that keep our bodies fit and fine, but how many of us pay close attention to the health of our skin?
No matter how expensive skincare products we use are, our skin is always at-risk if outdoor activities are part of our routine. Makeup and skincare brands release various sun protective lotions for skin every year, claiming effective sun protection to prevent wrinkles. These brands don’t warn consumers about the greatest hazard of sun exposure: skin cancer.
Along with its bright light, the sun also produces ultraviolet radiation. When the skin encounters these rays, we become extremely vulnerable to skin issues. These issues, including skin cancer, are a problem that need to be taken seriously.
Why You Need UPF Clothing
Proper protection from the sun doesn’t mean that we must sit inside all day as protection from dangerous sun exposure. Thanks to the latest technologies, we have the option of sun-protective clothing that will prevent ultraviolet rays from reaching the upper layer of our skin.
UPF, also known as the ultraviolet protection factor, is the scale for fabrics that determines the effectiveness of fabric against ultraviolet radiation. Whether you’re destined for a tropical vacation or just an afternoon at the beach, the World Skin Care Foundation highly recommends UPF clothing.
Just like SPF can be calculated (e.g. a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 isn’t as effective as a sunscreen with an SPF of 30), the ultraviolet factor can be calculated as well. This allows us to provide you with the best sun-protective clothing available. In terms of clothing, UPF ranging from 30 to 45 is safe enough for a casual sunny day. UPF 50 is known to provide the maximum level of protection for a significant span of time.
It’s hard to argue that everyone should be wearing UPF clothing, but sun protective clothing may cost you a little extra than regular clothing – due to the special design, fabric, and practicality. So, is it worth investing in this special type of clothing?
Top 8 Reasons to Consider Sun Protective Clothing
- Approved sun protective clothing gives you assurance of protection against UV rays: Without formal fabric testing, you cannot tell what level of protection you get from your clothing. A regular t-shirt may have an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 5, which is equivalent to applying sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 5. Such a garment allows nearly 20% of UV rays to penetrate through its fabric. On the other hand, a fabric assessed and rated UPF50+ is as powerful as sunscreen with SPF50+ and can offer protection against 98% of UV rays from the sun.
- Sun protective clothing helps diminish the effects of direct sun exposure: Sun protective hats and clothing are specially designed to offer maximum sun protection. For instance, a sun protective shirt is likely to come with long sleeves, collars and thumbholes to help you safeguard even the back of your hands. Likewise, a sun protective hat may have a broad brim or supplied with a legionnaire flap for neck and ear protection.
- Specialized sun protective clothing with UPF50+ can keep you comfortable during scorching summer days: In addition to offering sun protection, this type of clothing are manufactured using specialized fabrics that are not just lightweight and moisture-absorbing, but breathable as well. Therefore, these clothes allow you to stay comfortable in hot weather conditions.
- Sun protective clothing is trendy and versatile too: There are many sun protective clothing brands that offer a stylish, broad range of clothing for daily and occasional use. This means, you can wear sun protective clothing and still look fabulous.
- Sun protective clothing is recommended by medical professionals: Dermatologists and skin cancer physicians across the globe assert that sun protective clothing is one of the most effective ways to protect the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun – even more effective than sunscreen!
Wearing a shirt with UPF50+ is as good as applying sunscreen with SPF50+, but with better likelihood of protection. The reason being, the shirt will provide continuous protection, but sunscreen can rub off the skin or become less effective via sweating or movement. Moreover, many people tend to apply less than the recommended quantity of sunscreen and often forget to reapply it every 2 hours to maintain the required level of skin protection. This may increase the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer.
- The cost of treating skin cancer can cost much more than the cost of sun protective clothing: Without any insurance support, the treatment of pre-cancer/skin cancer can cost you thousands of dollars. Hence, investing a little extra on sun protective clothing to prevent skin damage can make a big difference.
- Nearly 90% of skin aging is because of skin’s overexposure to sunlight: The secret to enjoying a youthful, glowing skin is to limit your skin’s exposure to the sun. Sun rays cause proteins in your skin to degrade, making it appear dull, dry and saggy over time. The good news is that you can prevent this simply by taking proper sun protective measures – like wearing sun protective clothing.
- Sun protective clothing is a kind of long-term health investment: This special type of clothing offers protection to the largest organ in our body, the skin, which is irreplaceable. Investing in reliable UPF50+ clothing today means you are safeguarding your skin against potential damage in the years to come.
Need we say more? While sun protective clothing may be more of a financial investment than regular clothing, the investment in your health is worth it. Choosing great quality clothing also means that these pieces will last you through many sun-filled days.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, clothing is the “first line of defence” against the sun and the harmful UV rays that it emits – which is the leading cause of virtually all types of skin cancer. To be true, clothing offers more protection than any sunscreen as most individuals don’t use sunscreens as they should ideally be used. And, this is the reason behind all the fuss over UV protective clothing today.
But, do all types of clothing provide equal level of protection against the sun? Certainly not. So, what exactly can offer the real UV protection? Well, that depends on many factors. Here are five things to consider when buying apparel for your family with UV protection in mind.
What to Look for in UPF Protective Clothing
The colour of what you wear may affect how well you are protected against the sun. Simply put, bright or dark clothes in black, red and navy blue tones absorb more UV rays than clothes in lighter shades like white or pastels. For instance, a white cotton tee has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of around 5. The thumb rule is that the more intense the tone of the clothing, the better the protection from the sun.
Similar to colours, the texture, material, and weaving pattern of your clothing may impact the way it can protect you from the UV rays. Semisynthetic or synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon offer the best sun protection. Heavy, dense and tightly woven textiles like denim, wool, and corduroy also offer the same level of protection.
On the other hand, lightweight and natural fabrics, such as crepe, silk, and refined or bleached cotton are thinner and allow more light to pass through them. Hence, they offer less UV protection.
There are specialized type of clothing on the market that come with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) ratings. This is similar to the SPF rating of sunscreens, and thus, gives an estimate of how well it can protect you from the sun’s UV rays. The number shows what fraction of the UV rays can pass through the fabric. For instance, a T-shirt with UPF 50 will only allow 1/50th of the UV rays to penetrate its fabric and reach your skin.
Obviously, the more you keep your skin covered, the more protected you are against the UV rays. This rule is applicable to hats too! A hat with a broad brim – 3 inches or more – works best. A pair of UV-filtering sunglasses along with a broad-brimmed hat offer an extra layer of protection against UV rays, especially to those areas of the skin that we often forget to cover when moving out in the sun, such as the ears and scalp. Always choose a tightly woven hat for optimum sun protection. For sunglasses, pick a study one with wider lenses to cover your eyes, eyelids, and the surrounding areas as much as possible.
It may sound contradictory, but looser fabrics offer much better protection than tighter clothing. Reason being, tight clothing can cause the fabrics to stretch or tear, creating more space between them for the UV rays to pass in to your skin.
Where to Shop for Sun-Protective Clothing
UPF clothing is now conveniently available online. There are many well-known online stores customized specifically for UPF clothing and accessories. In the UVwise online catalog, it’s simple to find any UPF product you need or want. From shirts and pants to hats and other accessories, you can find everything to keep you and your family covered.
No single sun-protective measure in itself is complete. Therefore, professionals recommend using shade, clothing, hats, sunscreens, and sunglasses together round the year to ensure all-inclusive sun protection.
To learn more, be sure to check out our blog post on All You Need to Know About UV Protective Clothing.