Sun Protective Clothing
As summer is knocking on our door, we should all protect our skin better, avoid any possible consequences, and sun protective clothing can be quite handy for the matter.
You can still hide in the shades, yet, you are not safe anywhere.
Sun rays are finding their way to get to your skin, and wearing only sunscreen might not be so helpful after all.
Have you considered of buying some sun protective clothing?
Yes, sun protection clothing are specially created and designed to filter UV rays and give you higher rate of protection when you are outdoors.
Rating of this type of clothing is between 15 and 50, just as same as SPF sunscreen. Fabrics which are rated below UPF 15 are not considered as UV protective,so, you should avoid those.
The rating is based on factors such as fiber density and structure: thread count per inch and other items are treated with a UV-inhibiting ingredient.
Wearing sun protective clothing doesn’t mean that you should not use any sunscreen. On a contrary. Both can give you higher level of sun protection you need.
Some recommend using upf 50 clothing as a highest level of protection. It allows only 2% of UV rays to go through clothing.
For example, if you are outdoor most of the day, sporting, walking the dog, playing football, volleyball, surfing or else, wearing long sleeved sun protective clothing is a perfectly good choice.
Or… wearing a brimmed hat. It covers and protects not only your face and top of the head, but also your neck, shoulders and ears. Simple baseball hat can’t offer you that kind of protection.
Bottom line: The sun can damage every exposed part of your body. It is accumulating over the years, gradually adding risks of premature skin aging and skin cancer.
The more skin you cover, the better.
Factors That Enhance UPF Rating
Fabrics are see-through, and you can’t see it with a bare eye. They are made of tiny fibers knitted together and if you put them under a microscope, you will see much space in between. That is the place when your sun protection is jeopardized.
You should use tightly woven fabrics as they can give you much more protection desired.
Today, many fabrics are made from cotton, wool and nylon. Most of them naturally absorb some UV radiation, and some have elastic threads that pull the fibers tightly together, reducing the spaces between the holes,which is excellent.
Many dyes that are used to color fabric, absorb UV rays which helps to reduce some sun exposure. Darker colors have the ability to absorb more UV rays than lighter colors, but bright colors such as red, can also substantially absorb UV rays.
Dense and tight fabric construction can minimize the amount of UV light that can pass through. Thicker fabrics can also reduce UV transmission.
There are chemicals and dyes that are effective at absorbing UV light, and usually are added to enhance UPF in fabrics.
Polyester does an excellent job at disrupting UV light, as does nylon. Wool and silk are moderately effective. Cotton, rayon, flax and hemp fabrics often score low without added treatments.
Factors That Reduce UPF Rating
Before you decide of buying UPF clothing, consider the following:
For many types of materials, wetness can cause a significant reduction in a fabric’s UPF rating. Some studies suggest that polyester may actually protect slightly better when it is in wet condition.
Fabric wear and stretch
As a fabric becomes worn or faded, it becomes less effective at blocking UV light. Stretched fabric can lose a significant amount of its UPF, so consider of replacing any worn out item for better protection.
Look For UPF Rating In Clothes
If you think that just by looking a piece of clothing you can determine density of protection-you are fooling yourself. It is impossible to do it.
Instead, you should try to find sun protection clothing where it is clearly stated UPF rating.
The label means that the fabric has been tested in a laboratory, and consumers can be confident about the listed level of protection.
It is based on the content, weight, color and construction of the fabric, indicating how much UV can penetrate the fabric.
Who Will Benefit From Sun Protective Clothing
UPF-rated clothing enhances everyone’s protection against UV-related health risks, but it is especially helpful for:
They have thinner and more sensitive skin. Prevent any damage at early age, and lower their risk of more serious problems later in life.
People taking medications
Sun sensitivity is increased by a wide range of medications taken. Double-check all your medications for sun interference between them.
Sun sensitive people
People with fair skin that burns easily are more vulnerable to UV rays.
People at equatorial regions
Sun intensity is greater in each of these environments.
People with dark skin tones
They might rarely show signs of burning, but they can still develop skin cancer.
Maintenance Of UPF Clothing
Washing your clothing can either increase or decrease its UPF, depending on several factors:
Detergents with brighteners
While most detergents contain brighteners, most of them do enhance the UPF, but, there’s no way to tell for certain if a given detergent will enhance your garment’s rating.
Check to see if your garment states that its UPF rating is good for a specific number of washes.
UPF should remain relatively unchanged as a result of washing until it diminishes, simply because the fabric becomes worn or faded.
Tips For Buying Sun Safe Clothing
- If you are buying elastic garments like yoga leggings, running tights and workout leggings, make sure you purchase the right size because overstretching will lower the UPF rating.
- Don’t wear a heavy work shirt for the beach, but a long-sleeved linen one that can can be both cool and sun smart.
- Look for garments with a UPF of at least 30 so that you know you’re getting effective sun protection.
- Wash new garments made from cotton or cotton blends for about 2-3 times at least. This can often permanently raise the UPF rating due to shrinkage of the spaces between the fibers.
- Choose garments that cover more skin, as a swim shirt. Made of lightweight, elastic materials like spandex, these athletic tops will cover your upper body without weighing you down. You can also have beach skirts or sarongs ready for when you leave the water.
- Select wide-brimmed hats that shade your face, neck and ears.
- Be aware that UV light can bounce off surfaces such as water, snow and glass, hitting your skin twice and increasing the intensity of exposure.
- When outdoors, seek out shaded areas under trees and minimize your time of exposure on direct sun.
- Use UV-filtering sunglasses and sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 for everyday exposure ,and 30 or higher for extended sun exposure.
- Apply sunscreen on all exposed areas — clothing can’t cover everything
Remember, sun protective clothing doesn’t have to be boring – it can be light, bright, fashionable and fun.
And when chosen and used correctly, it’s the best form of sun protection you can find.
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