It’s no secret that everyone needs to be more diligent than ever when it comes to sun protection. Fortunately, choosing the right clothing can make it easier. Discover exactly what factors make clothing sun-safe, and how you can get the optimal protection with your clothing choices.
While having great, well-fitting clothing is important every day, having a good fit is a key factor to keep in mind when it comes to sun protection, too. Clothing should be slightly loose-fitting but not extremely oversized. Apparel that is too oversized can leave more areas of the skin exposed and not fully cover the areas it is supposed to. This can minimize the protection of even the best fabrics. Items that are too tight will reduce protection because the material will pull and more of the sun’s rays will make contact with the skin. To be your most stylish — and most protected — choose clothing that fits you well.
The basics of color science apply when it comes to sun protection, too. Darker colors, and even bright ones, can be more protective than pales shades and light colors. So a good rule of thumb when choosing clothing to protect yourself from the sun is to go with a deep, dark, or vivid of a color as you can. Even a shade like bright yellow will protect you better than white. The reason? Dark, deep, or more pigmented fabrics will absorb more UV rays and thereby prevent them from reaching your skin as easily.
Some materials are just better performers when it comes to sun protection, but fortunately, there are lots of options. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, some good options include natural cotton (which can absorb UV rays) and silks or shiny fabrics, which can reflect sun rays. Other good choices include many synthetic and high-tech fabrics, including polyester and rayon.
Besides the type of fabric, another aspect that makes clothing more or less protective is the construction and weave of the materials. Dense fabrics and tight weaves will allow less light to pass through, which is why options like denim, corduroy, and wool are good choices. Very thin or sheer fabrics can be less protective since more light will pass through the material. However, thinner fabrics like those used in some beach cover-ups can be made more protective with UPF.
One of the most exciting innovations in clothing is the introduction of UPF fabrics. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and these fabrics are specially made to block the sun’s rays from reaching the skin. This means that many types of favorite spring and summer fabrics can be worn with peace of mind when they have UPF. The UPF factor relates directly to how much UV is being blocked by the fabric. For example, an item with a UPF factor of 50 will block 98% of the sun’s rays from reaching your skin! A standard item of clothing may only have a UPF factor of 5 to 8, which makes UPF fabrics significantly more protective than regular items.
There are so many advantages of UPF fabrics, from the convenience to the fact that they are used in many cute, stylish looks, which is why they are becoming popular choices for anything from swimsuits to activewear and even some items of women’s loungewear. There are currently three levels of UPF fabrics: items ranked Good, with a UPF of 15 to 29; items ranked Very Good, with a UPF of 30 to 49; and items ranked Excellent, with a UPF of 50 or above. Any item with a UPF of 30 or more can be given a seal of recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation.
One aspect of clothing that many people don’t realize is that what happens when you wear an item can impact how proactive it is. For example, when fabrics are stretched, they are not as protective. Items that become damp or wet will also be less protective. This is another reason why people turn to UPF fabrics. Items such as swimwear or rash guards will have that added boost against harmful rays, even when wet or stretched.
Everyone, regardless of age or interests, deserves to have trusted sun protection. When you consider the factors that can impact how sun-safe clothing is, it can help you make the right choices for different activities. Choosing the best fabric types, weaves, and colors can help you safeguard against sun damage. UPF clothing is another hassle-free alternative that gives many people peace of mind when it comes to sun protection. Armed with the knowledge and options you need to stay protected from the sun, you and your entire family can be free to enjoy outdoor activities in confidence all year round.