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A family wearing UV protection clothing outside

Fashion and Skincare Come Together with UV Clothing

What is UV Protection Clothing?

The best way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is with UV protection clothing. The sun’s rays include ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer, premature skin aging, and sunburn. Ultraviolet or Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing gives you more control with reducing your UV exposure. Here is everything that you need to know when shopping for UV protection clothing.

More is More

The more layers you wear, the more you’re protected from the sun. This is also possible with UV protection swimwear, which consists of a two-piece or one-piece suit with a long-sleeved shirt. For example, a long-sleeved UV shirt tends to cover more than a typical T-shirt, especially if it has a neckline or collar.

UV pants tend to cover more than cargo shorts. A wide-brimmed UV hat will protect more of your head and face than a baseball cap. UV protection swimwear will offer more protection than a bikini or one-piece suit. In addition, UV sunglasses that wrap around your face will protect your eyes more than traditional sunglasses do.

Fabric Factors

While it’s important to wear sun protection clothing that covers every part of your body, if the sun goes through it, it’s not as effective. UV passes through most traditional fabrics. Sun protection clothing is usually made from tighter knits and fabrics. Open weave fabrics offer less protection.

Thanks to advancements in technology, UV clothing can be made from a wide variety of fabrics such as cotton, nylon, and wool. Most of these fabrics absorb UV rays and feature elastic threads that tightly weave the fibers together, decreasing the space between the holes. However, synthetic materials such as acrylic, lycra, nylon, and polyester are more protective than bleached or traditional fabrics.

You should consider the fabric’s density and weight when shopping for sun protective clothing. For example, lighter fabrics such as gauze and silk will provide less protection than denim.

Color Comparisons

Most sun protective clothing that you’ll find is dyed in bright colors and prints. Most of these dyes absorb UV rays, which reduce your exposure to the sun. In addition, darker colors absorb more UV rays than lighter colors. The darker or more vivid the color, the better the protection it provides.

However, even lighter colors can provide ideal protection if the material, weave, and weight are effective at blocking UV rays. Since most white fabrics have features such as optical whitening agents, these chemical compounds absorb UVR and UVA rays.

UV Rating

When it comes to shopping for UV-treated clothing, it’s hard to see how protective a piece of clothing is with the naked eye. The naked eye can’t see UV radiation. It’s important to shop for garments with UV labels. This label means the fabric has been tested and you can feel good about the level of protection the garment provides.

The UPF rating is based on the color, construction, content, and weight of the fabric. It also shows how much UV is penetrated through the fabric. For example, a long-sleeved shirt with a UPF of 50 means that 1/50 of the sun’s UV rays hit your skin. This provides more sun protection than a plain white T-shirt, which has a UPF of 5. Elastane and lycra fabrics are known to have a UPF rating of 50 or more, along with nylon and polyester.

Construction

Like most of the clothes you wear, the texture and weave of your UV-treated clothing can help you determine how well it protects you from the sun’s rays. For example, semi-synthetic and synthetic materials such as polyester and rayon are the best choices for UV protection. It’s imperative to choose fabrics that are dense and heavy such as corduroy, denim, or wool.

On the other hand, breathable and lightweight fabrics are ideal as well. Some of those materials include bleached or refined cotton, crepe, and silk. These materials have a thinner texture. They allow more air and light to pass through.

UV protection clothing doesn’t have to be ugly and unattractive. It can be colorful, fashionable, and fun to wear. When it’s chosen and worn properly, it’s the best form of sun protection you can give yourself.