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Clothes Protect Skin From Sun

Did you know that most cotton T-shirts and most summer weight fabrics allow as much as 50% of harmful UV rays through to your skin when dry and 60 to 70% when wet.


T-Shirts provide only moderate protection. In general, heavier, darker, more tightly woven fabrics like denim offer more sun protection than lightweight fabrics like linen and lace.

Hold Garment or Fabric Up to Light to Test for Sun Protection

Everyday apparel can provide protection. The easiest way to check if a fabric can protect your skin from the harmful UV rays is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it the rays can penetrate it, the UPF would probably be 15 or less. If light gets through, but you cant’ see through it, the UPF would probably be 15-50. If light is completely blocked by the fabric, the UPF would probably be over 50. Remember, most clothing when wet loses about one third of its sun protectiveness.

Hats Protect Facial Skin Greatly Like Hat from Coolibar

Hats that cover the head and neck offer great protection. Wide rims that go all the way around are the best. Open mesh baseball caps and open-weave straw hats don’t offer good sun protection because they allow UV rays in. This is a great hat from Coolibar, one of the top UPF clothing companies.

Rate the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) UPF of Clothing, Hat

UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor is a method of rating that indicates how effective a product is in protecting you from harmful UV rays. It was originally developed by the Australian government because Australians are exposed to a high level of sun and because Australia has the highest incident of skin cancer in the world. The rating table is: 15 – 24: “Good” - Provides protection from 93.3% to 95.9% of UV; 25 – 39: “Very Good” - Provides protection from 96.0% to 97.4% of UV; 40 and over: “Excellent” - Provides protection from 97.5% or more of UV.

Sun Protective Clothing Has an UPF of 15 to 50

In January 2001 new standards for sun protective fabrics were set in the US. Only clothes with a UPF of 15-50+ may be labeled as sun protective. Most are usually 50+ which is considered excellent protection. That means that only 1/50th of the UV radiation falling on the surface of the garment was allowed to pass through. It blocks 49/50ths or 98% of the UV radiation. That T-shirt you were wearing has an UPF of about 7 and even less when it’s wet. UPF rated clothing is manufactured using colorless compounds, fluorescent brighteners, reflectors, or specially treated resins that absorb UV or diffuse UV. Some are treated with a chemical sunblock. UPF clothing is also made from fabrics with the weave and colors that provide the best protection. The clothing is also designed to cover as much skin as possible while still being lightweight, cool, and comfortable to wear.

Increase in Melanoma Increases in Children and Women Over Past 20 Years

In the past 20 years there has been a 100% increase in the cases of pediatric melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Melanoma is increasing rapidly in women under 40, it is the most common cancer in young women aged 25-29.  One in five Americans will get skin cancer. More than 90% of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure. Fewer than 33 % of adults, adolescents, and children routinely use sun protection. I’d say that even just these few statistics (and there are many more scary statistics) need to be taken seriously. All of the research shows we must protect ourselves from the sun not only do we subject ourselves to the possibility of skin cancers but the sun also causes wrinkles, dark blotches, leathery skin, and can cause problems with our immune system. You can start protecting your kids from the start with clothing like the swim gear and hat pictured here available from Solartex, one of the top UPF clothing companies.

Protect Children from Sun Damage with Clothing Like Solartex

There are many companies that now offer UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) on their labels, the higher the value, the higher UV protection the clothing offers. Make sure to check the standards they follow in manufacturing, what testing they do, what certifications they have, and how well the fabrics are supposed to hold up after wearing and washing. The best companies make this information easy to find on their sites. I’ve looked at a lot of these sites while researching this article and I was impressed with the stylish clothing that is available, especially children’s clothing and at reasonable prices. Do you need a gift for someone? Take a look at these sites. I think an article of UPF clothing would be a great way to tell someone you love them.

While we don’t offer UPF clothing at Skincare-MD we do care deeply about protecting your skin and like to keep our patients up to date with the latest in sun protection. We carry many excellent broad spectrum sunscreens, the Jane Iredale line of mineral base makeup with broad spectrum sun protection, and many skincare regimens that can give you younger looking, healthier skin while offering sun protection. Call us at 1-877-415-0600 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST.

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