Clothing is our first line of defense against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, but not all clothing is a perfect fit when it comes to sun protection.
Some tips when it comes to sun-safe clothing:
- Long sleeves and pants naturally cover more than t-shirts and shorts
- Wide brimmed hats help keep your ears, neck and face from sun exposure
- Tightly woven fabrics protect better than loose weaves
- Synthetics (and those with elastic threads) like polyester, rayon, nylon and lycra tend to reflect more rays
- Dense fabrics like denim offer better UV protection
- Colors can vary in UV reflection – bright colors tend to limit exposure better than whites and pales
Many apparel companies now offer outdoor and active clothing designed specifically to block both UVA and UVB rays. Rated by an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which is similar to the SPF of sunscreen, clothing with a UPF of 50 will only allow approximately 1/50th (or about 2%) of UV radiation to pass through the fibers. 15-20 UFP is a “good” range, 25-30 is very good and 40 – 50+ is the best.
Find more information on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website’s article on clothing and sun protection: