Does Sun Protective (UPF) Clothing Really Work?

If you are a Floridian, an avid beach goer, or a person who enjoys the great outdoors, you have likely complained about having to lather on sunscreen all the time. Let’s be honest, with the recommendation to reapply every two hours…who can keep up?! UPF clothing can be a great addition to your arsenal while combating sun exposure. And while it’s recommended to use UPF clothing in addition to sunblock, wearing it will certainly help reduce the amount of times you have to reapply!

UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. While all clothing provides some protection from the sun’s harmful rays, UPF clothing is made from a special fabric with a tighter weave, which helps block UV rays from penetrating through microholes in the fabric. UPF clothing has a rating that indicates how much UV radiation the fabric blocks. UPF ratings typically range anywhere from 15 to 50 UPF. But what do those numbers actually mean? Well, if your new sun shirt comes with a 50 UPF rating that means your shirt will only allow 1/50 or 2% of UV rays to get through. Sounds pretty good, right?!

The biggest downside to UPF clothing is the expense. The fabrics are expensive and that makes the cost to you, the consumer, expensive too. There are a lot of companies that claim that their clothing protects you from the sun, but it’s important to note that the Skin Cancer Foundation only awards its stamp of approval to clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or higher. Think of buying UPF clothing as an investment in your health. Afterall, wearing UPF clothing now will certainly help keep you out of the dermatology office for skin cancer treatment in the future!

Remember UPF clothing alone isn’t enough to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. So when packing your beach bag be sure pack your UPF clothing and hat, sunblock, and umbrella! And, regardless of how great you are with sun protection, you will still benefi­t from a skin check with your dermatologist!

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