What’s Sun Protection Clothing? What’s UPF Treatment?

If you’re an active beachgoer, surfer or water baby, chances are you’ve complained about having to lather on the sunscreen every other time you turn around. After all, it’s recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours or so ― especially if you’re toweling off, swimming or sweating frequently. And although this won’t solve all your problems ― because it’s recommended to be used in coordination with sunscreen ― may we introduce to you sun protection clothing?

Huh? How is it different than just regular old clothes, you ask?

Well for starters, dermatologist, Alok Vij, MD, says that when talking about fabrics use the term “UPF,” which stands for ultraviolet protection factor. And with sunscreen, use the term “SPF,” or the more familiar sun protection factor. “Most cotton shirts give you an equivalent of about a UPF of 5 when you’re wearing it,” he explains.

“Most fabrics that we wear are a loose weave that lets visible light peek through and get to our skin. With UPF-protected clothes, the weave is different and often times is made from a special fabric to help form a barrier against the sun’s rays.”

UV light can penetrate through the micro holes in the weaves of regular clothes or can even travel directly through a light-colored shirt. With UPF clothing, the block is much greater, giving you more protection from the sun. Of course, clothing with UPF only protects the areas of your body that are covered by the treated fabric.

Most sun protection clothing looks and feels like active wear or athleisure and comes in a variety of shirts, leggings and hats. And because of the higher thread count, it often feels a little more luxurious vs. your standard T-shirt.

Post time: Jan-20-2021