Are UPF Protective Sun Shirts A Sunscreen Replacement?
In a perfect world, we could all run around under the sun and there'd be no consequences. Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world. As warm and beautiful as the sun is, being too exposed to the sun can be harmful.
Not only is sunburn a risk, but more serious conditions like Melanoma are a factor as well. Thankfully, there are ways to combat against UV radiation.
If you're interested in learning how a sun shirt can give you extra protection against the sun, just keep reading.
What Is UPF?
UPF is an acronym for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which describes how much radiation a fabric permits to reach your skin. Most UPF fabrics block 98 % of the sun's rays, and it allows about 2% of the rays to penetrate. The low percentage significantly reduces the risk of sun exposure.
How Does UPF Differ From SPF?
SPF describes the amount of time you can stay in the sun before turning red. For instance, you could stand out in the sun for 20 minutes with no sunscreen before your skin reddens. However, using SPF 15 prevents sunburn 15 times longer.
All clothing, whether it's a sun shirt or not, offers some protection against the sun. A white, cotton shirt only has a UPF of 5. However, SPF material that's made by sun-blocking brands have a UPF of 50 or more.
Believe it or not, both sunscreen fabric and sunscreen lotion are regulated. UPF clothing is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, while SPF lotion is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Also, both SPF and UPF can wash and wear off. Most brands that sell UPF suggest that it can last up to 40 washes. Luckily, BloqUV apparel doesn't wash out.
What Makes Sunscreen Fabric Safe?
Your basic clothing can help shield you from the sun, but some fabrics work better than others. When shopping for apparel that protects against damaging rays, look for these features:
Loose-fitting clothing works best. If you choose tight apparel, it can stretch and minimize the level of protection available. Fibers on tight clothes can stretch, allowing more UV light seep through.
The more skin you cover, the better. An SPF long-sleeved shirt or pants offer more of a barrier and covers the areas that are most vulnerable to sunburn.
No matter what the UPF is for your sun shirt, if your clothing becomes stretched or dampened, it'll lose some of its protectiveness. Unfortunately, this is the natural process of wear and tear. Even UPF clothing is subject to losing its potency the more active you are in it.
Certain SPF material makers provide UPF labels that advise how much the garment keeps the sun's rays away.
Color: Dark or bright hues help to keep UV rays from penetrating the skin. They absorb the rays instead, which is why they provide a better shield against the sun than lighter shades.
Fabrics like denim, wool, woven cloth, and synthetic fibers cover more than thin clothing. To check a fabric's sun protection, hold it up to the light and see how easily the rays shine through. By doing so, it'll show how much of the sun will penetrate your skin.
The construction of your fabric is important. A sun shirt made from shiny polyesters can offer lots of shielding because UV rays reflect radiation. Also, fabrics covered with chemical UV absorbers or dyes stop a few sun rays from seeping in.
Who Can Benefit From Wearing a Sun Shirt?
UPF-rated apparel can protect anyone from UV rays. However, there some who benefit more from it, such as:
Children have thinner skin that's more sensitive. Sun damage at a young age can increase their chances of having UV-related problems as they age.
Dressing them in an SPF top or an SPF hat is essential to keeping them safe—especially since they love the outdoors.
Individuals with fair skin tend to burn easier than those with darker tones. So wearing clothes with SPF material is wise.
A sun shirt also helps to guard people with skin conditions like vitiligo and albinism. Sun exposure could be damaging to those who have sensitive reactions to sunlight, so the more of a barrier they have, the better.
Furthermore, even though individuals with dark skin tones don't burn as easily, they are still sensitive to sunlight and can still develop skin cancer. Therefore, sun-resistant clothing is beneficial for them too.
Live in a Sun Intense-Environment
People who live in high elevations or near the equator have a greater risk of sun exposure. Even those who spend lots of time on water should make sure to protect themselves by either wearing UPF clothing, sunscreen with an SPF of 30+, and even seeking shade when the sun is shining it's brightest.
People on Medication
Sun sensitivity intensifies when a person is using antibiotics, antihistamines, acne treatments, anti-inflammatories, and certain natural supplements.
If you are on any meds or using medicated creams, read the label carefully. It might have a warning about sun exposure.
Is a Sun Shirt Enough to Protect You?
Wearing a sun shirt by itself isn't enough to protect you from the sun. Although it's amazing for creating a barrier against UV rays, no protection method is 100% foolproof. Be sure to put on SPF sunscreen lotion in conjunction with UPF clothing.
That way, it adds an extra layer of defense against the sun. Plus, you can't wear clothing over your hands and face, so those areas will need an alternative form of protection. Nevertheless, there's no argument that UPF clothing is a godsend and works remarkably to safeguard against harmful sun rays.
If you're looking for sun protective clothing such as an SPF top or other protective apparel, browse our online store. We have a wide selection of sporting gear that's designed with you in mind. Not only does our clothing provide 98% UV protection, but it's also quick-dry, anti-microbial, chemical-free, and more.
If you have any questions about BloqUV, contact us. We're here to help.