The long, hot days of summer are the perfect time for fishing trips, beach vacations, and lounging by the pool. However, in the middle of having fun, it can be easy to forget to apply and reapply sunscreen. Fortunately, there are more options for sun protection than ever before. This year, don’t get burned. Try wearing high-UPF shirts outdoors to protect skin.
What Is UPF?
Many people are familiar with SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, which is used in sunscreen, and other products like makeup, to represent the amount of protection compared to untreated skin. For example, a person wearing SPF 15 can stay in the sun for 15 times longer than a person wearing no protection before they get burned.
UPF, on the other hand, stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It is a measure of a fabric’s ability to block harmful ultraviolet light. UPF is expressed as a number that represents the amount of ultraviolet light blocked. A higher number corresponds to better protection. For example, a UPF of 30 means that only 1/30th of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays penetrate the cloth. While UPF ratings are growing more popular in clothing, they can apply to almost any fabric sunblock—for example, umbrellas.
What Fabrics Work Best?
Generally, the tighter the weave and heavier the fabric, the less light is allowed to pass through the material. Denim, for example, is great at blocking the sun’s rays. The problem is that these fabrics are not the most comfortable options in the heat of summer. Thankfully, there are a number of new fabrics designed to be light in weight but heavy on protection. Look for clothes with tight weaves and strong dyes that break up ultraviolet radiation. Nylon and polyester make excellent options, as their polymer structure disrupts UV light. Compared to regular cotton shirts, specially-designed UPF shirts offer superior sun protection without inhibiting comfort or mobility.
Avoid uncomfortable sunburns and the long-term impacts of sun exposure with high UPF clothing. Stay safe and active all season long!