What is sun protection clothing?
Sun protection clothing has a UPF rating, UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate a fabric and reach your skin. It measures both UVA and UVB rays (kind of like a broad spectrum sunscreen). UPF 50 + clothing only allows 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to penetrate the fabric therefore blocking at least 98% of UV rays from reaching your skin. A fabric with a UPF 5 rating allows 1/5th of UV rays to penetrate the fabric, only blocking 80% of UV rays.
There are different qualities that make a fabric or garment more likely to have a higher UPF rating: dark and bright colours, dense/tight weave, looser fitting, and more coverage means better protection. If clothing gets wet or stretched it will lose some of its protective ability.
Why wear UPF clothing?
UPF sun protection clothing provides the most consistent and reliable protection. You don’t have to worry about missing a hard to reach spot or reapplying.
A typical white t-shirt has a UPF rating of about 5. This means it allows 1/5th or 20% of the sun’s UV rays to penetrate the fabric and reach your skin. All this exposure really adds up over time. And while you may not get a burn, there is still damage being done and this damage is cumulative and irreversible. Also, depending on the fit, the coverage, and the weight of the fabric, many clothes we wear provide even less protection. If you can see light pass through your clothing or if it pulls across any part of your body like the shoulder, it’s probably not providing adequate protection.
Where to find UPF clothing?
There are many options for the beach or athletic wear available. But the sun doesn’t just shine at the beach or during your activity. It shines everywhere and every day. Check out this Canadian company MorrisonRowe (www.morrisonrowe.com) for casual, everyday options for the whole family that are designed and made in Calgary, AB.