Are Light Colors The Reason To Invest In UPF Clothing for you? I hate to admit it, but the importance of light colors in the heat finally hit home to me.
Our summer has had lots of bright clear blue sky this year. By noon the days have been hot, with near 100 degrees temperatures, only to climb even higher by 4 PM.
I saw a group of bicycle riders go by a few days ago. The riders with lighter color hoodies were wearing them. The ones with darker color hoodies had theirs tied around their waist and hips.
Seeing these dozen or so riders rang a bell in my knowledge about color and heat absorbing and heat reflecting.
The riders were spaced out and not in a cluster on the road. They rode on past the road that turns into our housing neighborhood. They turned onto the road past that allowed them to circle back around in front of our house.
So I got to observe from the front porch and realized that they were using the science of color. Along with the science of UPF clothing.
The hoodies fitted their bodies but were a loose fit. Not binding, allowing some air to flow through and cool their bodies.
The darker colored hoodies, one was red, the other three were blue or black were tied about their waists, but not bulky at all. This made me know they were also lightweight and probably UPF fabric. The color was the difference!
The lighter colors were reflecting the sun, the darker color soaking the rays up and making the rider wearing it warmer.
So there was my reason for investing in UPF or sun blocking clothing! I would not get as hot and would wear it!
Would This Be Reason Enough To Invest In UPF Clothing?
A lifetime of experience has taught me to be frugal. One revelation about color science and how it affects me won’t be enough to make me order everything I wear from the UPF class of clothing.
It will make me look again at a couple of items I had noticed in online ads that drown me online.
Yes, Google has noticed that I am always reading about sun blocking clothing and trying to figure out how to use this information for myself.
You may feel that the cost of specially treated and designed clothing is not out of line for you. It just doesn’t line up with my “line” of budget for clothing. Buying all UPF rated would limit an already lean budget! Also, it would mean changing my shopping habits.
Color And Sun Blocking Clothing
Are you asking yourself how much of a difference the color of UPF clothing matters? Dark colors are supposed to be better at preventing the sun from reaching your skin than light colors.
Let’s say there are two identical UPF 50+ shirts. One is white or light grey and the other is black or navy.
Will the lighter color shirt or the darker color shirt protect you from the sun more? Or is the difference negligible?
While most UPF clothing does tend to come in lighter colors, I now understand why! I could just always see myself getting spots and sitting on a dirty bench, so I was letting my personal feelings about the color discourage the white and light colors!
Have you been overthinking it? Both shirts will protect you if the shirts have an equal UPF rating. You’ll be protected from the sun with a white UPF50 shirt. And you will be cooler too.
Light colors keep you cooler! This is why UPF clothing is usually in a lighter color. People could just wear their clothing from their closet in a dark color with a closely woven fabric. Such as the denim ones they already have that are usually more comfortable in the wintertime.
UPF clothing has to offer something different. Being able to stay safe from the sun and stay cooler as well is the trick. It is the gimmick that makes me invest in UPF clothing.
Summertime Makes Cooler Better!
So, now that we have figured out the secret to sun blocking clothing, COLOR! UPF clothing has some more secrets!
Generally speaking, any color fabric will block some of the UV light that causes sunburns. However, darker fabric and more tightly woven will be the most effective.
Denim is a well-known tightly woven fabric that we all wear. This old favorite fabric has a UPF factor of 1700, according to the Environmental Workers Group
This high rating means that it effectively blocks 100 percent of the sun’s rays. So wearing a comfortable pair of jeans that are not worn out or have holes in them would protect my skin from the sun.
But who wants to go for a trail run wearing jeans?
A study by Boise State University researchers found that many of the fabrics used for summer clothing fell short of the 30 factor of protection.
Experts recommend that there be a minimum of at least 30. Skin Cancer.com advises us that at least a level of 30 is important for skin safety in the sun.
A newer white-polyester T-shirt in the study had a UPF value of barely 17. The all-cotton fabric in the button-up shirt had a UPF of about 12.
Linen, is a favorite of many, for a fabric of choice in the summertime heat. However, be aware, that linen offers virtually no sun protection. It is better than nothing, but barely.
That old favorite white cotton tee shirt that has been washed too many times offers less than a 5 protection level.
Once clothes have been washed and worn many times, they have lost a great deal of protection ability. Again better than bare skin, but barely.
Is UPF Clothing A Gimmick For Marketing Purposes?
Many clothing brands that make outdoor wear have developed ways to manufacture clothes specifically to filter UV light. These clothes protect your skin from the sun while remaining breathable.
A recent study was published in Cancers, a journal about cancers.
The researchers found that UPF clothing can actually be more effective than sunscreen at blocking the sun’s rays.
As the manufacturers are increasing their ability to offer style and allow the wearer to stay cool and comfortable our options grow.
A DIY For More Sun Protection
When you have a young growing family, often the expense of UPF clothing for the members of your family seems a bit too much.
Young skin needs sun protection. And until their mid-teens or so their skin is still maturing. Protection from the sun is important for everyone, especially kids whose skin is not mature yet.
There are some products that you can wash into their clothes that will extend the protection they get from the clothing they already have.
Rit brand that makes our old-fashioned dyes that you can use in the washer makes a product. It is available online, but I haven’t found it in our stores locally.
I am sure there are others out there too.
Color brightness and fabric treatments that make garments new again also add softeners and other treatments into the fabric itself. This will increase the protection of a garment you already own. Returning the moisture and fluff to old packed-down threads and fabrics will extend their life and make them more sun resistant.
These treatments last through many laundry cycles. They fluff the threads and make the fabric looker as well as the fluff makes the weave tighter.
These steps all help keep your family protected for less.
We just collect all the worn tee shirts and wash them all at one time.
Having a washer full makes more sense to me than just doing one or two. I even use the treatment on my husband’s worn undershirts. I don’t want him to have any more basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas to have to deal with.
There are little things we can do to start protecting our skin. What can you do to keep your family safer?
Sami’s Take On Are LightColors The Reason To Invest In UPF Clothing?
Staying cool in the warmer temperatures of the summers we have in Central Texas is important. For that reason, semi-retired people like me stay indoors a lot.
However, a grandkids ball game could find me getting out and being in the heat. Having a way to stay protected from the sun, and reasonably comfortable is important.
Of course, being comfortable in a temperature of high 90s and higher is a relative thing. Wearing clothing that will breathe and allow you to cool when you sweat is important.
As well as looking reasonably cool. 10-year-old grandsons notice if you dress weirdly. So, it is important to not embarrass them.
I am grateful for the ways I can work with clothing to protect my skin and stay as comfortable as possible.
You, with your more active lifestyle, need to stay aware as well and do what is reasonable to keep yourself protected from the dangers of too much sun.