Are you sun blocking clothing savvy? If you have some skill in the understanding of how sun blocking clothing works will make you able to adjust to changing seasons.
Do you know what you can expect from your clothing? Do you know what sun blocking clothing will and won’t do?
It is important to protect our skin from too much sun year-round, not just in the summertime. Wintertime sun damage is as dangerous as summertime damage.
Watching my children face many similar struggles as I have with skin cancer intensified my commitment to breaking the cycle. For the past four years, I’ve immersed myself in the study of sun-blocking clothing. This was driven by a singular purpose: to put an end to the relentless cycle of skin cancer for my grandkids and generations to come.
In the pursuit of the best skin health, protecting oneself from harmful UV radiation goes beyond the sunny days of summer.
While sunscreen is a well-known ally, what we need from sun-protective clothing, often remains misunderstood. With some savvy for how clothing and color can work to keep you safe from skin damage.
The year-round importance of sun-protective clothing offers insights into its selection and styles. Adding color knowledge allows for consideration of special needs like making use of clothing we already have.
The Perpetual Threat of UV Radiation
Do you understand the year-round impact of when, where, and how often you are exposed to UV radiation?
Realizing what we are exposed to is how we understand the need to adopt a comprehensive approach to skin protection.
The sun, with its ultraviolet rays, poses risks ranging from premature aging to skin cancers.
Sunscreen, while crucial, comes with limitations, including reduced protection power over time.
This opens the door for sun-protective clothing. A layer of clothing on your skin offers a constant and reliable defense mechanism.
The Science Behind Sun-Protective Clothing
The science behind sun-protective clothing is pretty simple. When your skin is covered, and the sun can’t get through, its rays can’t burn your skin!
Your DNA stays intact, and if damage occurs, it will replace itself with more healthy skin. Simple as that.
Anything between you and the sun is better than nothing. And of course, there are different amounts of protection offered by different clothing. Ranging from UPF 3, which is what a white older tee shirt protects, to UPF 50 which is as protected as you can get. The sun is blocked out.
Yes, you can get the same blocked out from the sun with sunscreen:
- If your sunscreen is in full volume and not getting old and beyond the effective dates.
- Did you get a good full coat on when you were rubbing it on?
- Have you been sweating?
- Did you get in the water?
- It has not been over 90 minutes has it?
- What was the SPF? It was a full spectrum, wasn’t it?
You can understand why sunscreen could use some help.
The reason protecting your skin from the sun is quite simple. Skin cancer risks. Well, that and early aging!
UPF Ratings, What the Numbers Tell You
Sun blocking clothing comes with UPF ratings.
These numbers tell you how much sun is blocked when you are wearing the garment.
This gives you a measure of its effectiveness in blocking UV radiation. This allows you to figure out how much the skin is protected.
The higher the UPF rating, the greater the protection.
Fabrics with tight weaves and denser compositions generally achieve higher UPF ratings.
The importance of fabric selection in the overall results of sun protection that you get when you purchase UPF clothing can’t be overlooked.
The fabric must be in good condition not worn to the point of weakened threads or faded areas.
When I enquired at Coolibar about the life of the garment, 2 years was the reply.
The life of the protection of the garment is about 2 years. That is about as long as the special fabrics or finishes will hold up to reasonable wear. If you wear it more, it can lose some of its protective power.
However, remember, some protection is better than none.
Choose Wisely for Year-round Comfort
Your fabric selection plays an important role in ensuring both protection and comfort.
Lightweight, tightly woven fabrics will offer superior defense against UV radiation, while breathability becomes crucial in warmer seasons.
If you live as I do, in a sunny climate, having layers will carry you through the seasons. Wintertime sun can damage your skin just like summertime sun does.
Usually, the wintertime sun does not reach as much of your body as the summertime sun. We wear more clothes in the cooler times of the year.
But the more vernable spots on your head, face, neck, your arms, and tops of your hands will be exposed enough to allow damage to the skin in these areas.
These are the areas where most skin cancers occur.
Denim is a tightly woven fabric but is too hot in the warmer times of the year. A shirt that breaths some is more comfortable. Synthetic blends are usually a better choice.
Consider when you will be out in the sun and how long to make the best decisions for sun blocking clothing.
Color and How it Contributes to Sun Protection
While fashion preferences often guide color choices, you can understand the science behind color and UV protection is simply a combination of using colors’ ability to absorb or reflect sun rays.
Darker colors will absorb more UV radiation than lighter shades. This improves skin protection benefits from the shirt, pants, or sun hat.
Again, considering the color is unimportant if the garment is a UPF-rated item. UPF 50 in black or white will protect you completely as long as the fabric remains in good condition.
This allows you to choose the color you prefer. However, white and very pale colors reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them.
Step up your sunscreen application to your face, throat, and back of your neck to protect against reflecting UV rays.
Summer and Sun Sensitivity
Let’s talk about those with Special needs.
Some individuals may face unique challenges, particularly in the summer months.
Sensory sensitivities, mobility considerations, and the need for consistent protection make sun-protective clothing a valuable asset.
If you are very sensitive to the sun, you will benefit from getting started with your sun blocking wardrobe. People who have red hair are often very sensitive to being in the sun, and in 10 minutes can get a sunburn.
Older people who are not out often may find that they sunburn quickly.
People who take certain over-the-counter medications can unexpectedly cause a problem.
Little ones under a year old should not be in the sun. Their skin is not fully mature, and very sensitive to the sun’s dangers.
Began Your Sun Protection
Protecting our skin from the sun has gotten easier with the addition of UPF-rated clothing as well as an increased understanding of how color helps.
To ensure a seamless transition between seasons, consider adopting proactive actions:
- Inventory Check: Regularly assess your sun-protective clothing inventory, ensuring that essentials are readily available.
- Educational Resources: Stay informed about advancements in sun protection. References to the latest studies and recommendations can be found in reputable dermatological journals (American Academy of Dermatology, 2022).
- Specialized Gear: Explore specialized sun-protective gear designed for different needs, such as adaptive clothing for individuals with mobility challenges.
Sami’s Tale on “Are you sun Blocking Clothing Savvy?”
As the seasons change, your commitment to skin protection should remain unwavering.
Sun-protective clothing is a versatile and reliable ally, offering a constant defense against the sun’s potent rays.
By understanding the intricacies of UPF, fabric choices, and the psychology of color, individuals can make informed decisions.
In a world where knowledge intersects with practicality, the blending of science, color psychology, and considerations for special needs individuals creates a holistic approach to skin protection.
UPF clothing can keep your skin safe, but so can common sense play a part in sun protection.
Nothing will protect you from too much sun for too many days in a row. Being more selective when you are in the sun, using shade when outdoors, and limiting the total time of sun exposure will serve you well.
Even the 50 UPF rating allows 2 % of the sun to your skin. Will this cause damage? Yes, after a while it will. You can stay in the sun longer with clothing covering your body than if you expose your bare skin.
Stay hydrated, through all the seasons. Dry skin damages quicker.
American Academy of Dermatology. Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer
Skin Cancer Foundation.0rg skincancer.org