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How Long Does The UV Protection Last In My Shirt?

How long does the UV protection last in my shirt? Now that I have decided to invest in a better way of protecting my skin, I got to wondering.

I tend to be a person to wear things that I like longer than most people. So this answer is important to me. How about you? Do you like clearing out and starting over every year? Or do you wear a shirt till it is threadbare?

To protect our skin from sun burn

How Long Does UV Protection Last In My Shirt? Do You Know?

With any new way of manufacturing clothing, this is important information. This can let you know the value of the dollars you are spending. The longer you can have protection, the better value you are getting.

Coolibar responded with this statement:

“The life of any garment is considered used up in 3 years.” A reasonable assumption is that the protection lessens as the garment is worn and laundered. However, they claim that it will protect as rated for 3 years.

What Blocks Out The Sun’s UV Rays?

The best sun block is provided by doing these things:

  • Remember your sun hat and sunglasses
  • Always apply lip balm
  • You should wear sun blocking clothing.
  • Apply sunscreen where you are not covered by clothes.
  • Find shade when you can
  • Stay out of the sun from 10 A M untill after 4 P M in the summer and warmer months.
  • Limit winter exposure from 11 A M untill after 3 P M for winter and cooler months.

Following these suggestions will give you a good basic start to sun block protection using more layers to protect you. The ability to have more ways to stay safe from the sun is important. Sunscreen will allow some sun through to your skin.

Sunblock lotion or cream instead of sunscreen will protect you better, but few really want to wear it because it is a bit difficult to work with. I plan to learn how to use sunblock this winter by wearing sun blocking shirts, hats and sunglasses and using sunblock on the backs of my hands. They have been ignored too long.

How Long Does UV Protection In my Shirt Last Actually?

Just like your sunscreen, the protection provided by UPF rated clothing will wear off after some use.

UPF clothing will usually last for about 30 to 40 washes cycles. Under regular use, the clothing should protect you for a year if worn year-round.

For seasonal wear, obviously, it should give you about 3 years of reasonable protection. Consider the washing cycles, and make your judgement from there.

You do have to take a reasonable approach as well, does this garment fit well, or has it gotten tighter? Are there places where you have gotten more wear because you are a climber or you wear a vest in cold weather that causes more wear in some areas?

All things being normal, you should find the protection that will help keep your skin protected for a year, at the shorter end of the time frame. Read labels and understand what you are buying.

If you live in a sunny area as I do here in central Texas, you will need sun protection any time you are out for over 30 minutes even in the winter.

Knowing how long does UV protection last in my shirt is important.

Stay Sun Safe Year Round

Most Drs seem to indicate that 30 minutes is pushing the healthy limit for summertime skin exposure. Unless you are at very high risk, you should not do too much damage at 30 minutes in the sun.

However, don’t push it. A 30 minute exposure time in the winter would allow your body to produce the vitamin D that you need. Just don’t get careless. Watch the time and get your sun blocking shirt on. Protect your skin from sunburn.

  • Shirts should last up to 3 years.
  • Your bare skin should only be exposed for 30 minutes.

What Makes The Shirt Have UPF?

The two most popular ways that apparel makes use to achieve a “UPF” rating are:

  • fabric blends
  • chemical treatments.
Extra Consideatins When Manufacturing UPF Clothing
  • Manudacters usually perfer a chemical-free options if there is a suitable fabric exists that meets their demands.
  • At other times, they may use chemical treatments when fibers alone aren’t enough for the combination of protection and performance that is neccesary for the garment.
  • So you’ve gone ahead and bought yourself a UPF 50+Shirt.
Other Questions Surface
  • Now what happens when my UPF shirt goes through the wash? Will any of that sun protection value be ‘washed out? Can it keep protecting you at the same high level? 

Length Of Protection Will Depend on How the UPF Value Was Initially Achieved

The fabric composition plays a big part in the UPF rating.

Your shirt purchase needs to be made with the thought of what you will be doing when you wear it. Will you be lounging by the pool? Or will you be hiking a trail, or will you be sailing a boat?

You probably don’t want a heavyweight shirt for lounging. A wicking fabric would be great for hiking. A quick-drying shirt if sailing and subject to splashing.

With some of these factors think about the shirt weight, fabric blend, color, fit, and more.

Manufacturers achieve their UPF values through the fibers used in the weaving of the garment.

This ensures that the UPF 50+ clothing will maintain that high protection value for the life of the garment, and won’t wash out of the product.

However, remember I said that Coolibar had stated that they consider their product gone in 3 years. So after 30 or so washes, you are risking sunburn for your body if you continue to wear this shirt.

Some manufacturers use dye to color the fabric to provide protection. Again check your label to know what you are buying. Dyes can be an effective way to UPF protection.

UPF Manufactured Clothing Basics

Your clothing can be more than just a fashion statement, it can help keep you protected from damaging UV radiation, one of the leading causes of skin cancer.

Certain types of materials, like bamboo shirts, often come with a higher UPF rating. A higher rating means that fewer UV rays can pass through. However, the protection factor depends on a lot more factors than just fabric composition.

Every product is different. Some provide superior protection for your skin. While others provide little to none. It is important to know how long does UV protection last.

Here are some suggestions for when you can’t find UPF created clothing.

Feel And Look At The Material

  • The thread used for weaving the fabrics have different UV protection qualities.
  • Synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester generally have a higher UPF value than other popular fibers such as bleached cotton.
  • Bamboo shirts are generally labeled as viscose from bamboo. Usually have a higher UPF value than cotton. Remember, the process of turning bamboo into bamboo viscose can sometimes alter the properties of the fabric, so make sure to check for a UPF rating and don’t make any assumptions. Don’t assume it will block the sun unless it is on the label.
Ultimately the goal is to reduce the amount of light that can pass through. With a tight weave, you have less space between the threads and thus less potential for UV radiation to pass through. Also, a shirt’s thickness can help protect your skin as it often has more fibers per square inch and a much tighter weave. A good simple test is to hold a shirt up to the light. Then, if a lot of light is passing through, it likely has a lower UPF rating than a shirt where no light passes through.

Product Quality

As mentioned above, a lot of factors go into the design of a sun blocking shirt to protect you from harmful UV rays.

Some of these factors include the shirt weight, fabric composition, color, and fit. The quality of the shirt plays a big part in maintaining its UPF rating, especially if it’s being worn and washed often. 

As your shirt starts to age, it naturally becomes a little worn down. So you may not be ‘washing out’ the sun protection rating of your UPF 50+ clothing, but it’s possible the rating drops as the shirt ages. This is especially true with a lesser quality shirt.

Depending on the durability of your clothing, the fabric composition may be compromised after only a couple of washes. This result allows the threads in the fabric to thin out. Your UPF shirt allows more UV light to pass through.

So while the UPF does not necessarily “washout,” the UV protection rating will drop pretty quick.

. Higher quality shirts with more durable fabrics are designed to withstand the wear of normal use and maintain a UPF rating for the life of the shirt. 

How To Make Your UPF 50+ Clothing Last:

  • When hand washing, don’t wring out your sun protection clothing. This can permanently stretch the fibers and lower the UPF rating. Lay the shirt on a large dry towell and roll in towell to remove excess moirsture. Hang on a clothes hanger to dry.
  • Bleach can damage the fibers. Bleach is a fairly harsh chemical on clothing. It’s best to keep your UV protective shirts intact. So don’t bleach your UPF shirt.
  • Wash your clothing in cold water. Warm and hot water is more likely to shrink your fabric. Shrinking could in turn shorten the lifespan of the UPF clothing.

Looking Good Is Important

Who says that sun blocking clothes can’t also look good? Many manufacturers are making clothing that is very trendy. They are aware that no one really wants to look dowdy while protecting their skin.

The main thing the buying public have going for them is lots of competition. This makes it better for you, the buyer, to be able to find garments you love to wear.

The fabrics are suited to keep you comfortable. If you are like to be active, this means you will be sweating in the sun. Your UPF shirt will wick away the moisture, and dry quickly. Read the labels. Know what to expect from your new sun blocking shirt.

When you’re out for a long hike or a day at the beach it’s important to protect your skin. But it doesn’t have to come at the expense of fashion.

You know that the harmful effect of the sun can be short and long term. You can avoid these risks by taking proper precautions including UPF clothing.

If you haven’t heard of UPF 50 sun protection clothing, you are missing out! This sun blocking clothing can prevent sunburn, signs of aging (like sunspots or wrinkles), and even reduce your risk of skin cancer.

A Quick Review, What Is UPF?

UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor.

Your UPF clothing provides your skin with broad-spectrum protection against two different types of rays coming from the sun.

The first is long wave ultraviolet A rays (UVA)

The second is short wave ultraviolet B (UVB).

Sunscreen uses SPF (sun protection factor) as a way to measure how long the sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays. Sunscreen does little to protect you from the UVA rays unless it has the extra Broad Spectrum included in its rating.

This is why clothing uses UPF as a measurement instead. This assures that you are protected from UVA as well.

Sunscreen is still important. It is another layer of your skin’s protection from the sun.

If you want to be certain that you are protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun you should also consider using sun blocking clothing.

Explainging The UPF Rating System

UPF ratings work for sun blocking clothing like the SPF for sunscreen.

For example, an item of clothing with a UPF rating of 25 will only allow 1/25th of UV radiation to pass through whereas an item with a higher rating will let even less UV radiation through.

UPF clothing is usually available in ratings from 15 to 50. Anything less than a 15 rating is not considered beneficial to the wearer. Anything higher than 50 is usually just hype for trying to sell. 50 is the highest rating allowed at this time.

Why Should I Wear UPF Sun Blocking Clothing?

Wearing UPF clothing is more effective than sunscreen.

UPF clothing protects your skin from sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer.

UPF clothing is a better investment than sunscreen because sunscreen has to be reapplied consistently to remain effective. It is more convenient for backpacking or hiking because you do not have to carry extra sunscreen with you.

Who Should Seriousley Consider UPF Clothing Protection?

Each of us can benefit from UPF clothing. However, there are a few populations that are especially vulnerable to the sun. People with higher sun risks should use UPF clothing when possible.

Your children and people with sun-sensitive skin benefit considerably from UPF clothing.

Your children naturally have sensitive skin, because your child skin is thinner. Protecting your children from the sun can reduce the risk of any long-term damage from the sun.

Those who are at high risk with naturally fair or sensitive skin and who struggle with getting sunburned easily, also benefit from UPF clothing.

Consider as well your environment. This may impact your vulnerability to the sun.

Are you at a high elevation? Or are you at a location near the equator?

Is there a body of water nearby? Just your location put you at a higher risk of damage from the sun. Therefore, if you go to visit any of these places, be sure to pack your sun-protective clothing.

Don’t forget that there are medications that increase your risk of sun damage.

Always check the labels on your medications or ask a medical professional about how the medication could affect your risk from sun exposure.

Choosing Your UPR Protection Clothing

The higher the UPF rating, the better.

Look for clothing over 25 UPF with 50 or 50+.

Sun blocking clothing comes in many styles, but generally, the thicker, tighter fabrics are going to offer more protection than looser woven clothing.

A rule of thumb is that darker colored clothing also provides more protection because it absorbs more of the harmful rays. Keep this in mind if you get caught without your sun blocking shirt.

UPF rated clothing comes in a few fabrics, but polyester is seen as superior to cotton, nylon, wool, or hemp fabrics. However, remember the darker color being better if you don’t have a better choice.

You should also consider that regardless of the fabric, the protection from UPF clothing diminishes over time. If your shirt has seen better days, a new one may be in order. If this is not possible, layering lighter weight clothing will block the sun better than single layers of worn-out clothing.

Buying UV Protection Clothing

As you are considering buying sun blocking clothing you have many options. You can shop online or in stores that specialize in outdoor or athletic apparel.

Women’s UPF clothing have features like short and long sleeve shirts, rash guards, hoodies, crop top shirts, and dresses. The purchase to consider first is your sun blocking hat. Your hat and your sunglasses are the 1st purchases you should consider.

I was drawn by the sun blocking swimsuits. But as I was thinking the purchase through it dawned on me that I don’t remember sunburning through my swimsuit! I need an overshirt or cover-up. Those cover where I sunburn!

Men’s sun blocking clothing includes short and long sleeve shirts as well as jackets, hoodies, and shorts.

UPF clothing for kids includes tops in sizes from XS to XXL. Your children under 3 should not be in the sun at all. They will get more sun than they need through reflections from the water, cement or walls. Keep them sheltered in the shady spots.

Always check the label to confirm the UPF rating on any purchase to find out the rating level as well as the care instructions.

Common Sense To Protect Your Skin

UPF clothing is a great way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But, there are a few other important precautions.

First, always limit the amount of time you are exposed to direct sunlight. When you have a chance, move into a shaded area, take a quick break from those powerful rays.

Wear sunglasses with UV protection to keep your eyes safe.

Apply sunscreen to all areas of the body that are not covered by UPF clothing.

Be like the legendary Texas cowboy. Put on your sun hats before anything else to minimize exposure to the sun. Your head is the first thing the sun hits. Protect yourself.

Never forget that you can still be exposed to harmful rays when it is cloudy. So even if the sun isn’t shining brightly, you should still grab your sun hat and sunglasses. Consider wearing your UPF clothing before going outside.

Important How Long Does UV Protection Last

So the next time you are heading out for golf, tennis, or any other outdoor activity, don’t forget to wear your UPF 50 sun protection clothing.

The life of your shirt and its ability to protect your skin is important.

Awareness is part of the deal. Knowing how to protect your skin from the sun is the first step in staying safe from skin cancer.

Help your family keep themselves safe from too much sun. Knowing how to avoid sunburn and too much tan is important for skin health. I hope you have better skin health than my family. We all have had skin cancers.

Skin Cancer is an accumulative disease. Protecting your skin is your way to stay safe. We all have to have skin checks on a regular basis. Do you want that in your future? Knowing how long UV protection last is important as you learn to take better care of yourself.

Learn How To Protect Your Skin
Sami’s Take On How Long Does UV Protection Last In My Shirt

Protecting your skin from the sun requires awareness. That is why I chose to talk to you by writing. If you read what I share here you will know that you can protect your skin from sunburn. You are also protecting from skin cancer as well.

Trying to find sun blocking clothing is easier every year as there are so many people needing the protection.

Your family can enjoy the sun safely with some common sense. Maybe all day in the sun is not the best idea.

As we find out more ways to protect our skin, hopefully, we can help our grandkids have healthier skin.

It is too late for my family. They are all high risk. Even the daughter with darker skin who rarely sunburned. She has had several skin cancers removed. So far we have not had melanoma the most deadly kind.

What will you do to keep yourself and your family safe from too much sun?

By Sami

I want to be able to alert others to how the sun affects your skin. Awareness is the first step in learning how to protect ourselves from the sun and the skin cancer that often results.
Help your family get through life without skin cancer issues.

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