Really, Is Fit More Important Than Color for UPF Clothing?
Yes, how the garment fits is crucial for your UPF clothing to protect your skin from the sun.
This child is dressed in a shirt that will allow good movement while at play and still cover the skin. Even reflected rays will not be able to get to the skin easily. The looseness of the shirt makes this fit better for spending time in the bright sun. Children this age should spend only limited time in the direct sun, even in SPF clothing.
I hate to admit that as much as I have studied and read, fit escaped me as far as being important is concerned.
Have you thought about whether the skirt is tight or loose makes a difference?
Garment fit is just one of those facts I was unaware of. And, as I was asking around, realized others were unaware as well.
The sellers of UPF clothing mention the fit. Mentioning that a loose fit is better, but don’t always explain why.
So let’s check out why fit is important when protecting yourself with UPF clothing.
Fit Test – Failed!
The fit test is most often failed because the wearer wears it too tight or small. Properly fitted UPF clothing should not be glued to your skin. There should be a little drape or movement in the fabric.
When the garment is snugly fitted, it is often stretched in places. Those places will allow the sun’s UV rays to shine through the pinholes where the fabric is woven.
Obviously, this happens most with garments that are knitted, and not woven. Woven garments like shirts that fit too tightly are not comfortable to move about in when they are made of woven fabric. But, even so, woven fabric shirts too can be stretched tight and allow the sun through the weave holes in the fabric.
Dark colors will help when a garment is stretched by absorbing the dangerous UV rays. This will reduce how much the sun can shine through to your skin. You won’t get full protection, but you will get more in a dark color than a light one.
Knits are so comfy and easy to care for. We all love wearing them. They are often in the perfect yarn combination to offer great UPF. In today’s styling, a snug fit is popular, and most shirts are close-fitting. So if you are wearing garments from your closet, pay attention. A looser-fitting shirt is better, a dark color is best.
When the fit is too loose, the sun can usually get to your skin around the neck and collar. Or the shirt doesn’t button well enough to protect your front neck and upper chest. These areas will need extra sunscreen attention. Having a bit of extra fabric in the length of the sleeve will protect the tops of your hands.
So being aware of what is good and what is not so good can help you make better choices.
What Is UPF Clothing?
UPF clothing is clothing made with a certain standard of sun blocking ability already present. This is taken care of in the yarn blend and tightness of the weave at the factory. If the weave is not what protects your skin, then there will be dyes and colors with finishes that seal out the sun.
This is how UPF manufacturers earn the extra cost found on their garments.
This is how UPG manufacturers can offer lighter-weight clothing that is often cooler to wear, and still keep you protected. They have a lot of surprises that will help keep you cool and comfortable while in the sun.
There are extra collars to shield your neck and throat. Longer cuffs on the sleeve, and often a hole to put your thumb through to hold the sleeve down over the tops of your hands. Hoods to shield the sides of your face.
Vents and mesh areas that allow for more airflow. These vents are under the arms, down the sides, or across the back. Knits, specially designed to wick moisture from your skin, keep you dryer and more comfortable. This helps make sure heat isn’t held near your body. A loose fit lets heat move away from your body.
So yes, often the UPF-rated garment will keep you more comfortable than something you already had in your closet. But, you can make better choices from your closet and get better skin protection from the sun.
This article will give you some suggestions for clothing from your closet.
Next, let’s look at what the UPF rating numbers mean.
A Quick Guide to the Numbers in UPF Rating
Rei.com gives this guideline information for protection rates according to the rating number.
UPF 50 – Highest protection in the measuring system used to determine UPF protection is 50. This rate of UPF protection would allow only 2% of the sun’s rays from getting to your skin.
This should keep your skin as safe as it can be if you are in the sun every day, all day. For those who work in the sun all the time, and those whose interests keep them in the sun all day.
Day after day. Sun or shine. This level of rating is telling you that of the 100% of sun exposure, you are protected from all but 2%. If you are covering your skin, you can feel pretty safe. You will need to add your sun blocking hat, and 100% UV-blocking sunglasses. Then sunscreen for your face, and parts of you not covered in clothing.
You will remain more protected in clothing than when depending on sunscreen alone. However, you will need to use both of these tools, clothing, and sunscreen to get the best protection.
UPF 15 – Lowest. This means that you are getting 93% protection. (100 – 93.7 = 96.4% of the rays. The problem here is that Skincancer.org says this is not enough to label as any better than your normal clothing.
So while better than nothing, they feel the protection should be better, when allowing this factor in the marketing of the garment.
We can get this protection with normal clothing by making good choices for the fabric, fit, and color.
However, should our lifestyle change, and we are exposed more, even for traveling, I think that we will need to move up to at least a UPF of 30.
UPF Of 30
Middle rate- UPF 30. If skincancer.org thinks we should be safe in this level of UPF, I feel pretty happy trusting this level as well.
This also means that only 3.3% of the sun’s UV is getting through. Making me 96.7% protected.
We don’t live on the beach, nor do we have to be out in the hotter times of the day.
So for us and our normal outings and avoiding the hotter times of day to be out, we should be safe from skin cancer with a level 30 of UPF.
Should we decide to do some traveling, and in our vehicle more, that counts as a change in lifestyle and would need to be accommodated. We have settled in here with staying in more since covid time, and enjoy being home. Now it is a choice, not just because it is safer.
UPF is the rating for clothing. SPF is the rating for sunscreen. When using sunscreen always look for Full Spectrum to make sure you are protecting your skin from UVA. Ultraviolet A is responsible for the early aging our skin can experience.
Why is it Important to Wear UPF Clothing?
Have you determined if it is important for you to wear UPF clothing? Or will you be safe with common sense safeguards and what is in your closet already?
What is your risk factor for skin cancer? This risk is an important consideration in the should I wear UPF clothing question.
Here is a quick list to help you with your skin protection choices:
- Skin type: The risk of sunburn is determined by skin type. Fair-skinned individuals are more prone to sunburn than those with darker skin. However, every tone of skin to the darkest will sunburn eventually.
- Time of day: Sunburn risk is higher during peak sunlight hours, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Geographical location: The risk of sunburn is higher in areas closer to the equator, where the sun is stronger.
- Altitude: The risk of sunburn is greater at higher altitudes because the air is thinner and offers less protection from the sun’s rays.
- Weather conditions: Sunburn risk is higher on sunny days, but the risk can also be high on cloudy days as the clouds don’t necessarily block all of the sun’s harmful rays.
- Medications: Certain medications can increase your risk of sunburn. A few of these include antibiotics, antihistamines, and acne medications. Read labels to see if what you are taking can increase your risk.
- Personal habits: The risk of sunburn can be higher for individuals who spend a lot of time outdoors or participate in outdoor activities without adequate sun protection.
- Clothing and accessories: The amount of skin exposed to the sun and the type of clothing and accessories worn can impact the risk of sunburn.
- Sunscreen use: The use of sunscreen can reduce the risk of sunburn, but it depends on the SPF level, application method, and frequency of use. Use only wide-spectrum sunscreen to protect from early aging.
- Sun sensitivity: Some individuals have a higher risk of sunburn due to conditions like photosensitivity, which can make their skin more vulnerable to the sun.
Sami’s Take On 7 Risks Kids Face from the Sun “Just Because They Are Kids.”
There is one more risk, that parents need to keep in mind that can make their kids at higher risk for sun damage. Medication
Check the labels of the medications your kids need. Make sure they are not on the list to raise your kid’s risks.
List of drugs for young kids’ parents:
- Antihistamines: These are medicines that help with allergies and allergic reactions.
- Coal Tar and Derivatives: These are medicines that treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Contraceptives, Oral, and Estrogens: Medicines used to prevent pregnancy and treat certain medical conditions.
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: These are medicines used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but should only be given under the supervision of a doctor.
- Phenothiazines: These are medicines used to treat mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.
- Psoralens: These are medicines used to treat skin conditions such as vitiligo.
- Sulfonamides: These are antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections.
- Sulfonylureas: These are medicines used to treat diabetes.
- Thiazide Diuretics: These are medicines used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
- Tetracyclines: These are antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants: These are medicines used to treat depression, but should only be given under the supervision of a doctor.
It’s important to always consult with a healthcare professional before giving any medication to your child, as they can advise you on the proper dosage and potential side effects.
We do have live responsibly and protect our skin when in the sun. When we are young, we think that all the risks are overstated. I know you love a tan and you want one. Well, you will one day be old enough that it matters. Tan skin is damaged skin.
How many sunburns accompany your, “just a few more minutes” in the sun. We do know that healthy lifestyles are important for a healthy body. Would you go to all the trouble to keep yourself looking good, all the while causing early aging?
I don’t want to scare you, but consider some moderation for your sun eposure. You will like yourself better as time passes and you don’t look old before you should. (Ok, I really do want to scare you! Tanning is dangerous and skin cancer is real.)
Just add this bit of a proper fit to your clothing to make the most of covering and protecting your skin from the sun.