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Is Sun Block Clothing Really Important?

Is Sun Block Clothing Really Important For You?

Protect your skin from the sun

Is sun block clothing really important for your skin safety in the sun? As you learn more about this important step in protecting your skin, how much is real and how much is hype?

Do I really need “special clothes” or, are people trying to sell me on the dangers and resulting need to make money selling me clothes?

You know like the fact that your “Casual Friday” jeans were no quite right because you saw some new ones? Maybe your sun protection awareness is the same way.

You need something more because you now know of another way.

What if what you have will work well in “most situations?” Which are the “most situations”?

With all the attractive clothing now being made to protect your skin, I can’t help but question how much we actually need. Where in my routine do I need to improve?

Do you know what is really important for protecting your skin from the sun’s dangerous rays? Will your exposure to the sun take place on vacation at the beach? Then yes, you will enjoy having a couple of extra items to really protect your skin and still look great.

If your exposure will be on a camping hiking trip, your needs may be different to keep your skin protected from too much sun.

Start With Your Basics

Get your mind wrapped around the fact that the basics are important and should be prepared for before you start shopping for the extras.

U P F Clothing

Are you are coming to grips with the fact that you can do more? More to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays? Yes, it is easy to fall for all the sales hype. It is well written and you can see yourself among the beautiful people in your new UPF clothing.

With all the ads about needing to be extra careful with our skin in the sun, facts and fiction become confused.

  • Yes it is important to take any steps available to you to protect your skin.
  • You may not need a whole new wardrobe to do so.

Clothing that is UPF rated is a good investment if you need them and can afford them. Obviously, when your funds are a bit limited, shopping wisely is very important. You should be especially concerned with the basics. After you have the four items in the basic list, then consider what else will work well for you.

Rely On Sun Screen Alone?

With news reports like this about the dangers of sunscreen, https://time.com/6084625/sunscreen-safety-regulations/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=sfmc&utm_campaign=newsletter+health-monday+default+ we need to do more to keep safe from too much sun.

Then There Are Other Things To Avoid

Besides the warnings about the safety of sunscreen, there are warnings about sun block clothing, as well. So lets’ take a minute here and consider this information:

  • A plain white tee shirt that has been washed a good bit offers a protection from the ultraviolet rays or UPF of 5 to 7. When same shirt is wet, the protection drops to about 3.
  • Yes, when I was younger and thinner, I wore (plain or not special for sun protection) white teeshirts. Chose instead a darker colored shirt, prefereably black or navy blue. Any color that is deeper will offer more protection than the 5 to 7 levels of UPF protection from a white one.
  • No this is not as much protection as I need, but would be better than no shirt between me and the sun. And would be better than nothing even if it is wet. I could not find results of testing done on the tee shirt idea with different colors. However we know that black and navy blue are the preferred colors to block sun.
  • Lables warn you that the garment will loose some skin protection when wet even if you buy sun block shirts that are specially designed to protect skin from the sun.

So another fact to add to your basic information. When the fabric gets wet it loses some of the ability to protect. (Yes some fabrics have been created to protect when wet, just make sure and read the label.)

Panic Or Not To Panic?

In today’s world, 90% of our skin cancers and the premature ageing are a result of our compounded UV exposure. So if you are in the sun even a moderate amount, taking care of your skin and preventing skin cancer is important.

UV damage is cumulative. Add that to the fact that the damage is irreversible. There is no question that getting kids and teens into UPF clothing provides the best option.

However, teaching these same kids some skin-protecting skills will also help. Like, play or rest in the shade. Playing outside before 10 AM and after 4 PM. There will still be some dangers, but awareness will help them learn to take better care of their skin.

When it comes to outdoor activities, they need to learn to protect their skin early in life.

*Source: The Skin Cancer Foundation

Sun Block Clothing or Sunscreen?

Why not let your sun block clothing protect all the places that are covered? From your sun blocking hat and sunglasses to your sunblock shirt?

Now you can add sunscreen to what is not protected. Much simpler than trying to depend on sunscreen alone.

I will admit that avoiding sunscreen use all over my body does appeal. Then there is the need to reapply. Much easier if only to neck, face, ears throat and hands, feet.

What Else Should I Watch For?


Your skins protection for the sun that comes from clothing can vary, even if labelled sun block clothing. The label should alert you for the special properties a garment possesses. It is important to read the label and understand how to use a particular item.

For example- Clothing with a UPF rating of 50 allows 1/50th or 2% of the sun to get through to your skin. This is the highest is considered blocked. Can damage occur? Of course. It would take a very long time and but under extreme conditions, the damage could occur.

Using this same example, a UPF of 25 allows 1/25th or 4% of the sun to get through to you.

So, staying aware of how long you are in the sun, even in sun protecting clothing is important.

Other Considerations

So a higher number is always better? Maybe not.

Here are other factors that affect the ability of a garment to protect your skin from the sun:

• Densely woven fibers: Denim, Canvas, Wool, or a Synthetic blend If you can see through the fabric when holding it up to the light, UV radiation can easily penetrate it. This is true for hat material as well.

• Is the fabric UV-absorbing or UV-reflective fabric:  Certain fabrics have more sun protection capabilities than others. For example, a shiny polyester will be great at reflecting UV rays. Unbleached cotton is great at absorbing those rays. High-tech synthetic fabrics that have been treated with UV absorbers like the ripstop fabric offer many choices.

These Factors May Surprise You

• Loose fit: Sun Block clothing works best when it isn’t stretched or too tight. When stretched, the fibers of your UPF-rated clothing are pulled apart from each other. This allows UV light to pass through. Wearing looser fitting sun block clothing will ensure the sun protection of its fabric lasts as long as possible. A looser fit allows more airflow, resulting in staying cooler.

• Long sleeves: Simply put, the more skin that is covered equals more skin that is protected. You’ll want to wear long-sleeved sun block shirts to maximize your protection from damaging UV rays.

• Bright or dark colors: The color of your clothing works in the sun protection capabilities. Bright and dark colored clothing offers enhanced sun protection. Color absorbs more of the UV radiation than light-colored clothing.

You are not fully protected with sunscreen. UPF-protective clothing provides another level of sun protection for your day in the sun.

Be sure to opt for clothing with dense, bright or dark colored fabric, a loose fit, and long sleeves when possible.

A Quick Review

  • Color: Dark or bright colors will keep UV rays from reaching your skin by absorbing them. So they won’t reach to your skin.
  • Construction: Densely woven fabrics, like denim, canvas, wool or synthetic fibers, give more protection than sheer, thinner or loosely woven cloth.
Learn How To Protect Your Skin
Sami’s Take on “Is Sun Block Clothing Really Important?”

Yes, sun block clothing is very important for keeping your skin safe from the dangers of too much sun.

Making sure you have a good sun hat, sunglasses and a sun block shirt will go a long way for keeping you safe under the sun. Sunscreen will keep the areas the clothing doesn’t cover is important too.

Make sure and read labels and know what you are spending your money for as you are building a sun blocking wardrobe for you and your family.

Including sunscreen to complete your skincare will add to your protection.

I know that changing the way we do things will happen, a little at a time. Once you have the basics in place for your sun protection and are aware of how you need to protect your skin, you make better choices.

Start today with the basics.

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