Of Course, SPF Clothing Or Sunscreen was not even a question as far as I was concerned. Yes, I was completely under the misconception that sunscreen was better than SPF Clothing!
I really thought that as long as I wear sunscreen, that meant I was completely protected from whatever harmful rays of the sun might find me, right?
After digging through the results of a recent proof-of-concept study? Well, the feelings of complete trust in sunscreen?
Sunscreen might not be the most effective way to keep me and my family’s skin protected from the sun.
Let me share with you more about the study’s findings. We need to rethink what we can do to minimize our risk of early aging caused by the sun’s UV rays. What besides sunscreen will work?
Then there is that elephant in the room? “What about skin cancer?”
Contest Between Sunscreen and Sun Blocking Clothing.
Researchers from Boston University Medical Center, the California State University Maritime Academy, and the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York set out to test different types of clothing.
The object was to find out how well the different kinds of clothing would protect your skin from the sun.
So starting with the “broad-spectrum” UV Protection that is offered by
- Commonly found clothing garments like t-shirts and jeans.
- UV sun-protective clothing or sun blocking items made with special formula fabrics. They looked at rash guards, athletic shirts, and swimsuits.
- Compairing with the protection from commercially available sunscreen.
Surprising enough to me? All of the tested fabrics provided better broad-spectrum coverage than sunscreens!
Except for one chemical sunscreen ingredient, avobenzone. Avobenzone is apparently a great sun blocker! Important dangers of avobenzone.
Which Items ofClothing In The Test Provides The Best Sun Protection?
As you would expect, some types of clothing blocked out the sun better than others.
The highest protection levels were from the nylon bathing suits, denim jeans, and dark-colored cotton shirts!
All of the fabrics that were in the test group, except for white cotton shirts, provided greater than 50 UPF (ultraviolet protective factor). These high protective numbers make them very effective barriers to UV light.
Now I know it isn’t always practical to wear denim jeans on hot days. However, there are special SPF fabrics that design lightweight clothing for whatever you are doing. ( However, most in our part of the world will be reaching for jeans for working in the weather, summer or winter. We know they protect us)
For hot summer days, especially when you are on the beach or out on a boat. You need to be wearing sun blocking clothing. The bright damaging rays of the sun with all its ability to reflect off surfaces will make protecting your skin doubly important.
There are now many different clothing brands that specialize in UV protective clothing.
Do You Know How to Maximize Your Sun Protection?
While this study includes a relatively small sample size, it highlights the importance of depending on sun blocking clothing as your primary UV protection when you can.
When you are swimming, playing sports, or boating, use a combination of sun blocking clothing and sunscreen. Remember to reapply your sunscreen frequently.
It is also worth paying attention to the avobenzone. This chemical performed well in the broad spectrum testing for protecting against the sun.
However, this ingredient is known to cause stinging and burning for some skin types. It can also cause your eyes to sting as well.
If you cannot tolerate this ingredient, you can choose a physical (mineral) sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Don’t forget to pack a sun hat, sunglasses, and a loose-fitting long sleeve sun blocking shirt.
New Trends For SPF Fabric Developents
A plain cotton tee may not be enough to protect you at the beach. Then walking on the street with the sun reflecting off all the cement and street tops. You need real protection.
A dry, white cotton tee shirt provides us with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7*. After it is wet from the pool, that protection level drops to about UPF 3.
That is no protection from UV radiation. No wonder we sunburned more than one time each summer growing up!
Today, 90% of our skin cancers and premature aging are a result of UV exposure. As skin cancer rates continue to rise, you need an easy way to keep your skin safe from UVA and UVB rays.
The Speciality finishes and protection that are available will take your skin protection to another level.
While I was not very knowledgeable about the better makers, I have learned that a good treated white tee shirt is important for a safe summer.
The right fabrics matter!
The Right Fabric Matters
As I learn about the difference the fabric makes, I understand why some keep us safer than others.
Some are a blend of cotton, bamboo viscose (a natural UV fighter) fabric embedded with millions of zinc oxide minerals. (a sunscreen mineral)
What makes the new fabric is unique is that the zinc oxide minerals are inserted at the fiber level and can never be worn or washed out. They protect you all day long for the lifetime of the garment.
Zinc Oxide protects against UVA and UVB rays and has many skin comforting qualities, often used by those of us with the most sensitive skin types.
Between the terms UPF and SPF, the concept is essentially the same, It is a rating system to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation.
What SPF is to lotions, liquids, and serums, UPF is to fabrics and clothing.
SPF measures sunscreen protection from UVB rays. These are the burning rays that lead to cancer.
When you apply your lotion correctly, an SPF of 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays (as long as you reapply as recommended).
SPF doesn’t include UVA rays which also can cause cancer and aging.
Look for the broad spectrum on the label of your sunscreen.
UPF measures light transmittance, and a UPF 50+ blocks 98% UVA/UVB rays. Major manufacturers of fabrics work to make sure their fabric exceeds all U.S. standards.
What This Can Mean To You?
This means you can stop settling for just a plain shirt. When shopping for your next t-shirt consider going with a tee with UPF power to keep your skin safe while you enjoy all of your adventures.
Sami’s Take On “SPF” Clothing or Sunscreen?
Sun protection must become a priority for healthy, youthful-looking skin.
This study has shown that wearing proper sun protective clothing is an important step to protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays.
The most effective way to minimize sun damage on your skin is to combine sun-protective clothing with your sunscreen use. Not to be forgotten are some lifestyle habits like staying out of the sun when the rays are the strongest.
Take breaks in the shade when you can. Remember your sunscreen reapplication. Stay hydrated. Be aware of how much sun you are being exposed to. Know then it is time to cover up.
If you have some skin sensitivity, and the sun makes it worse, stay out of the sun. Remember, being tan is a sign you have already damaged your skin.
That tan line on your arms or legs shows where you have had too much sun. Stay healthy. Keep your skin doing its job. Your skin is supposed to keep you healthy.
Don’t ignore the warnings and get too much sun, summer or winter.
Meeting you in the dermatologist’s office after you have ignored these warnings is not my idea of OK. Using SPF clothing or sunscreen can go a long way to a healthy you.