The question, “Can I tan while wearing sun blocking clothing?”
Answer, “According to the UPF of your sun blocking clothing, and which items your are wearing, you might!”
The makers of sun blocking clothing think they have the whole thing covered, and you need never worry about sun on your body as long as you are wearing their clothing.
Yes, the sun blocking clothing companies of the beautiful people do have a great product going. With some beautifully styled and practical clothing for sale. They have done their research and keep improving the selections and styles of their clothing lines. They also are producing some really great protection.
However, if you are like me, and still don’t have a closet full of the special UPF clothing, you are probably wondering about how this all works.
Real World Everyday Mix Of Clothing
Those dangerous ultraviolet rays are really good at being able to penetrate different materials. Don’t think that you are safe wearing a regular cotton shirt while walking on the beach. You could be putting your skin at risk of sunburn, even fully covered.
How many times we came in from a little league practice session while living in eastern New Mexico and there was mild sunburn on our backs. There would be white or unburned marks where the seams were double and the sun didn’t get through.
So, yes you can tan through clothing, even sun blocking clothing if any of the following is happening:
- Is the sun blocking garment over 3 years old? That is the life span of most clothing based protection.
- Is the garment fitting too tight and stretched? An ill fitting garment will not give you the protection of a correctly fitting one. If the shirt is too tight light can get through where the material is stretched, even in knits.
- Has this garment been properly laundered and dried?
- Will you be staying dry in the clothing, or will you be spending a good amount of the day wet?
So How Can I Keep My Skin Safe?
Most regular clothing offers protection of around UFP 4 to 7. ( Some heavier woven fabrics will offer more protection, but carry the objection of being hotter to wear.) This is not enough protection for extended periods out in the sun.
However, there are ways to improve your protection when wearing regular clothes outside in the sun.
Even if a deep tan is not what you want for yourself, you need to have some idea of how all this works.
Remember that you can get a tan through your clothes. And you can even sunburn, too! Don’t automatically assume you’ll be protected just because you have put on some clothing.
However, any clothing is better than none. If you are responsible enough to read this article, you know you do need to take care of your skin while in the sun. So let’s talk about some of the better choices in just plain clothes from your closet.
Your jeans are probably a good choice for keeping your lower half protected from the sun. Yes, they are tightly woven and usually have some color left in the jeans. Blue and Black are among the best choices for keeping you from tanning in the sun.
Most pants, khakis are thickly woven and can protect your body. Shoes and sox are also important for keeping the tops of your feet from getting sunburned.
Tee Shirt Or Sun Blocking Shirt?
Obviously, this is not really a question. The sun blocking shirt will protect you more than your favorite worn out tee shirt. However, a sun blocking shirt needs to be loose fitting with long sleeves.
You need room to allow the air to flow around your body and help remove the heat that will build up in the sun.
Your best protection from your closet will be a fairly new tee shirt and preferably a deep color. The thicker fabric is better for blocking the sun.
Your denim long sleeve shirt is great if it is not worn too much. Hold it up to the light. Can you see through it? If you can see through the shirt, the sun’s damaging rays will find you and cook your skin.
When you are unsure of the protection your clothing provides, be sure and add a layer of sunscreen. So much better to be safe than sorry.
How Do You Tan Through Sun Blocking Clothing?
So now that we have explained that you can get sunburned through your clothing, do you understand why and how it happens? Certain clothing offers more protection from the sun than others, and each item has its own SPF rating.
Do You Remember? SPF? UPF?
Sunscreens are rated by SPF (or Sun Protection Factor.)
Clothing is rated by UPF (or Ultraviolet Protection Factor.)
Your protection factor for most clothes ranges from about UPF 4 for regular clothing to 50+ for sun blocking clothing. Depending on the color, condition, and type of fabric, you will have some protection to a lot.
A UPF value of 4 provides a small amount of protection, while a 50 is going to block most of the sun’s rays. Read your labels and know what rate of protection you are getting. Know how to launder your new sun blocking clothing. Get the best protection.
None Shiny or Matte Fabrics Absorb Rays
Rather than wearing shiny synthetic fabrics, choose matte fabrics. Shiny fabrics reflect the sun’s rays. You will then absorb the sun’s dangerous rays on your face, arms.
Matte is a better fabric choice. It is more difficult to get a sunburn while wearing sun blocking clothing when it is made from matte finished fabrics.
Synthetics Are A Good Choice
Synthetic material usually provides better protection from the sun.
The material is usually tighter woven or knit. This will allow less UV radiation to pass through.
Choose to wear fabrics like lycra, polyester, and acrylic instead of cotton for wear when in the sun. Remember that thicker is better unless it is an especially woven or treated fabric made to be sunproof.
Layer Up For Better Skin Protection
If you can handle the heat, wearing layers of lightweight clothing helps limit the skin’s exposure to the sun. Lighter materials can be layered to help protect your skin, and still, feel cool.
The looser fit allows for airflow to help the sweat dissipate and dry and be cooler. Remember seeing desert dwellers and their long flowing robes? Experience has taught them through the ages how to deal with sun and heat.
Keep Your Clothing Dry For More Protection
Getting your clothing wet can reduce the materials UPF protection. Have a dry shirt to put on after swimming if you prefer swimming in a shirt.
Make sure to read the tag on your sun blocking clothing. Some sun blocking ability will disappear in seawater, some in chlorine. Know your items of clothing and how they are designed to work to stay protected.
Keep dry to reduce your exposure.
Select Your Sun Hats Wisely
A cool looking hat with a narrow or stingy brim does not provide as much protection as a wide brim hat.
The wider the brim, the more protection you have for your forehead, ears, neck, and back. A good sun hat is the most important item of sun blocking capabilities you can start with. Even more than a shirt!
A tightly woven straw is a good choice because it is lightweight and cool. With a strap or tie, a straw can be anchored on your head, even in moderate wind.
Again, do the test of holding the straw hat up to the sun. Do you see little pricks of light? The sun will get to you in those little spots. Make sure you choose the one with the tightest weave.
There are so many tightly woven fabric hats that can be packed and then worn when you reach your destination. This makes them practical. A bucket shape is good protection and will keep you safer than a cap with a bill.
A baseball cap only provides limited protection to your forehead. So in sun protection, a baseball cap is better than nothing, but not a lot. The sun reaches your head first when you reach the more dangerous time of day for sunburn. Make sure you are ready.
Choose Darker Colors
When thinking of wearing darker clothing in summer, you may not be interested because it sounds hot. And it is true that darker colors absorb the heat. That is why you need a looser fit. There needs to be room for the heat to escape your body.
Darker fabrics actually provide more protection than lighter pastels and whites. The lighter colors reflect the light to your face and arms. This will cause sunburn under your chin if you are exposed too long!
So remember, the darker colors absorb the UV rays which reduce UV exposure.
Sun-protective clothing was usually made using darker dyes, until recently. The companies have figured out how to give you lighter colors in sun blocking clothing.
While you might be excited at the fact that you can now tan while you are walking along the beach in full clothing, it isn’t necessarily a good idea.
You will still be able to be burned through your clothing, and you can be left with damage to your skin.
Spending time in the sun without good protection is as damaging as if you had no protection at all. We have lived with the idea that a deep tan is healthy and does not damage our skin too long.
Regular time without protection can lead to lasting damage to your skin, and this could all be while wearing clothes in the sun.
You don’t have to sit in your bikini under the flaming sun on a hot day to get a sunburn. Just being in the sun with clothing on is enough to cause significant damage to your skin.
This is why we need to use layers of protection. Sunscreen will help your sun blocking clothing work better. Even on cloudy days, the sun will find you.
Reconsider: Can I Tan While Wearing Sun Blocking Shirts?
If you spend lots of time in the sun, it might be worth investing in some sun-protective clothing. Sun blocking clothing has a higher ultraviolet protection factor, some choices offer up to UPF 50. This really does help reduce the amount of sun reaching the protected areas of your skin.
If your lifestyle has you in the sun or just outside every day for 30 minutes or more, you will appreciate how much sun blocking clothing protects your skin. Don’t be thoughtless about protecting your skin.
The sun really can get dangerous in a hurry. Once you have been out 25 to 30 minutes, you have passed the safe spot. I know, you love hours in the sun, but at what price. If you are going to keep staying in the direct sun from 10 AM to 4 PM, you need to exercise caution.
Protect your skin with breaks in the shade, reapplying sunscreen and always keeping your sun hat, your sunglasses and sun blocking clothing on your body, not hanging on the fence or elsewhere. Help protect your body.
Wear Sun Blocking Clothing
For those who do spend lots of time in the sun, we have sun blocking clothing available.
Certain brands have been created specifically to protect your skin. These clothing companies produce ready to wear for those who need better clothing protection for the outdoors.
These fabrics are densely woven and have finishes with UV-inhibiting ingredients to help them be more effective in reducing sun exposure.
When making choices of sun blocking clothing, it is important to remember that the more skin you cover, the less exposure your skin will have.
Long sleeve or full swimming suits will give your body more coverage and protect a larger surface area. However, a better choice is to have a sun blocking cover up to put on after swimming. Remember, when wet, most fabric does not protect your skin.
Sun blocking clothing is designed to be worn during warmer weather, and are usually well-ventilated. And often they will have antibacterial properties which help when the material gets wet or when it is exposed to excess sweat.
The material is still effective when in contact with sunscreen, and it is always advised to wear sunscreen even when you are covered by sun-protective clothing. Be sure and allow about 15 or so minutes for sunscreen to dry as it may stain.
If using self tanners, also remember to be good and dry as the tanner may also stain your coverup.
How much sun-protection my clothes have?
The best way to know the UPF rating your clothing has is to read the label or tag.
If you can’t find out this way, there is a quick fix way to estimate how much light is getting through.
Hold your clothing up to the sun, you will be able to see how much light shines through the material. The more light let in through the material, the less UV protection your clothing has.
At this point, assume that you may be in trouble and use a laundry additive. Like a brighter. These treated garments are supposed to have a wear life of 20 launderings. The Rite Stay White is a good example. Read and follow directions.
Can I Tan While Under A Beach Umbrella?
Many people think that beach umbrellas offer enough protection from the sun’s rays. There is just not enough protection from a beach umbrella.
Beach umbrellas are usually made with a thick weave material that doesn’t let UV rays through, it does nothing for the scattered or diffused UV rays, which could be plentiful in environments such as a beach. You still need your sunhat and sunglasses as well as your sun blocking shirt. Sunscreen on all uncovered areas.
Is it any wonder we have so much damaged skin? We just haven’t known the dangers of the sun
What About The Tan-Through Clothing?
Some clothing allows your skin to tan through the fabric.
This allows women and men to tan their skin without having any clothing tan lines.
While this is a growing phenomenon, it is not the best option for your skin. Increasing your exposure to UV rays can permanently damage your skin.
It is better to opt for a spray tan or self-tanner to get your desired look.
Using Some Of All Forms Of Skin Protection From The Sun Is Best
Layers really are important to keep your skin safe. Each layer of clothing provides additional protection and can be taken off and put on as needed throughout the day.
No need to constantly reapply sunscreen, just pop on that UPF shirt and you’ve got instant protection. However, remain alert and aware of how long you have not had your sun blocking clothing on. Leave your sunhat and sunglasses on regardless.
By combining layers of clothing, bathing suit, hat, etc., you’ll get the best protection you can, still enjoying the sun, where ever you are.
Sami’s Take : Can I Tan While Wearing Sun Blocking Clothing?
As with most things, too much sun is deadly. So your personal awareness is needed to keep you within safe levels of sun exposure.
Sun Blocking Clothing can be a strong ally as you are protecting your skin from too much sun and skin cancer.
Finding that you have been careless and overexposed your skin is dangerous, and something you will regreat. However, how will you feel when it is your child that is sunburned? Protecting your family will require all the help you can get.
Remember these suggestions to help:
- Remember time of day. Before 10 AM and after 4 PM to stay safer.
- Sun hats, sunglasses, and a sun blocking shirt with sunscreen to use where you aren’t covered.
- Play in shade when possible.
- Stay hyderated with plenty of water.
- Limit time in the sun to 15 to 30 minutes, then hit the shade.
The dissappearing Ozone layer has changed how we can safely play in the sun. Learn the new rules, and play by them and lower your risk for skin cancer.