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“UPF Clothing Ratings” 101

While UPF clothing is the newest thing to staying safe in the sun, you will probably find sun blocking clothing in your closet.

The UPF clothing rating 101 explains the measuring system for how much sun will be blocked from your skin while wearing this garment. How would you rate this shirt? Do you know where to start?

Man with a sunburn on his neck showing complete sun block on covered skin,

Let’s look at how the UPF rating system is used to help you select the protection you need when buying this kind of clothing.

To give you protection from sunburn and possible skin damage that results in skin cancer manufacturers label their products with UPF rating numbers. This will alert you to how much of the ultraviolet rays are being blocked from your skin. Wikipedia gives us an explanation that I have taken the liberty, to sum up into a fast rule of thumb for everyday use.

The Numbers Used In UPF Rating

If the label quotes a rating of UPF 50:

This garment will block 98% of the ultraviolet rays from your skin. This means only 2 % of the sun’s rays will get to your skin. Can you sunburn with 2 % of the UV rays hitting your skin? Yes, but it will take a while. According to the Old Farmers Almanac, you would start burning in 60 minutes.

Most people who are moving around would not sunburn in 60 minutes. You would be going from sun to shade and not in direct sun that long unless you were laying out in the sun to deliberately tan.

I realize that most of us still secretly long for that tan we have loved for so long. Fortunately, you are too young to have looked into the mirror after a summer of tan and realize the damage you have done to your skin. And this is before you consider the increased risk of skin cancer.

Let’s trade the love for a tan for the appreciation of healthy skin.

If The Clothing Lable Has A UPF 30 Rating?

This level of UPF protection will block all but 3.3 % or 96.7 % of the dangerous rays from your skin. Again you will eventually get a sunburn but it will take a good while in direct sun.

The UPF rating system is used to measure the effectiveness of sun-protective clothing in blocking out harmful UV radiation from the sun. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and it is similar to the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) used for sunscreen.

If The Lable Reads 15 UPF?

The garment will prevent 91.3 % of the sun’s UV rays. And again, this will take a while to sunburn. For most of us, this is pretty good protection.

The reason I am sharing this information with you is to help you make better decisions for yourself and your family and their skin health.

While the higher sun blocking ability of the UPF 50 rating sounds better, it really may not be that much better.

However, if your family has pale skin, blue eyes, and blond hair, or red-haired and creamy light skin that freckles easily, you may need a UPF rating of 50.

Those with a super high risk of sunburn and sun sensitivity should have higher ratings for their sun blocking clothing. Your skin is so apt to sunburn very quickly. However, if you and your family have more melanin in your skin and are not at such a high risk, a lower rate of UPF may work well.

Darker Tone Skin Might Be Safe With Clothing From Your Closet.

Do you know how to tell if you have clothing that will do an excellent job of blocking the sun off your skin? If your skin is less sensitive to the sun, the sun blocking clothing you need may already be in your closet.

I hope you carry away with you the knowledge that something covering your skin is better than bare skin. Don’t stay out in the sun with no skin protection.

The better fabrics for sunblocking are tightly woven, think denim. Remember there are different weights of denim. Some lighter-weight fabrics are so tightly woven that the sun can’t shine through. These fabrics will make your sun blocking shirt protect you from the sun.

Will these shirts be hotter? Yes, they can be. That is why they should be loosely fitted. Air needs to be able to get under your shirt and wick the sweat away and help you stay cooler. Denim is often 100% cotton. Look for tightly woven fabrics that are cotton-polyester blends as they will be cooler to wear. Blended fabric is usually lighter in weight.

  • Tightly woven fabric
  • Poly/cotton blends allow the fabric to be lighter in weight.
  • Darker colors keep your skin safer than lighter colors do.
  • Lighter colors will however keep you cooler.
  • Looser fit
  • Shirts with a collar protect the neck better than a t-shirt.
  • Long sleeves are important to protect your arms.
  • Long pants and long skirts are better than shorts.
  • Remember your sun hat and sunglasses
  • Apply sunscreen where your skin is not covered, like your hands, and always on your face to protect from reflected rays.

Which Of Your Garments Will Protect You Best?

Skin protection from the sun is too important to your overall health to neglect taking precautions against the sun.

It is also important to remember that even with 50+ UPF-rated clothing, it is impossible to keep out all the UV radiation when outdoors.

If your clothing is wet or stretched, you will be more vernable to the sun getting to your skin.

Probably even more important is UPF-rated clothing in measuring protection from UVB radiation. This is how we get sunburns. There is no measure for UVA radiation which is responsible for early aging.

Remember sunsreen for your face.

UPF-rated clothing is an effective way to protect our skin from harmful UV radiation. It should be used with other sun protection practices to help reduce the risk of sunburn and early aging.

Make a better choice for your sun blocking shirt to protect your skin

Sami’s Take On “5 Potential Dangers and Risks of Sun Exposure for Fair-Skinned Individuals”

For fair-skin individuals to have the best result when protecting their skin from the sun, making some good choices is important to prevent skin damage.

There is no free pass to exposing your skin to the sun for hours on end and not having damage. Even with UPF clothing and sunsreen, reckless sun exposure will result in damage.

Nothing can completely protect you when you choose to overdo the sun.

Wear your sunscreen, and your sun blocking shirt. As well, you need a wide-brim hat and sunglasses. Fair-skinned individuals should add a sun blocking shirt of a deep color and a proper loose fit.

Now you are on the way to a safer fun-in-the-sun day. Add avoiding the stronger sun ray time of day, and look for shade for you and your family to enjoy the time outside.

Prepare with keeping fluids available, and portable shade like umbrellas, pop-up tents, and shades. Keep younger and older members of your family in shaded areas when possible. It is possible that a good number of your family group is fair-skinned if you are. You are all at higher risk.

Here’s hoping to not see you in the dermatologist’s office. Hopefully, you are using safe-sun habits, keeping your skin free of skin cancer.

Thank you,


Sami’s Take On UPF Clothing Rating 101

Covering your skin when in the sun is the best way to protect your skin from sun damage that can lead to skin cancer.

However, using common sense to limit the time in the sun during the more dangerous time of day will also help a lot. Covering your skin, limiting sun time, and adding sunscreen will give you an enjoyable time outside as well as protect your skin for better skin health throughout life.

How are you using UPF clothing in your daily fun in the sun days?

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