Color Of Clothing Matters Sun Blocking Clothing

Why Dark Colors Are Better At Sun Protection

There is scientific proof that backs up claims about dark colors and their ability to improve your skin’s sun protection.

As you are learning how to find those garments in your closet that are just regular clothing, not special UPF items? Pay attention to the reasons darker colors are better than lighter ones.

Darker colors absorb the UV rays. They don’t get to your skin until they are released as warmth.

At least they won’t get through the fabric if it is tightly woven. Looser weaves that let light through will also allow UV rays through.

Witnessing my children face skin cancer struggles intensified my commitment to break the cycle. For the past four years, I’ve immersed myself in the study of sun-blocking clothing. With a singular purpose: to put an end to the relentless cycle of skin cancer for my grandkids and generations to come.

This journey isn’t just about preventing sun damage; it’s about empowerment and resilience. It’s about offering practical solutions that go beyond sunscreen and hats, creating a shield against the harmful effects of the sun. My advocacy is a beacon of hope, urging individuals and families to adopt sun-safe practices.

How To Improve Your Sun Protection

When talking about sun protection, the color of your clothing plays a pivotal role in determining its effectiveness.

Dark colors, such as black, navy, and dark green, have been favored for their ability to shield the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

This preference isn’t merely a stylistic choice.

It’s deeply rooted in the science of how colors interact with ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

It is time to reacquaint you with the reasons why dark colors do a better job of blocking the sun.

Dark colors are better for sun protection

The Power of Dark Pigments

The secret of the superiority of dark colors in sun protection is their remarkable capacity to absorb more UV radiation.

As a sunlight ray reaches the Earth it contains several types of radiation. Some are visible as light and some are UV radiation. You can’t see the difference with the naked eye.

Dark-colored fabrics, because of their pigmentation, excel at absorbing a substantial portion of the UV spectrum.

This absorption effectively acts as a barrier, preventing UV rays from penetrating the clothing and reaching your skin.

Research consistently credits the ability of dark pigments to absorb UV radiation.

When used for clothing, navy, deep purple, brown, black, or dark green protect your skin by absorbing UV radiation.

The darker the color, the more UV radiation it absorbs. This provides an added layer of defense against the potential danger of prolonged sun exposure.

Fabric Is the Base for a Strong Defense

While color is a critical factor, the fabric is equally important in the sun blocking capabilities.

Some fabrics offer superior UV protection due to the yarns they are made of.

Tightly woven fabrics with denser fibers create a more effective barrier against UV rays. The thicker newer fabric is better at reducing the amount of radiation that can pass through.

Think about the difference in the weight of a new tee shirt and one that has been washed a lot. When the fabric is 100% cotton, you get better protection when the shirt is newer. A blend of polyester and cotton will protect you better in a lightweight shirt.

Synthetic fabric blends are usually more tightly woven because the threads are thinner and can be woven more closely together. So synthetic fabrics are usually more protective than natural fabrics. Wool, when tightly woven can be very protective, but too hot to wear in the summertime.

There are exceptions to the wool being hot in merino wool. There are often selections in this fiber that are cool and comfortable when worn in the warmer time of the year.

Selecting clothing with a higher Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) enhances sun protection. When you are investing in UPF clothing, your protection is done for you.

UPF is a rating system measuring the amount of UV radiation a fabric allows to reach the skin. Fabrics with higher UPF values provide greater protection, making them a better choice for those seeking reliable sun defense.

When working with what you have in your closet this information for selecting the better protection fabrics is important. Most of us build a UPF wardrobe slowly as we figure out how to make it work in our everyday world.

Dark colors and closer weaves are better sun protection

Tighter Weave of the Fabric Gives Better Protection

Since this is such an important part of your skin protection from the sun, it is worth a bit more attention to make sure you are comfortable making decisions.

The weave of the fabric significantly contributes to its sun-blocking capabilities. The image above explains weave. It is enlarged to show detail.

A tighter weave reduces the spaces through which UV radiation can pass.

Fabrics with an open or loose weave allow more sunlight to reach the skin, reducing their protective qualities.

When selecting clothing for optimal sun protection from your closet, prioritize tightly woven fabrics. Knits can be great, but if worn a good bit may not protect as well as when they were new.

Knits of specially treated yarns that reflect and absorb the UV rays, or UPF clothing are great and the label will tell you how much protection you are getting.

Again, when choosing your clothing for sun protection from your existing closet, consider layering clothing with multiple weaves. This can give you better overall skin protection.

Understanding the role of weave in sun protection empowers you to make informed choices about your clothing.

UV-Blocking Chemical Treatments

To help add that extra layer of defense, the UPF-rated garment industry may use special UV-blocking chemicals.

Improvements in textile technology have allowed them to develop methods to treat fabrics with UV-blocking chemicals.

These treatments introduce an additional layer of protection by either absorbing or reflecting UV radiation.

Clothing labeled as “UV-protective” often undergoes specialized treatments during the manufacturing process to enhance its sun-blocking capabilities.

While UV-blocking chemical treatments can enhance the UV protection of any color, they are frequently incorporated into darker fabrics to capitalize on the natural UV absorption properties of these colors.

Understanding the role of chemical treatments in sun protection allows advancements in textile science. This new information, in turn, will increase your ability to protect your skin.

Shopping for protection for your skin from your closet will be easier as you add a few UPF garments.

The Mix of Color and Fabric Technology

As you grow more comfortable with the science behind the sun blocking properties of dark colors, you will recognize the interconnectedness of color and fabric technology.

The best sun protection is achieved through a synergistic approach that combines the UV-absorbing qualities of dark pigments with the structural advantages of specific fabrics.

As you are building a sun blocking wardrobe, you have choices so that you can shop for clothing that is comfortable to wear, and reflects your personality.

How Color and Fabric Meet to Protect Your Skin

Clothing designers have made progress in using each of the elements available to them to make UPF clothing work to protect your skin.

Let’s steal a few of their secrets to use when shopping in your closet for skin protection.

Design considerations using not only the color and fabric but also the coverage and styling of the garment will increase your protection.

Clothing with extended sleeves that cover the tops of your hands. Wide-brim hats that are made of tightly woven materials. Hats can be of straw, as long as the weave is tight. Long pants and skirts offer more skin protection.

The important thing is to wear something. Don’t allow the sun to shine for hours on your skin when it is not protected. Even a worn-out tee shirt is better than nothing.

Don’t forget your sunscreen. Apply sunscreen where your clothing does not cover your skin.

This applies in all seasons. It may take a bit longer to get a sunburn or other sun damage in the cooler times of the year, but it will happen.

Why dark colors are better at sun protection

Sami’s Take on “Why Dark Colors Are Better At Sun Protection

Achieving optimal sun protection is not a one-and-done solution. It is a holistic effort that uses all the tools available.

From the UV-absorbing qualities of dark pigments with the structural advantages of specific fabrics.

The combined effort of color and fabric is evident in clothing designed to provide a complete defense against the sun’s harmful rays.

As you navigate this information to help protect your skin from the sun understand how all these elements empower you.

You are now in a position to make informed choices for your skin safety. Whether shopping in your closet or for UPF clothing you can move forward with a conscious and educated approach to sun protection.

Don’t overlook the simple things like always wearing clothing to cover your skin when exposed to the sun.

Choose the times before 10 AM and after 4 PM to avoid the sun.

Drink plenty of water, dehydrated skin will be damaged quickly

Thank you,



Center For Disease Control.Gov.

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