Have you asked yourself Will My Child Be Safe In A Sun Blocking Shirt?
Will My Child Be Safe In A Sun Blocking Shirt? How can we keep those kids of ours safe? We know that the sun is dangerous, and can cause problems with their skin.
So, do sun block shirts protect better than a regular shirts?
UV sunlight rays can penetrate through the micro-holes caused by the weaves of regular clothes. Those same sunlight rays can even travel directly through a light-colored shirt.
With UPF clothing, the block is much more complete, giving you better protection from the sun.
Does Sun Protection Clothing Work?
Your clothing provides an easier and larger barrier against those dangerous UV rays from the sun. If you wear this clothing, and it’s not wet, it does protect you from the sun.
If you’re an avid beachgoer, surfer, a water baby, or participate in active sports outdoors in the sun, chances are that you are complaining about the need to slather on sunscreen every other time you turn around. This can almost take the fun out of the play for some of us.
After all, it’s recommended that you reapply sunscreen every two hours or less. Then if you are toweling off, swimming, or sweating, you should apply more frequently. This is how it is for me anytime I am out when it is hot and humid.
So it is no wonder I have a skin cancer removal surgeries in my history? I avoided extra applications of sunscreen that would have kept me safer.
And although clothing won’t solve all your problems of protecting your skin from the sun, clothing can be the missing layer for keeping your skin safe from skin cancer.
Clothing is a base to plan and build your skin protection from the sun on. Your sun blocking clothing is another layer to be used in coordination with sunscreen. Sunscreen is a good tool for protecting your skin. So is sun blocking clothing a great tool for keeping your skin safe from the sun’s harsh rays?
When you use the two together, you will be doubling your protection.
Understanding UPF Clothing
Let’s take a little time to find out how sun blocking clothing is different than just regular old clothes out of your closet. Understand UPF Clothing?
Well for starters, dermatologists tell us that when talking about fabrics, we should use the term “UPF,” which stands for ultraviolet protection factor.
When talking about or referring to sunscreen, we should use the term “SPF,” or the more familiar sun protection factor.
“Most cotton tee shirts give you an equivalent of about a UPF of 5 when you’re wearing it,” is how Alok Vij, with the Cleveland Clinic, explains the protection we get from UPF clothing. This example is with a tee shirt from your closet. When the shirt gets wet, the protection goes down.
Resource: (AlokVij https://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/20191-alok-vij?)
So many of the garments from our closet that we wear have a loose weave. That lets visible light peek through and get to your skin. With UPF-protected clothes, the weave is different. Plus often the UPF is made from a special fabric to help form a barrier against the sun’s rays.
UV from the sun’s rays can penetrate through the micro holes in the weaves of regular clothes or can just travel directly through a light-colored shirt. With UPF clothing, the block is much better, giving your skin more protection from the sun.
I also notice that most sun protection clothing for kids looks and feels like activewear or athleisure. With the variety of shirts, leggings, and hats there are usually items that will cover all but the most specialized needs.
Since there is a much higher thread count, UPF clothing often feels a little more luxurious than your standard Tee-shirt.
Is Sun Blocking Clothing Or Sunscreen The Better Choice
Putting on sun blocking clothing is usually easier for most of us, than applying sunscreen multiple times a day.
Your sun blocking hat, sunglasses, UPF shirt, and pants, can offer great long-lasting sun protection coverage. But, there are still areas of your body that may receive exposure to UV rays, like your hands, neck, or face.
This is where your sunscreen still comes into the routine as an important part of skin protection. You can also wear UPF gloves, to protect your hands. This can help ensure that you don’t wind up with the back of your hands looking like mine do!
“Most fabrics that are rated by the UPF ratings are UPF 50 or higher. This gives you 98% coverage from the sun’s rays. That means only 2% can get through to you!
That is surely better than your typical SPF sunscreen. Even with the high blocking ability of the clothing, the recommendation is for people to choose a combination of both sunscreen and UPF clothing to get the best possible protection.
How Long Will The UPF Last In My Child’s Shirt?
Are you wondering about the lifecycle of UPF clothing? Does it wear out? Or does the protection wash off? Will laundering often make a difference?
Dr. Vji, from the Cleveland Clinic, mentioned above, tells us that like any other fabric, this sun blocking fabric will eventually break down with frequent use. However, it’s reasonable to expect the apparel to last two or three years or 30 or so laundry cycles.
When I contacted Coolibar for their life expectancy on the ability to protect our skin from the sun, 2 years was the norm for them. They also stated that it is important to follow the laundry instructions for your garment and to be aware that there are often different instructions for different garments.
How do you know when your UPF shirt is not as safe for you as it once was? Is the shirt looking worn? Are there spots where the fabric has faded? Does the shirt let light through the weave holes that used to not be there?
I am older and tend to wear my clothes longer than I did when I was younger. I have to admit that sometimes I forget how long I have been wearing a particular garment. I don’t get up and dress for work, so I don’t have the same antenna I once had for clothes looking worn.
So a good habit for me would be to put a date on the underside of the neckband or yoke of the shirt. For my husband and myself, this would alert me when it might be good to wash with Sunguard. Or at least a fabric brightener.
Read labels and follow directions. Know how your clothes are protecting you.
Why Children Need UPF Clothing
Research shows that just five serious sunburns are all it takes to greatly increase a child’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. This makes the hot summer months a good time to take stock of how you as a parent can best protect your children’s skin.
One product getting a lot of buzzes is sun-protective clothing, which is also known as UV swimwear or UPF clothing. As parents, we often wonder if UPF clothing is always working to protect our family’s skin. Let’s look at information from another Dermatologist from here in Texas and her suggestions for taking care of our family’s skin.
How Do Sun Blocking Clothing And UPF Clothing Help Our Skin?
Nnenna Agim, M.D., Division Director of Dermatology at Children’s Health and Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern, gives some information about how sun-protective clothing works and tips to help parents to keep their children’s skin healthy all year long.
Source for Nnenna Agim ( https://www.childrens.com/doctor-profile/nnenna-gebechi-agim)
The more familiar “SPF” (sun protection factor) rating is for sunscreen.
Sun-protective clothing protects the skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays and sunburn. It is manufactured by using a tighter weave or with thread that scatters UV rays and prevents them from hitting the skin.
Clothing is rated, but by using a “UPF”, which stands for “ultraviolet protection factor.”
UPF refers to how many UV rays can pass through clothing and reach the skin. For example, a shirt with a UPF rating of 50 or more blocks 98% of the sun’s rays, allowing only 2% to get through. This is as high as the testing goes. Protection beyond a rating of 50 may not do a great deal more good than 50.
Dr. Agim explains, “All clothing offers some level of protection against the sun, but sun-protective clothing offers far more protection against UV rays,”
“A white, cotton shirt has a UPF rating of about seven, which means it only blocks out 7% of the sun’s UV rays. When compared to a shirt with a UPF of 30, or even 50, it’s easy to see how much better sun protective clothing can help protect the skin.”
Guide for UPF Rating
- UPF 15 Blocks 93% of the UV rays
- UPF 25 Blocks 96% of the UV rays
- UPF 35 Blocks 97.1% of the UV rays
- UPF 50 Blocks 98% of the UV rays
What Can I Expect From UPF Clothing?
“Sun protective clothing, like UPF shirts, is very effective,” says Dr. Agim. “It’s just important to keep a few things in mind when wearing sun-protective clothing and caring for it.”
While UPF protection doesn’t wear off like sunscreen, users should keep in mind that if your UPF clothing gets wet, protection may be about one-half of the protection when dry. Read your labels and hang tags with the purchase of the garment.
“A shirt with a UPF of 50 is still going to offer some protection when swimming in a pool or lake, but the protection is cut down by about half,” she explains. Some protection is better than no protection.
Dr. Agim also recommends parents read laundry instructions carefully to learn how to properly wash and dry sun blocking fabric and how long the garment will last.
If the garment is not properly laundered and cared for, the UPF protection factor will likely be greatly reduced in a short amount of time.
Protecting My Child From The Sun
Sun-protective clothing is just one way to protect their skin.
Dr. Agim recommends parents put as many layers of protection between their children’s skin and the sun as possible. That includes adding sunscreen on all exposed skin. Helping your children find playtime in the shade is another very effective layer to add to their skin protection.
Having your children aware of their shadows is a good way to help them learn to help take care of their skin. When their shadow gets shorter or disappears as it does at high noon when the sun’s rays are the strongest, they need to be in the house, out of the sun.
When it is safer to be in the sun, early morning and later afternoons are when their shadow is longer. They should do like the shadow and get in and out of the sun during the hotter rays time.
Dr. Agim and her team work exclusively with children, so they understand the challenges parents face when convincing kids to wear sunscreen. Her simple advice is something all parents should keep in mind. “Make putting on sunscreen part of your everyday routine,” she recommends.
“When wearing sunscreen is like brushing teeth, making the bed or getting dressed, then it becomes routine and quickly accepted and something they know they can’t fight every day.”
She encourages parents to set an example by also applying sunscreen each day. “When our children see us wearing sunscreen, they understand the importance even more.”
Where Can I Find Sun UPF Clothing For Kids?
Sun blocking clothing is becoming more widely available through major retailers and clothing brands. This makes it easy to find online or even in Walmart.
Sun-protective clothing has come a long way in a few years. Manufacturers are realizing that appearance makes it easier to feel comfortable wearing the protection that UPF clothing can offer. UPF looks more and more like normal swimsuits or clothes you would wear on any normal day.
If you are on a budget or have several children, you may be more comfortable with this DIY hack. Add SunGuard to the laundry when washing a load of shirts and tee shirts. A little hint: if your washer can do a soak cycle, this will allow the clothing to absorb more of the sun blocking ability.
The protection is temporary and usually comes out after about 20 washes. However, if you have a closet full of shirts that fit already, this will allow you to make the protection better in the older worn shirts. SunGuard can be found online and at several major retailers.
Stay aware of ways to help your family stay safe in the sun. Yes, your child will be safe in a sun blocking shirt. Add sunscreen and avoid high sun rays times. Protection for our skin is possible. It is important to keep our skin healthy, it must last a long time.
Sami’s Take On Will My Child Be Safe In A Sun Blocking Shirt?
Yes, taking extra steps to care for our children and help them stay safe in the sun is important.
I didn’t always make wise moves with my children’s skin. I just didn’t know better. Now I do, and we are all more careful and mindful of the sun and the dangers to our skin.
Staying safe in the sun is a lifestyle that we have to adapt to and involves taking better care of our skin in the sun.
Kids will help you when you start working with skin protection. No one appreciates sunscreen and the reapplication. I don’t so, who can blame those kids? Being able to protect themselves with less sunscreen by adding a sun blocking hat, sunglasses, and a long sleeve loose-fitting sun blocking shirt will get more cooperation.
Staying aware of what we have to protect ourselves will help our children to have less skin cancer in their life.
We can live safer in the sun. What can you do for keeping your family safer?