Sun-protective fabrics differ from regular fabrics by typically having a tighter weave or knit. Garments made with these fabrics may have a label listing the garment’s Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) value.
UPF rating indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed by the fabric. A fabric with a UPF rating of 20 allows 1/20th of the sun’s UV radiation to pass through it. This means that the fabric would reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure by 20 times when covered by the fabric.
The Higher the UPF, the Higher the UV protection
- Good -UPF 15 to 24
- Very Good -UPF 25 to 39
- Excellent -UPF 40 to 50
Garments with a rated above UPF 50 may not offer substantially more protection than those with a UPF of 50. Those rated below 15, offer little UV-protective. Sun-protective clothing may lose its effectiveness if it’s too tight or stretched out, damp or wet, or worn and washed repeatedly. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed a standard guide for the testing and labeling of UV protective fabrics which is not mandatory. ASTM compliant manufactures label their garments with UPF values.
- Wear sunglasses- Reduces sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage.
- Wear sun protective clothing- reduces the amount of radiation reaching the skin
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat- protects areas prone to sun overexposure i.e. eyes, ears, face and the back of neck
- Use sunscreen before you go out, and reapply every two hours.
- Water resistant sunscreens will come off when you towel off sweat or water.
- Be aware- children under six months of age should never have sunscreen applied to their skin; protect by sun avoidance
- Avoid midday sun when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.
- Pay attention to the UV Index- indicates the degree of caution to be taken when outdoors and provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to the sun and predicts exposure levels on a scale of 0 to10+.
Low risk = 0
High risk =10+