When it comes to UPF fabric and UV protection clothing, there's one question I get all the time:
don't my clothes already protect me from the sun?
The disappointing truth: not really!
While most fabrics do provide some level of protection, their UPF ratings are not all equal or as high as you may think. They should have a UPF rating above 50 (UPF 50+) for their UV protection fabrics. Here we want to break down the factors for choosing the best sun protection fabrics
What does UPF mean?
To make it clear ...
A UPF protection clothing with rate 50 means that only 2% (1/50th) of the Ultraviolet rays can penetrate the UV blocking fabrics. So the bigger the UPF rating is, The more UV protective the clothing is.
Note that you have heard terms like "SPF clothing", "SPF fabric" or "UV fabric". They are technically wrong since SPF is for sun screens and not for UV blocking fabrics and clothing. Learn more about why SPF is different from UPF and Why SPF fabric doesn't exist!
I didn't know this either until I witnessed a friend get a sunburn on her back after playing tennis in the sun despite wearing her cotton t-shirt for protection.
Up to 80% of the sun's UVA and UVB rays can still reach your skin on a cloudy day.
Did you really know?
It turns out there are many factors can impact the UPF protection rating of your clothing. The average UPF of a cotton or linen t-shirt is about 5, which as we told above means it allows 1/5th of the UV rays to penetrate your skin. Learn how your UV protective clothing blocks the UV rays?
Which is well enough to cause sunburn or lead to skin cancer!
To my surprise ...
most of the lightweight and breathable summer clothes I owned, such as my silk kaftans and white linen pants, only offered minimal protection from the harmful effects of the sun.
What is UPF 50+ protection clothing?
UPF protection clothing is made by UPF 50+ fabrics which can protect your skin against the sun by blocking UV rays.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, clothing is the best way to protect your skin from harmful rays, as it doesn't wash off or require reapplication like sunscreen.
UPF protection clothing is also appropriate for those cloudy days when the sun's rays can still reach your skin.
Dermatologists and skincare advocates agree that UPF 50 clothing is the best way to protect your skin from the sun.
For most sunblock fabrics for clothing, there are two traditional ways they can be made UPF 50+ fabric; known as the best fabric for sun protection.
They can be coated with colorless dyes that help block out the UV rays during the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, this process is not eco-friendly, and the chemicals typically wash out after a few laundry cycles.
Tightly woven fabrics
The second way to make a fabric UPF 50+ is to make sure the fabric is tightly woven. The tighter the weave, the more UV protection a garment is, as holes in between the fibers allow sunlight to get through unimpeded.
The third way, which we call the Luminous way, resolves the problem of having to choose between comfort and UV blocking. These kinds of UPF materials are the ones you can find in the best UPF clothing brands.
The most common fabrics with these tight weaves are denim and polyester, which both have a UPF of 1,700.
But who wants to wear these heavy and uncomfortable normal fabrics during the hot summer months?
Does my clothing block UV rays?
- Polyester and wool fabrics provide UV protection of about 30, but their drawback is that they are not breathable, especially under the sun!
- Cotton, linen, and viscose frequently offer poor UV protection ranging between 5 to 25 which may be enough to avoid sun burn, but the accumulated sun exposure may lead to skin damage and ultimately skin cancer
- Luminora fabrics offer UV Protection of 50+, which means less than 1/50 of UV rays (-2%) can pass through the fabric, protecting the skin from all harmful UV rays while retaining softness and breath-ability.
What is the best UPF fabric for clothing?
The Luminology Technology™ fabric has been infused with an all natural plant-based oil that makes the fabric naturally UV-blocking fabric and best sun protective clothing, without exposing your skin to any chemicals or leaving you hot and uncomfortable. We at Luminora use this third method for sun blocking the fabrics in the UPF clothing.
⁃ Antimicrobial (odor resistant)
- Moisture impermeable (protects from respiratory droplets)
⁃ Temperature regulating (allows for comfort no matter the climate)
⁃ Soft and lightweight (allows for comfort and ease)
⁃ Breathable (you can breathe comfortably)
⁃ UPF 50 + (blocks 98% of harmful UVA/UVB rays)
⁃ Quick drying (air dries in less than 30 minutes)
⁃ Fade resistant (looks new wash after wash)
- Fabric Contents 81% Polyester, 19% Spandex
With the risks of skin cancer and excessive sun exposure, it's important to protect your skin from the sun. Even if you can't see the sun!
Dermatologists, including our co-founder Dr. Hendi, and the Skin Cancer Foundation agree that wearing UPF 50+ clothing is the best way to stop the UV rays from reaching your skin because they're designed specifically with protection in mind.
While normal fabrics can be altered to a slightly higher UPF rating in a variety of ways, buying best UPF protection clothing is the only guarantee of protection.
Investing in several of these pieces will leave you and your family happy, healthy, and protected for seasons to come.
Love & Luminora