Best Fabric for UV protection? Ordinary vs UPF Fabric

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 UPFs are not all equal or as high as you may think. They should have UPF rating above 50 for their fabrics. 

What does UPF mean?

The UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor which is a numerical rating to clothing. This rating shows how UV radiations will be blocked by the fabric.

To make it clear ... 

A UPF protection clothing with rate 50 means that only 2% (1/50th) of the Ultraviolet rays can penetrate the fabric. So the bigger the UPF rating is, The more UV protective the clothing is. 


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.

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 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 skin care advocates agree that UPF 50 clothing is the best way to protect your skin from the sun.

For most fabrics, there are two traditional ways they can be made UPF 50+ fabric.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 protective a garment is, as holes in between the fibers allow sunlight to get through unimpeded.

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 fabrics during the hot summer months?


What is the best UPF clothing?

The third way, which we call the Luminous way, resolves the problem of having to choose between comfort and UV blocking.

Our Luminology Technology™ fabric has been infused with an all natural plant-based oil that makes the fabric naturally UV protective and best sun protective clothing, without exposing your skin to any chemicals or leaving you hot and uncomfortable. 

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,


1 comment

  • Brad

    Thanks for your thorough article. but what brands are most known for using these fabrics?

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