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UPF clothing | all you need to know before buying [best guide]

By now, many people have embraced sunscreen lotion on up to SPF 100+, but have you ever heard about SPF clothing?

If you’re only pasting on chemical microparticles, you’re missing the rest of the sun protection component:


While there will always be a place for high-quality sunscreen on body parts exposed to the sun, covering up elsewhere can minimize a person’s skin cancer risk significantly.

Ideally, it's possible with clothing designed to absorb or shield the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

This is where SPF clothing comes in to play!

But what is the SPF clothing?

Clothing that is certified sun-protection, will have a UV Protection (UPF) of 15-50 and give you up to 10 times the protection of traditional clothing.

For comparison, a typical cotton T-shirt has a UPF rating of about 5. A challenge with some SPF clothing, however, is they can often have chemical agents, which can pose a problem to your skin and often wash out after a few spins around the washing machine. 

And up until more recent times, some have complained that the wear isn’t always the most fashionable.

You might then ask yourself, how can I find the best of all worlds: Safe, long lasting and fashionable SPF clothing?

or even how can I compare two products?

The good news is that the marketplace at least in some instances is starting to come around to using natural ingredients in the fabric versus chemical while being in vogue at the same time.

This could be part of the reason for the recent surge in popularity, with SPF clothing…

You can now walk under the fury of the sun without fear, and look great while doing it!

Still not entirely convinced…

Shirts Block UV-B Radiation but Not UV-A

so sending your kids to play outside in the summer, wearing a cotton T-shirt, means they are nearly “naked” as far as UV rays are concerned.

Would you send your kids to play in the sun without wearing a shirt?

Surely not!

When wearing a shirt under direct sunlight we do not get sunburned, we just get sun tanning at the arms and are fooled to believe the shirt is protecting us from harmful UV-A. 


This is only partly true. Do you know why?

We are managing to filter only the UV type B radiation, which causes tanning and sunburns!

But the silent killer is the UV-A rays.

These are the longer wavelength of ultraviolet. They come to earth along with the visible sunlight.

UV type A, are longer than UVB and can penetrate clouds. Even on cloudy days, there is light.

If there is light there is UV-A. for sure!

UV-A can reflect off surfaces (like water, snow or sand) and it can penetrate glass and fabrics, but UV-B can't.

How do they check UV sun protection level for clothes?

When placing a cotton shirt in front of a UV lamp, and placing a spectrometer on the other side (a device which measures UV light).

Scientists can check how much UV is reaching the other side.

As I said before, cotton shirts do a lousy job protecting you from the sun! Though man-made fabrics do better at filtering UV, most of them are not as friendly to be wearing at summer.


Scientists have found that if special UV absorbing materials are inserted into the fabrics, they tend to filter UV by higher rates.

By testing different types of dyes, weaving and UV filtering ingredients, they managed to create wearable UV-armor clothing, some which block 98% of all incoming UV!!

With recent news about the inadequacy of many sunscreens — the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found that 4 out of 5 name-brand sunscreens offer inadequate protection from the sun and/or contain potentially carcinogenic ingredients — covering up instead of smearing is looking better and better to many that like being outside.

The only question now ...
Will my clothing be chemical free and how awesome do I look?

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