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FAQ for UPF fabric and Sun safety [Definitive Guide]

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UPF Clothing and Fabrics

UV rays and SPF

UV protective clothing

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Sun safety, Skincare, and Skin cancer



UPF Clothing, UPF Fabrics, UV rays, and SPF


What is UPF?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is the rating given to clothing for its broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

SPF in sunscreen measures only effectiveness against UVB rays, while UPF measures protection against the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation.

All UPF 50+ Luminora clothing,  offer broad-spectrum protection that blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays. No Luminora products have a rating of less than UPF 50.


What is SPF?

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is the rating given to lotions, liquids, sprays, and solids sunblock and sunscreen products.

SPF only measures the product’s effectiveness against UVB rays and how much time you can stay in the sun before getting burned.

Experts recommend an SPF 30 or higher, particularly if you are fair skinned, light-eyed, have freckles and red hair or have a family history of skin cancer.

While all skin tones can be affected by UV rays, lighter skin tones are recorded to have the highest incidence of skin cancer.


Why UPF clothing?

It is more cost-effective than sunscreen products since you don’t need to re-apply every few hours. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UPF clothing can protect your skin against UVA and UVB radiation and decrease the chance of skin cancer and sunburn, especially in summer.


Why SPF clothing?

The term “SPF Clothing” does not exist! SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it is only used to rate a sunscreen's ability to protect against UVB rays. UPF is a rating used for clothing & fabrics that protect you from both UVA & UVB rays.

SPF Fabric vs UPF Fabric? Which is right?

The straightforward answer is that SPF is a factor for lotions and UPF is a factor for clothing and fabrics. Clothing brands labeled as SPF protection are misleading.


Why SPF is different from UPF? SPF vs UPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin protected with sunscreen products to redden from UVB ( burning ) rays.

UPF is a broad-spectrum UVA and UVB measure for fabric, and it rates the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin.

A garment with a UPF of 50 only allows 1/50th of the UV radiation falling on the surface of the garment to pass through it. It blocks 49/50ths or 98% of the UV radiation. Clothing brands that cite SPF are not full spectrum protection.


What is UPF clothing? What is UPF 50+ fabric?

UPF (Sun protective) clothing is clothing specifically designed for sun protection and is produced with fabrics rated for its level of ultraviolet protection. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, only 2% of UV rays can go through UPF clothing whereas up to 20% of the UV rays can pass through regular clothing, substantially increasing the chance of skin cancer.


What does the rating of UPF clothing mean?

The UPF rating is a factor to measure the UVA and UVB rays will reach the skin. For example, 50 UPF means 1/50 of the sun’s rays will reach the skin. The higher the UPF, the lower the radiation and harm is transmitted to the skin.


Is there a big difference between UPF 50+ and UPF 30? UPF 30 vs UPF 50+

In the world of sun protection, more is better is generally better. UPF 30 blocks 97% of UV radiation while UPF 50+ blocks 98%-100%.

Truly a case of more is better. Of note, when looking at SPF in sunscreens, a larger number does not necessarily mean a higher level of protection.

Look for “broad spectrum” coverage of at least SPF 30 to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.


What does your “+” in UPF 50+ stand for?

The fact is Luminora’s level of sun protection exceeds all worldwide published standards for UPF 50 ratings.

That means when we test our fabrics and clothing, or ultraviolet protection factor far exceeds the protection level of 50.

But, because the standard for certification stops at UPF 50, we indicate that we go above and beyond by using the “+” symbol, so you know our clothes can block more than 98% of UV rays.


Where to buy UPF 50+ fabric or clothing?

Always look for credible brands that provide you valuable information and provide you quality products. Actually, you are in the middle of Luminora’s shop. Luminora is one of few UV protective brand for women, that guarantees UPF 50+ wash after wash.

Does UPF clothing work?

Yes! While technically all clothing can be considered sun-protective if it covers up the skin, sun protection clothing carries a UPF rating that's designed to provide more protection. According to the skin cancer foundation, by UPF clothing with rating 50+, only 2% of UV rays will reach the skin.

While This number of regular clothing can be up to 20%.

Just like SPF in sunscreen, the numbers range for UPF in clothing, in this case from 15 to 50-plus.


Is UPF clothing safe?

Yes, but be aware that some UPF brands coat their garments with chemicals to protect from the sun, but those wash out and can be harmful to your skin and the environment. Our Luminology technology(r)  fabrics are naturally infused with a plant-based oil which gives it all of its functional properties without the use of chemicals, and which lasts wash after wash.

Luminora’s UV protection clothing also passes variant series of tests for their UPF rating and quality check. As such, if you have decided to buy from our store we guarantee your satisfaction.


How to test UPF clothing? Can I test UPF clothing by myself?

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is a spectral transmission analysis which can quantify exactly how much UV radiation permeates materials. The UPF Rating Scale is between 15 and 50:

  • 15-24 is good
  • 25-39 is very good
  • 40 or higher is excellent
  • There are some methods to test UPF fabrics and clothing but you cannot do it at home. All UPF clothing made in the USA have certifications for passed tests. We recommend you notice the manufacturer’s tag and make sure your clothes are certified.

    Here at Luminora, we take pride in making sure all of our fabrics are tested and meet the highest standards of testing in the US. For more information See the UV protective clothing list (Link)


    What is UV testing and why does it matter?

    It matters because your sun safety is our first concern. While most other brands only test against one UV safety standard, Luminora invests in testing our fabrics multiple times against multiple published UPF standards for UV transmittance and safety.

    Testing evaluates UV transmittance before and afterlife cycle tests – laundering, sunlight and chlorinated water. What’s equally important to know is that UV rays react differently to colors, patterns, and fabrics.


    What is organic UPF clothing?

    Organic means it is derived from natural ingredients. Luminora’s formula for its UPF clothing is all plant-based, so it is organic and Chemical-free, which makes them safe on your skin and on our environment.


    Is UPF clothing worth it?

    Yes. Dealing with the consequences of skin cancer and skin damage is devastating and costly. Sunscreen is expensive and needs to be reapplied every few hours to be effective. According to Luminora’s co-founder Dr. Ali Hendi, one must apply a shot of sunscreen every few hours to warrant its effectiveness. Accordingly investing in clothing that stays on and keeps its UPF factor wash after a wash is the wisest line of defense against harmful UV rays.


    What are UVA rays and UVB rays?

    UVA (aging) rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer, while UVB (burning) rays are primarily responsible for premature skin aging, brown spots, wrinkling, and blotching.

    UVA rays have been shown to cause skin damage at the cellular level and may cause a great deal of internal damage, such as organ problems.

    Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging), and suppression of the immune system.

    UVB rays are more intense rays that usually burn the superficial layers of your skin and damage the outer layers of the skin. UVB rays play a key role in the development of skin cancer.


    How does your fabric block UV rays?

    All of our garments are made with Luminology Technology® fabric. This proprietary fabric has been infused with a plant-based oil, which gives it all of its functional properties.

    Since the oil is woven into the fabric, our fabrics are naturally UPF 50+, wrinkle resistant, antimicrobial, temperature regulating, and quick drying.

    Never coated with chemicals to attain functionality, our fabrics will last wash after wash after wash.


    What is Broad Spectrum?

    Broad spectrum, in sunscreen and clothing, defines protection against both UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays).

    Luminora clothing offers broad-spectrum UPF 50+ protection and protects against the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation.

    *Tip* When choosing a sunblock, be sure to read the label and look for broad spectrum as well.



    UV protective clothing, Sizing, Shipping, and Returns



    How long does UPF Fabric last?

    Although the life span of any garment depends on the frequency of washes and the quality of detergent used to wash the clothing, high-quality UPF clothing can last 3-5 years. Beware of some UPF clothing brands which use chemicals for making the garment sun-protective. These chemicals can wash out with as few as 5 washes and are harmful to our environment.


    Do you ship internationally?

    Yes, we do ship internationally. Be sure to choose your country and desired to ship at checkout.

    What’s your return policy?

    Hassle-free shipping. We offer a 15-day return and a 30-day exchange policy. To send your order back to us, you can send us a message at

    To help make the return or exchange easy, we cover the cost of shipping. If you have any further questions about returns or exchanges you can email Unfortunately, we cannot offer free international returns at this time.


    Where are Luminora products made?

    All of our garments are made in in the USA with quality checked imported fabrics.


    What are the benefits of UPF clothing made in the USA?  

    There are four main benefits of buying American UPF clothing/fabric. Environmental benefits, economic benefits, human rights benefits and price considerations.

    • The more people who purchase products manufactured in the USA, the greater the likelihood of more companies once again manufacturing things in the U.S. This creates jobs and a greater tax income for the country, helping to decrease unemployment and provide benefits to Americans, including Social Security.
    • Products carrying a "Made in the USA" label may be better for the environment. They don't have to travel as far, so they have a lower carbon footprint.
    • Clothing made in developing countries with minimal regulations may be cheaper, but it may also come at the cost of human lives. Workers often have to deal with sweatshop conditions and unsafe buildings. While this isn't always the case, it's a good idea to reward companies who treat their workers humanely.
    • As manufacturing rules and costs increase in other countries, American-made goods are becoming more competitive with those made overseas. This means the price difference isn't as large as it used to be.


    How does Luminora sizing run? How do your clothes fit?

    Our sizes tend to be a bit smaller! If you prefer your clothing a little more loose in the summer months, we suggest you go a size up. For more detailed information, view the sizing chart in the shop section.


    Sun safety, Skincare, and Skin cancer


    Do I need a sunscreen with my UPF clothes?

    Since UPF clothing protects from 98% of the sun’s rays, there is no reason to put sunscreen underneath the UV clothing. If you prefer to apply sunscreen underneath, we recommend to apply it 15 minutes before you wear your UV protective clothing to prevent staining.


    Do I need to wear sunscreen when wearing UV protective clothing like Luminora?

    While our fabrics are guaranteed to protect you from 99.8% of UVA/UVB rays, sunscreen should still be worn in areas where the skin is exposed. No need to wear sunscreen underneath your luminora clothing!

    Experts recommend protecting all your skin with hats, broad-spectrum sunblock and lip balm of SPF 30 or higher.

    We also recommend good sunglasses. Eyes are susceptible to ocular melanoma, and UV damage contributes to cataracts and macular degeneration.


    Do you really need sunscreen or UPF 50+ clothing if you have dark skin?

    While it’s true that more skin pigment = more melanin = more natural protection, people with dark skin are still at risk for skin cancer and sun damage.

    We recognize that fair and light toned skin and light-eyed people have the highest incidence of skin cancer, darker skin tones have a higher mortality rate, often because a spot of skin cancer is not detected until it’s too late or it’s hidden in places like hands and feet and goes undiagnosed until it’s in a serious stage. The artist Bob Marley died at the age of 36 from skin cancer that went undiagnosed for years on his foot.

    All skin tones need sunblock or sunscreen. Please protect yourself! Other skin cancer scares include Khloé Kardashian, Hugh Jackman, and Bethenny Frankel. Read more


    Doesn’t regular clothing protect me from the sun and UV rays? Why is sun-protective clothing necessary?

    Thick, tightly woven fabrics such as denim and polyester are actually sun-protective and they DO protect you from the sun and UV rays, but who wants to wear those in hot or humid climates?

    Most of us travel with linen and cotton clothing to stay cool and comfortable during those hot summer months. The truth is that a typical cotton or linen T-shirt only has a UPF rate of 5!

    which is not enough to protect you from the harmful, cancer-causing UVA/UVB rays!  

    All our fabrics have been carefully chosen to feel airy and comfortable in hot climates and have been tested and certified to be UPF 50+.

    You can now rest assured that you are being protected without any guesswork!


    Is UPF 50+ clothing necessary?

    Yes! Absolutely, UV lights account for 95 percent of the sun’s rays that hit earth. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, regular clothing, such as a typical cotton T-shirt only has a UPF rating of 5.

    This means 1/5 of the UV rays can penetrate your skin through your shirt, even when it is cloudy.


    I’m young and healthy, do I really need sun protection?

    Outside of the risks of skin cancer, and those can occur at any age, daily sun exposure causes damage.

    FACT: Today, skin cancer is the number one cause of death in young women 25-35, not breast cancer, heart attacks or traffic accidents, but skin cancer! Sun damage is cumulative and never completely heals.

    By wearing a daily broad-spectrum sunblock and practicing other sun safe measures – wearing a hat, protective clothing, sunglasses and staying in the shade – you’ll minimize the dangers of skin cancer and will slow aging.

    Cover up! Experts say 90% of aging is caused by sun exposure, so to stay safe and healthy, maintain supple and smooth skin, cover up.


    What’s the difference between the new mineral sunblocks and chemical sunscreens?

    We all have seen the ghostly white Zinc Oxide! There are also Mineral sunscreens that use natural ingredients Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, and both natural ingredients are physical blockers of UVA and UVB.

    Mineral sunblocks are called physical sunscreens because they form a protective layer on the skin to block and reflect UVA and UVB rays.

    Products for babies and kids often use mineral blockers because of skin sensitivities. Common chemical sunscreens are a combination of two to six active ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate because one ingredient works against UVA rays while another against UVB rays.

    Chemical sunscreens actually absorb rays - UV rays enter the skin, are absorbed and come out usually as infrared rays.

    Even though the latest trend is spray sunscreens, a good old-fashioned lotion that requires a vigorous rubbing to blend allows time for skin absorption and often gains better coverage.

    The ability of any sunscreen product to do its job depends on how well you apply it. Most people only apply 1/3 of the sunscreen needed. Dermatologists recommend using 3 tablespoons of sunscreen to protect your whole body.

    If you don't apply enough, SPF ratings significantly decrease.

    If you have a shot glass, use that as your measure. You need at least 1 ounce for hands, face, and neck. If your body isn’t covered in UPF 50+ clothing, you’ll need to cover with 3 ounces to ensure you have the right amount of sunscreen.

    Then you need to reapply. Sunscreen should be reapplied immediately after toweling off and after 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating.

    *Tip* Don’t neglect easily forgotten places like your ears, feet, backs of legs and calves, underarms and upper back.

    Why do my lips get chapped and burned in the sun?

    Interesting fact about lips, we have no melanin in our lips. Melanin is the skin’s natural protection against the sun;

    it’s what makes our skin turn color in defense of UV rays. Lips have no melanin, so that means, you need to wear an SPF lip balm.  


    Do I need sunscreen on my face if I bought a hat?

    We are asked this frequently. Here is the good news/bad news about face protection. Hats are really made for covering the tops of heads, where melanoma likes to hide in hair.

    Rarely do we see people apply sunscreen to their hair and heads, so a hat is essential. Your head is the highest point and the first point for UV rays to reach.

    But you still need sunscreen on your face. UV rays are very very sneaky. They reflect and bounce up at your face from a variety of surrounding surfaces like grass, sand, water, snow and cement sidewalks.

    We’ve had customers wearing a hat, thinking their face is protected. Even though a brim of 3” or greater is effective coverage for heads and tops of ears, your face, neck, and chest require protection.

    For better daily protection, use a broad-spectrum sunblock of SPF 30 or greater and reapply after 2 hours.


    I still love a tan, so are tanning beds better than the sun?

    No matter what you may hear from tanning salons, the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), and is a known contributor to skin cancer.

    Exposure to UV radiation — whether it’s from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used in tanning beds — increases the risk of developing skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

    Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is linked to getting severe sunburns, especially at a young age.

    In fact, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. If you like the bronzed look of a tan, we recommend a high-quality self-tanner that has an SPF.

    If your bronzer does not have SPF, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen over your self-tanner. There are also retail locations that offer spray tan booths giving you a quick full body tan.

    Do I really need sun protection clothing in the fall and winter?

    Yes. While UVB rays change their intensity based on the sun’s position and the seasons, deeply penetrating UVA rays are present with equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year.

    Even if you are not going outside frequently, UVA rays can penetrate clouds and automotive glass.

    Damage caused by UVA rays, known as the “A” for aging rays, is cumulative and is suspected of contributing to skin cancer. On a daily basis, UVA causes wrinkling, brown spots, freckles, sagging skin, and collagen loss.

    Skincare starts with protecting against UVA rays year-round. Wear UPF 50+ clothing and a broad-spectrum sunblock that protects against UVA rays.


    Is tanning really dangerous?

    Yes, It's dangerous. Besides the cellular and DNA damage UV rays cause, these rays cause rapid aging, wrinkling, brown spots, and sagging skin.

    Even worse, skin cancer is diagnosed more than all other cancers combined, and melanoma is the most deadly of all skin cancers.

    So, jump into a spray tanning booth, or grab a self-tanner!


    Are all clothes UV protective? If not, what’s the difference with regular clothing?

    No, although some clothing can protect your skin against the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, not all clothing is created equal. The tightness of the weave, the weight, type of fiber, color and amount of skin covered all affect the amount of protection they provide.

    UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates how much of the sun's UV radiation is absorbed. A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun's UV rays to pass through, as opposed to a typical cotton t-shirt which has a UPF of only 5!

    This means the UV protective fabric will reduce your skin's UV radiation exposure significantly because only 2 percent of the UV rays will get through; compared to 80 percent of the UV rays while wearing regular summer clothing.


    Isn’t my T-shirt at the beach enough for sun protection?

    Wearing a cotton T-shirt over a swimsuit is a classic beach scene, but a cotton T-shirt also blocks only about 3% of UV rays when wet. It’s not protecting skin by any stretch.

    In fact, those cotton fibers, when wet, do stretch and allow UVA/UVB to penetrate to your skin. Your T-shirt is simply not enough.

    On the other hand, our T-shirts are UPF 50+ dry and UPF 50+ wet. So, lather up with a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or more, cover your exposed skin and wear UPF 50+ clothing. Be safe in the sun!


    Can long sleeves keep me cooler?

    The short answer is: Yes they can! It may seem counter-intuitive, but the reality is you’ll feel cooler with long sleeves.

    Sleeves allow your skin to perspire, then wick moisture away. They also keep the sun from beating down and burning you.

    Researchers studied the Bedouins who wear heavy black robes in the unrelenting desert sun and found their heat gain was actually a loss. They stayed cooler.

    You don’t have to go that extreme, but, yes, sleeves will keep you cooler, as will wearing a sun protection hat or using a UV protective umbrella. Be sure to check out our sun protective luminora sleeves!