UPF Fabric vs. Ordinary Fabric

When it comes to UPF fabric and sun protective 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. I didn’t know this either, until I witnessed a friend get a sun burn on her back after playing tennis in the sun despite wearing her cotton t-shirt for protection.

Did you know? Up to 80% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can still reach your skin on a cloudy day. Click on the picture to learn more!

It turns out a variety of factors can impact the UPF of your clothing. The average UPF of a cotton or linen  t-shirt is about 5, which means it allows 1/5th of the sun’s rays to penetrate your skin, enough to cause a 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. 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 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 UPF50 clothing is the best way to protect your skin from the sun. Click on the picture to learn more!

For most fabrics, there are two tradtional ways they can be made UPF 50. They can be coated with colorless dyes that help block out the sun’s rays during the manufacturing process. Unfortunately,  this process is not eco-friendly, and  the chemicals typically wash out after a few laundry cycles.  The second way to make a fabric UPF 50 is to make sure the fabric is tightly woven. The tighter the weave, the more sun 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?

The third way, which we call the Luminora way, resolves the problem of having to choose between comfort and sun protection. Our Luminology Technology™ fabric  has been infused with an all natural plant based oil that makes the fabric naturally sun protective, without exposing your skin to any chemicals or leaving you hot and uncomfortable. 

With the risks of skin cancer and excessive sun exposure (remember, the sun is still there even when it’s cloudy!), it’s important to protect your skin from the sun. Dermatologists, including our co-founder Dr. Hendi, and the Skin Cancer Foundation agree that wearing UPF50 clothing is the best way to stop the sun’s 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 in a variety of ways, buying actual UPF 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. To show appreciation for you, our blog readers, we’re giving a 20% off discount with the code “October1.” Use this code at checkout to receive the exclusive deal, and thank you for reading!

Love & luminora,



4 thoughts on “UPF Fabric vs. Ordinary Fabric

  1. Jeanne Odonnell says:

    Where can I buy luminous fabric?

    1. Alice Perrigo says:

      Hi Jeanne!

      We currently don’t sell the fabric by itself. However you are welcome to take a look at any of the pieces in our shop which are all made with UPF 50+ fabric. It is chemical free and offers sun protection by way of the specialized plant oil-infused yarn.


  2. Sathya says:

    What is the fiber blend of the fabric ?

    1. Alice Perrigo says:

      Hello Sathya,

      Our fabric is made from a polyester/spandex blend, with exact ratios varying from piece to piece. Our fabric also has special cooling technology to keep you from feeling to hot in the sun! Hope this helps!


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