What is UPF clothing...and why I love it so much!Sep 12, 2022
U.P. ....what....you might be thinking?? Fear not, let's get started with the basics!
UPF stands for ‘ultraviolet protective factor’ and it’s a rating system for fabrics and clothing much like SPF is for sunscreen.
Why do I love UPF and sun protective clothing so much you might ask? Oh, let me count the ways!
- You don’t have to reapply every 2 hours or after sweating or swimming.
- You don’t have to worry about missing areas or not applying adequately like you do with sunscreen.
- You are protected from UVA and UVB rays.
- You stay cooler when you wear sun protective clothing as it acts like shade for your skin.
- Many of the garments are formulated to wick away sweat and water like modern activewear, so they are NOT hot or stuffy!
- There are many companies making stylish and affordable garments nowadays.
- The UPF coverage won’t diminish with wear or washing. Many companies even offer guarantees on the longevity of their clothing’s protection.
- A great way to ensure that children are protected from the sun because, let’s be honest, good luck rubbing in sunscreen every 2 hours with little ones!
UPF, aka sun protective clothing, is a great way to protect your skin from the sun when you are outdoors. This includes things like hats, rash guards when swimming, wraps for shoulder and arm coverage, long sleeves for running/gardening/fishing, etc, even capris for swimming and gloves for your hands…the list is endless!
Just remember, not all clothing is adequately ‘sun protective’ though. A quick and easy trick is to take the garment and hold it up to the light. Does a lot of light shine through? If so, then it is not adequately blocking out the sun’s rays. To give an example, a simple white tv shirt will only have an equivalent SPF of 7…so this is not enough for sun protection. Pro tip: dermatologists recommend SPF 30 or higher! Instead, look for sun protective clothing with a UPF rating of 50 which means that it will block out 98% of the sun’s harmful rays!
For people just getting started with sun protective clothing, start with a hat with a brim (3” is ideal) and a rash guard when at the beach or pool. People who work outdoors or exercise outdoors can also benefit greatly by wearing long sleeves, especially with a thumb hole as this will also protect the tops of your hands.
For more great sun protective items to try, check out @livestrong_com ‘How to Pick the Best Sun-Protective Clothing and 10 Products to Try’