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How to Choose Sun-Protection (UPF) Clothing

Sun-Protection (UPF) Clothing

Choosing sun-protection clothing, which often comes with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, is crucial for safeguarding your skin from harmful UV rays. Here's a guide on how to select the right sun-protection clothing:


  1. Check the UPF Rating: Look for clothing with a UPF rating. UPF indicates how effectively the fabric blocks UV radiation. The higher the UPF rating, the better the protection. UPF ratings typically range from 15 to 50+, with higher numbers offering better protection. A UPF rating of 50+ blocks approximately 98% of UV rays.

  2. Material Matters: Opt for tightly woven fabrics. Fabrics with a tighter weave or knit allow fewer UV rays to pass through. Synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic often offer better sun protection compared to natural fibers like cotton, which can be more porous. However, many clothing brands offer specially treated cotton with UPF protection.

  3. Dark Colors and Dyeing: Darker colors generally absorb more UV radiation than lighter colors. Additionally, clothing that is dyed in darker colors tends to have better UV protection than lighter shades.

  4. Consider Construction: Look for clothing with features that enhance sun protection, such as long sleeves, high collars, and longer hemlines. These features provide more coverage and reduce the amount of skin exposed to the sun. Evaluate Breathability and Comfort: Sun-protection clothing should still be comfortable to wear, especially in warm weather. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow air circulation to prevent overheating and sweating.

  5. Moisture-Wicking Properties: Opt for clothing with moisture-wicking properties, especially if you'll be active outdoors. Moisture-wicking fabrics draw sweat away from the skin, keeping you cool and dry.

  6. Versatility: Consider the versatility of the clothing. Choose items that can be easily layered for added protection when needed and removed when not. This allows you to adapt to changing weather conditions and activities.

  7. Fit Matters: Ensure a proper fit. Loose-fitting clothing may offer less sun protection as it can allow UV rays to reach the skin underneath. However, overly tight clothing can be uncomfortable and restrict movement.

  8. Check Labels and Certifications: Look for clothing that has been tested and certified for sun protection. Some manufacturers may provide additional information about the fabric's UV-blocking capabilities.

  9. Accessories: Don't forget accessories like wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, and UPF-rated gloves and scarves to complement your sun-protection clothing ensemble and provide additional coverage for exposed areas.


By considering these factors, you can select sun-protection clothing that effectively shields your skin from harmful UV radiation while keeping you comfortable and stylish outdoors. Here is an additional article from REI.


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