SPF clothing with its enhanced UV protective qualities provides an option for taking sun care above and beyond sunscreens or sun blocks.
Any clothing will provide for some protection from the sun. An ordinary T-shirt will provide about the equivalent of a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 8 and most clothes will not exceed SPF 30.
Is SPF clothing really an alternative to using sunscreen?
The following reasons typically drive people to seek extra protection from the sun's UV rays than just by using sunscreen:
SPF clothing is more commonly certified with an Ultraviolet Protection factor (UPF). The reason it is given a different name is the fact that although very similar in concept to the SPF rating for sunscreen, there are 2 key differences:
Even if you are wearing sun protective clothing, sunscreen is always required for areas of your body that may still be exposed to the sun's UV rays.
Your face may require extra protection even though wearing a hat, as the sun's rays are easily deflected or reflected off different surfaces such as water, snow, glass, or even the earth below our feet!
Areas often forgotten or needing extra cover are your nose, chin, neck, feet and hands.
Then there are examples of extremity where double protection is a good thing ie. wearing sunscreen and SF clothing.
There are many official organizations that endorse SPF clothing. Some of these include:
To make the best choice of sun protective SPF clothing, ask these 3 key questions:
Although the intention is to cover a lot of your body, the material used is made of a tightly woven, lightweight and cool material that reflects heat and helps to keep you feeling cool.
The origins come from a need in desert wear, long-distance horse, camel or bike riding as well as extreme athletes. Nowadays it is engineered to withstand the abuse of sport and outdoor activities, enabling your body to move freely and stay cool, even in peak summer heat.
Many protective clothing products include mesh panels and openings to allow cool air to enter and warm air to exit. Taking care of the fabric is essential for long wearing but instructions are usually quite explicit and easy. Mostly they can be washed in cool water with mild detergent, rinsed, line dried and ready to wear in the morning. Sometimes they require hand washing.
The sun protective swimwear is especially prepared to enable wearing in salt water and/or chlorinated water. Some hats are chlorine and salt water resistant as well, so they can be worn in the water.
Ventilated shirts include designs elements such as:
Some can be quite sophisticated so can be worn at the sailing club, on the boat, at the poolside, or outdoors anywhere!
They usually have soft, elastic cuffs with an underarm mesh.
Designed for extreme athletes as well as everyday functional outdoor activities, they include: