Fabrics that offer protection
Summer clothing made of loosely woven materials (like gauze and linen) does very little to protect your skin from UV rays. The best defence is provided by densely woven, high-thread-count materials in dark or vivid colours (which absorb light). Examples include canvas, lightweight wool, polyester, and nylon.
For sun-protective clothing, several clothing manufacturers increasingly use high-tech textiles. When it comes to safety, high-tech materials may even provide more than standard, densely woven fabrics. These materials frequently wick away moisture and dry quickly. Some even contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, two ingredients in sunscreens. But keep in mind that this chemical protection might only last for 20 to 40 wash cycles.
Umbrella Protection Factor (UPF)
If the label of your clothing includes an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating, you may be certain that it is sun-protective. That gauges how much UV radiation gets through the fabric.
You should seek out clothing with a UPF rating of 50, which should block 98% of the sun's rays. Wearing the clothing is equivalent to applying sunscreen since it has a sun protection factor [SPF] of 30, according to Dr. Abigail Waldman, director of the Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery Centre at Brigham and Women's Hospital, which is connected with Harvard.
If you're wearing clothing with a UPF rating, can you forgo sunscreen? "Yes, but only for areas covered by the clothes," Dr. Waldman replies. Sunscreen is still necessary for exposed skin, including the neck, ears, hands, and feet.
Additionally, keep in mind that any clothing, whether or not it has a UPF rating, offers reduced UV protection when it becomes wet or stretches, allowing light to pass through the fibres. "Therefore, wear clothes that fit loosely. And if you know you'll be sweating a lot or getting in the water, it's not a bad idea to wear waterproof sunscreen underneath sun-protective clothing, advises Dr. Waldman.
Costs and options
You may find a variety of solutions to protect every square inch of your skin if you're trying to buy UPF-rated clothes, including hats, scarves, gloves, face masks, neck gaiters, shirts, hoodies, dresses, skirts, shorts, pants, leggings, shawls, swimwear, unitards, and more.
Which supplies are essential? "The more skin you cover, the better, especially if you're doing garden work or going to the beach," advises Dr. Waldman. "It's best to wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and trousers. On a hot day, that can be difficult, so check to see if the fabric is breathable and moisture-wicking.
Clothing with a UPF rating might be costly. Some of the biggest companies, such as Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing, Columbia Sportswear Company, Lands' End, or L.L. Bean, sell long-sleeved t-shirts for men for around $50. Men's and women's brimmed hats start at around $50.
Dr. Waldman advises adding sun-protective chemicals to densely woven clothing you already own by using a washing aid to save money (dry-fit nylon or polyester-blend tees make suitable candidates). Rit SunGuard is the brand name of the washing aid, and it may provide clothing with a UPF of 30. It is powder. It lasts for 20 washes when thrown in with regular laundry. The garments appear to be the same," claims Dr. Waldman.
A note on hats
A wide brim is necessary if you want your hat to shield more of your head from UV rays than simply the top. " Many people make mistakes by wearing baseball caps. However, it doesn't protect the back of the neck, the chin, or the ears. Therefore, get a brim that is at least three inches wide, advises Dr. Waldman. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas if a hat with a wide brim is not being worn. And the same holds true for bicycle helmet use. They have slits that let sunburns happen.
The components and design of a hat are also crucial factors. Because UV rays might penetrate your skin, you shouldn't have a lot of mesh or big holes in your hat. The ideal materials are nylon, polyester, or canvas. They'll offer greater protection than a straw hat, said Dr. Waldman.
Keep in mind why you are doing this.
Wearing protective clothing outside has a significant positive impact on your skin. "Even one sunburn can result in skin cancer in a few years," says Dr. Waldman. The sooner you can hide and avoid burning, the better off you'll be afterwards.