What Is Sun Protection Fabric?

What Is Sun Protection Fabric?
08/17/2018 admin

Sun Protection (UPF) Fabric

Being in the sun is a staple when you enjoy the wonderful outdoors. However, sunlight has ultraviolet radiation that can lead to sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer. Choosing sun protection fabrics designed and certified as Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) will help control the levels of UV exposure and reduce the risk of potentially damaging effects.

What is a UPF Rating?

UPF is the rating system used for fabric. We may be more familiar with  SPF (Sun Protection Factor), the rating system used for sunscreen. SPF looks at the sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVB rays, which are considered to be the more damaging type of light. Contrastly, UPF gauges the effectiveness in which fabric protects against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light.

When shopping for fabric, it’s simple: the higher the UPF rating, the better the sun protection, as you can see in the table below. A UPF rating of 15 means that this fabric allows 1/15th (roughly 6.7 percent) of UV radiation to pass through it. Any fabric that allows less than 2 percent UV transmission is rated UPF 50+.

UPF Rating Protection Category Effective UV Transmission (%)
15, 20 Good 6.7-4.2
25, 30, 35 Very Good 4.1-2.6
40, 45, 50, 50+ Excellent Less than 2.5

What Enhances UPF Ratings:

  • Construction: Tight construction minimizes UV light that is able to pass through. Thicker fabrics also reduce UV transmission.
  • Color: Generally, darker colors absorb more rays overall, including UV rays.
  • Treatments: Fabric treatments and dyes are effective at enhancing UPF.
  • Fiber type: Our common fibers, Polyester and Nylon, do the job! Polyester does excellent at disrupting UV light, as does nylon.

What Reduces UPF Ratings: 

  • Fabric wetness: Wetness can cause a significant reduction in a fabric’s UPF rating. However, some studies suggest that polyester may actually protect slightly better when wet! So your rashguard will hold up in the water!
  • Fabric wear: As fabric becomes worn or fades with more uses, it also becomes less effective at blocking UV light.
  • Fabric stretch: Stretched fabric can lose a significant amount of its UPF, so considering replacing that is too tightly stretched when wearing it.

Sun Protection Beyond UPF Clothing

Overall, we have to remember that UPF-rated clothing alone is not fully protecting you when out in the sun. Here are some more ways to protect against the sun:
  • Wear UV-protective clothing
  • Apply sunscreen with a high SPF rating to all exposed areas of skin
  • Wear 100% UV-ray protection sunglasses
  • Seek shade whenever possible
  • Monitor the amount of time you expose yourself to UV radiation
  • Remember to protect yourself on cloudy days, it can still damage the skin

Taking these precautions alongside wearing UPF clothing made with sun-protection fabrics, makes it easier to soak up the fun when you’re having fun outdoors!

Find out more about UPF clothing here and see some of our UPF 50+ fabrics here!


1 Comment

  1. byrnehausen0548 6 years ago

    This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *