Sun protection clothing may look and feel like your average, everyday apparel, but the fabric is specially developed to prevent damaging UV rays from passing through. Think of it as a material with permanent sunscreen fused into it.
First, UPF apparel is most effective when the fabric is tightly constructed, meaning there is very little space between yarns. The thicker and denser the fabric, the more difficult it is for UV rays to pass through and penetrate the skin. But what about when it’s summer and thick fabrics are too heavy and hot to wear? It’s important to look for UPF apparel that is constructed with special fabrics that boosts ventilation, like Sundriven™ products, to keep you temperature regulated year-round.
Several types of fabric can block UV rays. While polyester and nylon work well, many people prefer more natural fabrics like cotton or stretch fabrics. However, for cotton and similar fabrics, they must be specially treated in order to prevent UV rays from passing through. The same goes for standard, untreated stretch fabrics—as the space between its yarns widens from stretching, its effectiveness to block UV rays weakens.
To improve a garment’s UPF rating, many sun protection apparel lines chemically treat the fabric. However, chemically treated fabrics can irritate sensitive skin. For shoppers preferring natural fabrics, look for products made with all-natural fibers with zero chemical additives, like Sundriven™
A fabric’s type of dye can also impact its effectiveness at blocking UV rays. Many UPF-rated garments use a premium dye that helps prevent UV rays from penetrating through the fabric. While the more dye used, the darker the fabric becomes, the color of the dye doesn’t actually impact the fabric’s ability to block UV rays.
To maintain its ability to block UV rays from penetrating through the fabric, it’s important to take proper care of the garment. The more damaged or faded the fabric, the less effective it is at blocking UV rays. Additionally, when fabric is wet, its ability to block UV rays is reduced by up to 50%. However, washing UPF-rated garments does not alter its effectiveness to block UV rays.
Even when a garment’s fabric has been specially designed to prevent UV ray penetration, a clothing line must determine its UPF rating, ranging between 0 and 50+. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitors all UPF claims and investigates testing methods to ensure the UPF rating is accurate. All Sundriven™ products are AATCC TM 183 Tested.
When shopping for garments that guard against UV rays, check the fabric composition and look for a UPF rating 50+ to ensure the item will effectively block UV rays from passing through. Once you’ve found your perfect sun protection apparel and accessories, enjoy the UVA/UVB Rays without the damaging effects!