Do Sun Protective UV Clothing REALLY Work?

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Are UV Protection Clothes Real or Scam

Do UPF Clothing Really WorkOnly a few years back, UV protective clothes was like science fiction. The only people who knew about UV protective clothing were surfers in Australia riding big waves off the great barrier reef.. It is the same surfers who suffered the most of the skin cancer eruption in the 80’s when the Ozone layer began to disappear over Australia.

While it was known that sun exposure is unhealthy, it was not known it was lethal! The steep rise in skin cancer diagnosed all around the world, sent scientist and doctors to find solutions.

UV Sunscreen Protection Clothing

One of the most effective sun protection solutions found was the UV resistance clothing. Applying UV reflecting materials to the fabrics, and adding new UV blocking dyes to the clothes showed a decrease in UV reaching the skin. The main apparel brands and some niche brands began researching UV protective clothing solutions.

There are different types of UV protection testing for clothes. They all check the same thing, but have different scales of protectiveness.

  • The first UV protection tests were the Australian AS/NZS 4399 test.
  • Then American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) Test Method 183.
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D 6544.
  • European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has it’s tests too.

Today the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates the UV protection ratings to see manufacturers live up to their ultraviolet protection claims.

How is UV protection factor tested? Fabrics are being placed under a UV lamp and a UV sensor is placed under the fabric. The lab knows how much UV is sent, and the sensor can measure the amount of UV it absorbs, and the difference is the amount of UV the fabric blocked. In this way the protection level is measured.

If less than 2% of the UV reaches the sensor, then the fabric gets the 50+ UPF rating. If more UV gets through, which means lower protection then the UPF rating will decrease accordingly. UPF is the clothing ratings like the SPF ratings for sun screen lotions.

Independent UV Testing Labs Found UPF Works

Except from the official U.S. FTC, there were many tests done by consumer media groups to check the if UPF clothes do really work. Most of these tests have found that UV protective clothing – Do Work! They reduce UV on the skin by thus protecting the skin from hazards of sun exposure. ABC News shared their test:

ABC News tested a polo shirt rated UPF 50 and a child’s hoodie rated UPF 20 in a certified lab. The results were that the garments worked as advertised when they were brand new. See more..

Or another test mentioned at

To test that its product line offers the kind of protection the company advertises, Sun Precautions subjects all of its Solumbra clothing to 500 laundry cycles, then snips out fabric samples which are exposed to the equivalent of 500 days of UV rays. If the samples pass muster, the line can be shipped. See more..

Buying UV Clothes That Do Work

Buying UPF clothing is very smart. It’s the best UV protection for the skin! Most people do not apply as much sunscreen lotions as they should, and rarely re-apply after one hour. But not all UV garments are ‘born equal’.

First you should invest in high quality UPF clothing only, stay away from cheap “UV shirts” which do not have a clear UPF rating tested claim. The cheap shirts may be treated by UV deflecting materials but they may not last a couple of laundries.

Be aware that wearing UPF clothes do not protect your face, neck and arms. These are usually left exposed and get tanned sending UV radiation to the skin.

50 UPF protective clothingUSA testing is checking that UV protection levels work after laundry. This means buying clothes from US online merchants and known brands, mean the clothes have been tested for real live factors like laundries, wet and dry conditions.

Image: UPF 50+ Men’s Long Sleeve T-shirt

The two most famous UV protection clothes leaders are Coolibar & Columbia, they have the largest collection at Amazon. I have personally bought their items (this Coolibar Long Sleeve Shirt) with very high satisfaction.

UPF Women's Long Sleeve Shirt

Columbia has a wide range of women’s casual and sport elegant UV line of clothes. The fabrics are all high UPF rated, and they have long or short sleeve options.

Image: Columbia Women’s UV Long Sleeve Shirt (more colors inside)

Clothes outfitted with Columbia’s Omni-Shade and Omni-Dry technologies, serving UV filtering in well designed clothing.


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