UPF Clothing For People With Albinism
People with albinism (hypo pigmentation) lack the melanin production in the cells. Therefore their body lacks “colors” and their skin is white and ultra-sensitive to UV radiation.
This post will not explain albinism, for further reading on this subject you can go to NOAH ( National Organization for Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation). This post will share information about the clothing options now available to people with albinism to protect themselves from hazardous sun rays. As they are at the highest risk group to suffer from UV radiation, together with new born babies.
Albinism Life Under Constant UV Threat
Unlike the rest of the population which can handle some kind of sun light, people with albinism should not expose their skin to any sun light. For non albinism people tanning is the natural reaction of the skin to UV exposure, adding dark melanin cells to the skin. The dark skin filtering the UV and protection the lower skin cells to some extent.
For people with albinism this skin reaction (tanning) is not possible, thus their skin gets red and burned even at the slightest sun exposure. For them avoiding sun beams is critical to their well being and survival. It is no secret that they are at the highest risk group for developing skin cancer at higher rates than the general public.
People with albinism have UV awareness and will never leave home without a decent SPF cream, a hat and sun glasses. They should know that these items may not be enough. And the sun UV has creepy ways to get to their skin even when they think they are protected.
The sun sends two kinds of UV radiation which reach earth. The short type of rays are UVB which are “heat” radiation, these kind of rays cause skin tanning (or burns in hypo-pigmentation). They are very intense at mid day and are more dangerous at summer.
It is quite easy to filter UVB, and most of the known methods which are taught will decrease UVB exposure. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, and applying SPF creams is the best way to reduce UVB.
But unfortunately this is only half of the threats. The sun sends together with visible light long ultraviolet light rays too. These are called UVA. These type of UV are everywhere all the time! UVA is “riding” with sun light. So if there is sun light there is UVA.
UVA can penetrate clouds. It can penetrate most fabrics and clothes. UVA can penetrate regular SPF creams, it can reflect of glossy surfaces like sand, water, snow or buildings. While a person may apply SPF cream and wear a long sleeve shirt and believe he or she is well protected from UV, they are NOT. They may not get sun burned because they are covered, but they will be absorbing large quantities of UVA radiation.
If the skin is pale, white or without no pigment (hypo) UVA penetrates into lower skin layers with no difficulty. People with albinism should learn the treats of UVA and take the procedures to increase their level of protection from it.
How People With Albinism Can Decrease UV Exposure
Most SPF creams and sunscreen lotions do NOT filter UVA. They were designed to filter UVB and they do it effectively. In order to get the total coverage one must get sunscreen which have UVA protection added. These are known as ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen lotions. Do not bother to apply anything else than broad spectrum UV filtering creams.
Like creams have UV protection factor (SPF), fabrics have their UV protection level marked as well. They are known as UPF clothes – Ultraviolet Protection Factor. UPF means the level of protection one can expect from the fabric. The ratings go from UPF 0-50. UPF 50 means less than 2% of the UV can penetrate the fabric. You may see UPF 50+ rating too which mean even higher level of protection but the regulation forbid any rating higher than 50. It can imply that less than 1% of UV will reach the skin.
UPF rating is given to an apparel item after the fabric is tested with a UV spectrometer. UV is projected at the fabric and the sensors on the other side measure how much UV managed to pass through. If less than 1% of the UV reaches the other side, the fabric will get the UPF 50+ rating. If 2% managed through the rate will be UPF 50.
People with oculocutaneous albinism should wear clothes with UPF from 40-50.
People with albinism may want to wear UPF clothes 365 days a year. Unlike people which can produce melanin and their skin can get tan and filter UV, people with no pigmentation need to double their protection and guard their UV exposure.
Shopping Amazon will revile there are endless designs and colors for UPF clothes for people to choose from. The number of brands and manufacturers increase every year as more people are aware of these facts and UVA threats.
Check here UPF clothing from Amazon:
And don’t forget to get UPF pants as well!
Wearing sun blocking clothes does not mean people with albinism can now sit hours in the sun. It means they can be better protected by 90% compared to wearing regular clothes. Exposed skin like face and arms should be protected with UVA & UVB sun screens. These should be applied regularly every two hours.