Which Clothes Protect You From Sun’s UV Radiation

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Not All Clothing Protect You From The Sun

Skin Cancer and UPF ClothingThe truth is actually most of the clothings do NOT protect you when you are in the sun.. Wearing clothes when you are at the beach or outside, does not mean these clothes protect you from UV radiation.

Most people do not know there are two kinds of sun UV radiations. There are short UV rays and longer UV rays and most of the long lasting damage is caused by the longer rays (UVA).

Here is a simple explanation to the difference between UVA and UVB from the Mott50 sun protection fashion site:

What are UVA rays?
UVA rays account for 95% of the UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface. They penetrate through clouds, glass, and clothing. Also, UVA rays are present with relatively equal intensity throughout the year. Although arguably less intense then UVB rays, they are 30-50 times more prevalent and sink deeper into the skin’s epidermal layer.

What are UVB rays?
UVB rays are the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn. They also play a role in the development of skin cancer and aging. While UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, they do not penetrate glass or clothing.

UPF Clothing Can Block UVA & UVB Radiation

Wearing regular clothes and garments will not block UV radiation. Wearing regular clothes to work will not cover your skin from hazards of sun UV radiation. The damage from UVA will not be seen immediately as sun tanning or sun burning is seen when skin is exposed to UVB.

The Australian Radiation Agency has more on UPF clothing which protect the skin from UV rays:

How can you choose effective sun protective garments?

The UPF rating on many garments indicates clearly how good the fabric is at blocking UVR but the design of the garment also needs to be considered. Shirts with long sleeves and high collars and hats that shade the face and protect the back of the neck and ears are most effective. Loose fitting clothing is usually more protective than tight fitting clothing.

What is the Standard for Sun Protective Clothing?

Published in July 1996, AS/NZS 4399, Sun protective clothing – Evaluation and classification describes standard laboratory procedures for measuring the UPF of fabrics and for labelling UPF rated clothing. Fabrics are assigned a UPF rating number and also a protection category depending on how much UV radiation they block out. This table shows the rating system.

UPF Rating Protection Category % UV radiation Blocked
15, 20 Good 93.3 – 95.9
25, 30, 35 Very Good 96.0 – 97.4
40, 45, 50, 50+ Excellent 97.5 or more


The Australian/New Zealand Standard states that the highest numerical UPF rating that garments may be labelled with is 50. Garments made from fabrics with ratings higher than 50 are labelled as UPF 50+.

Where To Buy Authorized UPF Clothing

UPF ClothingThere is a list of manufacturers which have been tested and approved for their UPF garments. We can recommended two main brands for UPF clothing – Coolibar and Columbia (both can be found at Amazon).

Both of these manufacturers have a wide line of designed UPF clothing, for casual daily wear, with vivid designs and colors, long sleeve, short sleeve and different types of fabrics and garments.

Read More On Sun Protective Clothing:

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