We all enjoy taking advantage of outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, beachgoing, gardening, and having fun in the sun during the summer. Sun protection, or more specifically UV protection, is often one of the first things on our minds before hitting the great outdoors in summer.
UV (Ultraviolet) radiation from the sun is classified into three bands, UVA, UVB, and UVC based on its wavelength. While UVC rays are completely absorbed by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth, both UVA and UVB rays penetrate the atmosphere and have been linked to skin cancer. UVA causes skin wrinkles and aging, while UVB rays primarily cause sunburn.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from harmful UV rays is to wear UV protective clothing and accessories. While sunscreen is important and should always be used when spending time in the sun, UV protective clothing is actually the first line of defense against the sun’s harmful rays. But how do you know what to look for when shopping for UV protection?
UV protective clothing
When shopping for clothing, look for items that are made of tightly woven fabrics. The tighter the weave, the better protection the fabric will provide. Also, look for fabrics that are labeled as “sun protective” or “UPF.” UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is a rating system that rates how well a fabric protects against UV rays. The higher the number, the better protection it provides. For example, a UPF 50 fabric blocks out 98% of the sun’s UV rays, while a UPF 30 fabric blocks out about 96.7% of the sun’s UV rays.
It is essential to consider the type of activity you will be doing while outdoors. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun, you will need a stronger product than someone who only plans to be in the sun for a shorter period.
Also keep in mind that looser-fitting UV protective clothing provides better protection than tight-fitting clothing. Tight-fitting clothing can stretch, providing more opportunity for UV rays to penetrate through the fabric and reach your skin.
The key for UV protection is having as much skin coverage as is comfortably possible for the activity you plan to do outdoors.
In addition to clothing, several accessories can provide UV protection. These include hats, sunglasses, and umbrellas.
Hats are a great way to protect your face, head, ears, and neck from the sun. A hat with a wide brim all the way around will provide the most coverage. If you can’t find a wide-brimmed hat, look for one with ear flaps or a neck flap for extra protection.
Sunglasses are important for protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Look for 100% UV protection sunglasses and wrap around to provide the most coverage.
Umbrellas can also be a great way to stay protected from UV rays while outdoors. When shopping for an umbrella, look for one that has a UPF rating.
By taking the time to find clothing and accessories with UV protection, you can help reduce your risk of skin cancer and other negative effects of too much sun exposure.