When it comes to safe and healthy sun habits, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to create a strategy and stick to it. While we know that it’s essential to be diligent with your sunscreen year round, clothing is the most reliable option for UV protection, especially during the summer months. It requires no reapplication, provides consistent coverage, and you can look cute while doing it. Enter; UPF clothing and Bluestone Shields. If you’ve seen us at Sapien then you’re no stranger to Bluestone Sunshields and you’re probably well aware of our love for them. This is because they’re the ultimate UPF protection for your skin and we highly recommend them to everyone to protect your investment.
How does UPF differ from SPF?
UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate fabric and reach your skin. Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is based on the time it takes for UV-exposed skin to redden; if you burn after 20 minutes, if used correctly, an SPF 15 sunscreen may protect your skin 15 times longer. Another important distinction: UPF measures both UVB and UVA rays, while SPF measures only UVB. This is why it’s important to search for UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection in a sunscreen. For a deeper dive on UV radiation and the importance of sunscreen, click here to read “Why You Should Wear SPF Everyday (and reapply)”
Factors that affect UPF rating in clothing:
(Source: Skin Cancer Foundation – Sun Protective Clothing)
- Color: Dark or bright colors keep UV rays from reaching your skin by absorbing them rather than allowing them to penetrate. That’s why these colors offer better protection than lighter shades.
- Construction: Densely woven cloth, like denim, canvas, wool or synthetic fibers, are more protective than sheer, thin or loosely woven cloth. Check a fabric’s sun safety by holding it up to the light. If you can see through, UV radiation can easily penetrate the fabric and reach your skin.
- Content: The composition of your fabric really matters. Unbleached cotton contains natural lignins that act as UV absorbers. Shiny polyesters and even lightweight satiny silks can be highly protective because they reflect radiation. High-tech fabrics treated with chemical UV absorbers or dyes prevent some penetration from UV rays. Fabrics that have the highest UPF 50+ rating are lycra/elastanes, plastic, and nylon while polyester and cotton provide less consistent UPF.
- Fit: Loose-fitting apparel is preferable. Tight clothing can stretch and reduce the level of protection offered, as the fibers pull away from each other and allow more UV light to pass through.
- UPF: Some clothing makers provide UPF labels, which indicate exactly how much of the sun’s rays the garment can shield. Look for our Seal of Recommendation whenever you shop.
- Coverage: The more skin your outfit covers, the better your protection. Whenever possible, choose long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts.
- Activity: Regardless of UPF, if your clothing gets stretched or wet, it will lose some of its protective ability and become more transparent, exposing your skin to more UV light.
UPF hats and shields:
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common form of skin cancer, accounting for about 90 percent of all skin cancers, and often appear on the head and neck. Wide brimmed hats and sun shields help to protect your scalp and face from dangerous UV rays. As with clothing, not all hats and UV visors are created equally. Be sure to search for hats that are wide brimmed, tightly woven, and shields that offer adequate UV protection.
- Wide brim: The best hats for sun protection have a brim of at least four inches to shade the face, scalp, neck, shoulders, upper back, tops of the ears and back of the neck. We recommend 9 inches for full face coverage.
- Tight knit: Look for a tightly woven hat rather than a loosely constructed straw hat that lets in the UV radiation.
UPF clothing, hats, and shields that we love:
Cynthia Rowley Wetsuits and Rash guards
- SPF 50+
- Fabric content: 80% neoprene, 20% nylon
Lack of Color hats
- UPF 50+
- Wide brimmed options
- Blocks 99% UVA/UVB/UVC rays
- Protects from Blue Light
- ANSI Z80.3 Approved (American National Standards Institute)
- Heat Resistant / Adjustable / Transparent Lens
- Ideal for long days in the sun, post- treatment protection, and ultimate sun protection
- Bluestone Sunshields start with the same processes of mixing UV filtering material into the lens. The processes allows for 99.0% UV rays to blocked. For the Clear Lux Shield, after this step the lens would then go into production.
- Anything with a tint or color treatment has a few extra steps which also add additional blocking capabilities. Our Black Lux Shields have UV Blocking + Tint which allows for closer to 99.5% and our Colored Shields (Rainbow, Chrome, Mermaid) have Color Treatment + UV Blocking + Tint which allows for closer to 99.9% UV Blocking.”
Remember, healthy is sexy! Stay safe this summer and you can look cute while doing it.
For more UPF clothing, follow these links from the Skin Cancer Foundation; “To help you choose your sun-safe products, look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation and check our Product Finder.”
Gambichler, T., Altmeyer, P., & Hoffmann, K. (2002). Role of clothes in sun protection. Recent results in cancer research. Fortschritte der Krebsforschung. Progres dans les recherches sur le cancer, 160, 15–25. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-59410-6_3
Adam J. (1998). Sun-protective clothing. Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery, 3(1), 50–53. https://doi.org/10.1177/120347549800300115
Sun Protective Clothing. The Skin Cancer Foundation. (2021, May 28). https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sun-protective-clothing/
FAQ. (n.d.). Bluestonesunshield. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.bluestonesunshields.com/faq
One thought on “Why Sun Shields and UPF Clothing Are Essential”
Thanks for the info and citations!