Does UV-Proof Clothing Actually Protect You From Sunburn?

(Keywords: sun protective fabric, UV Cut Fabric, fabric)

Every summer, shelves fill up with sunscreen. Thanks to diligent parents and public health preaching, SPF has become a staple in most people’s outdoor routines, especially during the summer. And it should be: More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

But another, more fashionable form of sun protection is gaining popularity in the U.S. UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, clothing is clothing that protects you from the sun. It’s like SPF but in clothing form and it looks just like regular clothing but is made with specific fabrics and sewn in specific ways to help block harmful rays from tanning or burning the skin. UPF is very different from SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, what you’re used to seeing on a sunscreen bottle.

“A UPF rating is given to clothing and other fabrics that protect you from the sun, while an SPF rating is only used for sunscreens and cosmetics containing sunscreen,” Adele D. Haimovic, a dermatologist and spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation, told The Daily Beast. “UPF measures the effectiveness of sun protective fabrics. The UPF indicates what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can penetrate a piece of fabric. For example, a shirt with a UPF rating of 50 allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to reach the skin.”

UV, or ultraviolet, rays are made up of wavelengths classified as UVA, UVB or UVC, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. UVA is the longest wavelength, followed by UVB and UVC. Most UVC rays are too short to penetrate the atmosphere and thus, damage your skin, which is why you’ve most likely heard of UVA and UVB. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancers, and sun protections vary in which rays they protect you from.

SPF is used to rate a sunscreen’s ability to protect against just UVB rays, where UPF measures both UVA and UVB protection.

Source :