Why Wear UPF Clothing?

Protecting yourself from the Sun’s harmful effects should be a multi-faceted approach. As people live longer, they face more sun exposure to their skin.  So even if you have no family history of skin cancer, you need to be careful and take advantage of all the tactics dermatologists recommend to protect yourself. Let’s look at one of those tactics–the wear of UPF rated clothing.

Most people are familiar with the SPF rating given to sunscreens and lip balms. The UPF rating system for clothing works similarly. “The higher the number, the better the clothes shield you from the ultraviolet radiation given off by the sun,” explains Dr. Azeen Sadeghian, board certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval kicks in at a UPF of 30, and they consider clothing rated 50 or better to be excellent. (The 50 means only 1/50th of the UV rays from the sun penetrate to the skin.)

Wearing sunscreen is important. But it begins losing effectiveness shortly after you apply it, especially if you are active and sweating. In the best application it will not block all of the UV rays. That’s why the American Cancer Society recommends you view sunscreen as just one part of your skin cancer protection plan; staying in the shade and wearing protective clothing are preferable first options.

“Another point to consider is that even clothing that doesn’t have a special rating does have some protection from ultraviolet radiation,” shares Dr. Sadeghian. An ordinary t-shirt will provide a UPF in the 7 to 15 range depending on weave and fabric color (darker is better). On the high side, tightly woven denim rates over 1000.

One of the products I especially like are UPF rated sleeves. You may have seen professional athletes wearing these. They protect your arms, which receive a lot of sun, and you can remove them when you go indoors or when dusk comes on. Even when you have them on you will likely be cooler than if you were wearing certain long sleeve shirts.

I recommend adding UPF rated clothes to your wardrobe, especially for outdoor ventures. These now comes in a many styles and are generally quite affordable. Otherwise, give some thought to tighter woven materials. And of course, that’s just one aspect of your protective regimen, along with sunscreen, wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, avoiding peak hours of the sun, seeking shade and all those other tips you know about.

For preventive care, or if you’re in need of treatment please, contact us for your Dermatology needs.

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