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Protect Yourself From Melanoma

An important strategy, frequently overlooked, is covering up – and protecting yourself – using your clothing. Clothing is an easy way to quickly protect your skin from the sun without the mess and fuss that sunscreens can sometimes create.

The first rule of thumb when it comes to covering up, is that the more skin covered, the better. Clothing is your first line of defense against the sun’s rays. However, when combined with other sun safety strategies such as wearing (and reapplying) sunscreen, seeking shade, and avoiding peak rays – you can maximize your protection and create a daily sun safety routine that works for you.

What is UPF Clothing?

While all clothing offers some protection from the sun, some fabrics are specially designed (and tested) to offer you measurable protection, what experts call UPF clothing. UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is used to measure the effectiveness of sun protective clothing. Specifically, UPF indicates what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate the fabric - meaning that the higher the UPF rating, the more protection it offers you. For example, a shirt with 100 UPF allows a slim 1/100th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through to your skin (that’s only 1%!), giving your body a fantastic layer of protection. 

As SPF, or sun protection factor, is for sunscreen, UPF is for clothes. 

What Should I Know About UPF Clothing? 

While all clothing offers some level of protection against the sun, UPF clothing has been scientifically engineered to protect your skin from UV rays. UPF clothing has also been tested to ensure that it consistently offers a similar level of protection, despite being washed or worn many times.

What Makes Regular Clothing and UPF Clothing Different?

Clothing specifically labeled as UPF can give you a greater peace of mind about the level of protection that it offers. For example, a thin UPF-50 shirt offers significant protection while a thin cotton t-shirt averages only UPF-5 – a 90% drop in protection. UPF clothing is also designed to offer consistent UV protection wet or dry; something that normal clothing can’t always provide.


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