In the midst of unpacking your summer wardrobe, planning your weekend getaways, that much needed day at the beach, or your next outdoor workout, don’t forget about your sun safety. Thanks to dermatologist and laser surgeon Dr. Arielle Kauvar, I got the inside scoop on UPF and wanted to share her expertise along with my favorite fashion picks for summer.
UPF, which stands for ultraviolet protection factor, indicates how much of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is absorbed. Just like there are different levels of SPF’s in your sunscreen, the levels of sun protection in UPF fabrics vary as well from 15-50+. For instance, a fabric with a level of 50 will only allow 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to pass through your clothing to your skin (SkinCancer.org). Thus, only two percent of UV rays will get through, reducing your risk of skin cancer significantly. According to Dr. Arielle Kauvar, Founding Director of New York Laser and Skin Care “A shirt with UPF 50 will obviate the need for applying sunscreen to the covered areas.”
Some of my favorite fun, stylish designers using UPF fabric this summer for women, men and kids include:
- Athleta’s Wick It Wader Cover Up beach cover-ups for summer are a must have!
- Betty Design‘s-I can’t pick a favorite, all of these cycling, running and triathlon outfits are super cool and stylish. If you love skulls, color and style, this is a line not to missed.
- Billabong’s rash guards and board shorts are great for the entire family. Perfect for Paddle boarding, Surfing, Kite Boarding or lounging at the beach.
- Mott50- The super-chic Toni-Boatneck Dress for women and the Mini Cameron LS Rashguard for kids are my picks. But the line also features a great selection of stylish sun hats and fun dresses for women; adorable kid’s cover-ups, rash guards and more.
- Nike’s Miler Running Shirt is a wardrobe essential for runners everywhere who are ditching the treadmill this summer and hitting the pavement or beach sand.
- UV Skinz’s- This line has really great basics and essentials for your summer wardrobe for men, women aand kids
So how does an article of clothing obtain a UPF rating? Dr. Kauvar took us through the testing process. “In order for clothing to gain a UPF rating, two test are conducted. There is first an initial UV transmittance test and then examiners launder the garment 40 times, expose it to 100 fading units of simulated sunlight. Afterwards, a second UV transmittance test is conducted. The tests measure the transmission of both UVA and UVB. Garment UPF ratings are based on the lower result of the initial "brand new" test and the second "life cycle” test. Most fabrics (except cotton which shrinks) lose some level of UV protection as they age, so most fabrics are rated based on their second test.”
NOT ALL CLOTHING IS CREATED EQUAL. You may be asking yourself, how does the material of ultraviolet protection fabrics differ from any other shirt I own and why should I buy clothing with a UPF fabric? It is true that any clothing covering your skin contains some preventative measures to reduce your risk of sun damage while outdoors. However, it is important to note that the tightness of the weave, the weight, type of fiber and color are all factors that come into play when measuring the volume of protection a piece of clothing provides. For instance, darker colors are more effective when battling the sun’s UV rays. The UPF of a green cotton T-shirt is 10 while the UPF level is 7 for white cotton, and a thicker fabric such as velvet in black, blue or dark green has an approximate UPF of 50 (Skin cancer.org) . According to Dr. Kauvar, “The addition of chemicals such as UV absorbers or UV diffusers during the manufacturing process can also enhance the UPF.” Also, like regular clothing, UPF clothing may lose its effectiveness if pulled too tight or stretched out, if it becomes damp or wet, or if it is worn and washed repeatedly. In order to keep your UPF clothing strong and skin healthy this summer try the laundry supplement, Sun Guard! Sun Guard contains the sunscreen, Tinosorb. When mixed with detergent, it will raise the level of UPF in your clothing and will last through 20 consecutive washes.
The sun’s rays are at an all-time high resulting in warmer weather, longer days and more time outdoors. In addition to using sunscreen, you should consider adding these fun UPF designers into your summer wardrobe.