Does your sun-protective clothing really work?
2022-08-02 11:25     Source :

In summer, everywhere on the streets you see residents wearing long sleeves with bright colors. These sun-protective clothes have already become a conspicuous landscape of the city. But despite its popularity, can this gear really protect your skin from the sun?

How does sun-protective clothing work?

Long-term UV radiation will cause sun spots and sunburn, which may even lead to skin cancer. The main function of sun-protective clothing is to reflect or absorb UV rays, working as a barrier between people's skin and the sun, much as the sunscreen.

Clothing in general has some sun protection function while sun-protective clothing can bump that up significantly.

In accordance with Chinese National Standard GB/T 18830-2009 Textiles – Evaluation for solar ultraviolet radiation protective properties, only the clothing with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating of 40 or above and a UVA (Ultraviolet A) transmission rate of less than 5% can be called "UV-protective products." The higher the UPF rating, the better the sun protection performance.

What are the main materials of sun-protective clothing?

1. Colorful cotton fabric

Cyan, red, blue, green and other bright colors of such clothing are most common.

2. Sun-protective fabric

Such fabric is produced by adding sunscreen materials to it. The protective performance can be improved if the fabric is weaved to a greater density.

3. Special fabric

For example, silver reflective material. Usually, the material, UPF rating and other related parameters are indicated on the label of clothing made with such fabric.

How to pick the best sun-protective clothing?

1. Choose the color wisely

Darker colors absorb more UV rays than lighter ones. Red color has the best performance among others since the longest visible light wave is red. But it should be noticed that dark clothes also absorb more heat, so they are not suitable to be worn for a long time in the hot weather.

2. Pay attention to material and weave

Unbleached fiber is great at absorbing harmful rays, among which flax performs best, followed by hemp, cotton and silk. By contrast, synthetic materials can reflect these rays, among which polyester performs best, followed by nylon, rayon and silk.

Tightly woven fabric is excellent at blocking UV rays, especially warm weather-friendly synthetic fibers, which have fewer micro spaces between threads. Looser cottons, on the other hand, are much less protective.

3. Pay attention to the marks on the label

According to CNS GB/T 18830-2009 Textiles – Evaluation for solar ultraviolet radiation protective properties, UV-protective products must have a label, on which the following information must be indicated.

First, the standard number used, such as GB/T 18830-2009.

Second, the UPF rating. When the UPF is more than 40 while no more than 50, it should be marked as UPF40 +; when the UPF is more than 50, it should be marked as UPF50 +.

Third, long-term use and in the case of stretching or moisture, the protection provided by the product may be weakened.

Also, there is no need to worry too much about that. It's proven that proper washing and drying in accordance with the product illustration will not have much effect on the UV protection performance.

Editor: Zheng Sihui