We all know the importance of protecting our skin from the sun when the days are long and hot during the summer months, but did you know that sun protection should be used every day, no matter the season?! The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays every day and though their strength may vary with the seasons their potential for damage does not.
There are two types of UV rays that can reach the Earth’s surface and cause damage to the skin, UVA and UVB. UVA rays have a long wavelength and penetrate deeper into the skin causing tanning, premature aging, and certain types of skin cancer. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength that only penetrates the outer protective layer of the skin and is responsible for tanning, sunburns and most skin cancers. UVA and UVB rays can penetrate through clouds, fog, and haze. They can also reflect off surfaces around you including water, concrete, and snow.
There are many ways to protect your skin every day from damaging UV rays:
- Wear protective clothing. Dark colour, dense weave, loose fitting, and lots of coverage means more protection; or look for an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating of 50+.
- Wear a minimum SPF 30+ sunscreen on exposed areas and reapply every 2 hours.
- Wear a hat (preferably wide brimmed) and sunglasses.
- Seek shade between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Wearing UPF 50+ clothing is one of the best ways to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. It provides consistent and reliable coverage, and you never have to worry of if you missed a spot. We’re not sure about you, but we don’t like slathering on sunscreen every 2 hours.
So how is UPF clothing different from regular clothing?
An average white t-shirt has a UPF rating of 5. This means it allows 1/5 or 20% of the sun’s UV rays to pass through the fabric. Even less protection is provided if the shirt is tight-fitting, loosely woven/knit, gets wet, or provides minimal coverage.
Clothing with a UPF 50+ rating only allows up to 1/50 or 2% of the sun’s UV rays to pass through; therefore blocking more than 98% of damaging UVA and UVB rays. To get this rating the fabric is put through a series of standardized preparation procedures and tests to ensure it maintains a UPF rating of greater than 50 for the lifecycle of the garment.
All MorrisonRowe fabrics are tested and rated in accordance with ASTM D6544 and AATCC 183. All MorrisonRowe fabrics are labeled in accordance with ASTM D6603.
Check out these great Canadian resources for more information on UV radiation and the importance of sun protection: