Everybody knows that the ultraviolet sunlight will cause the skin cancer and that’s the main reason we choose sun protection clothes when we are doing the outdoor activities. But when I choose the clothes in the shopping mall, I can’t help wondering that can they really protect me with sunblock?
There are so many kinds of sun protection clothes, different color, different materials, different thickness, different prices and different technologies. They look like the normal wear and I could not tell the differences between a sunblock garments and a normal clothes. Which one is the right choice? Which one is better and useful?
The truth is there are many factors that can influence the sun protection effects, such as the fiber type, the organizational structure of fabrics, the color of light or dark, etc. The sunblock effects are the results of the combined action of various factors. But the researchers show that, the wool fabric has better sunblock performance than cotton or silk in the natural materials. For the synthetic materials, polyester has better sun protection property than other synthetic materials. These results are for the materials being post-processed for sunblock. It means when you choose natural material sun protective clothes, the clothes made of wool will be a better choice. The clothes with dark color will have better sunblock performance, especially the dark red and navy blue. Some of them maybe processed with coating, some of them maybe blended with special fiber that can increase the ultraviolet reflection and scattering effects of the garment.
What kind of materials can be considered as sun protection or UV protective clothes? There are specified values of transmittance or blocking of erythemally weighted ultraviolet radiation through the clothes or fabrics. It is called UPF (ultraviolet protection factor), the ratio of the average effective ultraviolet radiation (UV-R) irradiance transmitted and calculated through air to the average effective UV-R irradiance transmitted and calculated through the fabrics. For many international or national standards, when the fabric’s UPF is over 50, and it will be considered as great UV or sun protective textile and the clothes made of it will have better or qualified sun protection performance.
Checking the labels or make sure that the clothes’ performances pass the tests from the third party detection will be a good choice.