Always look for a garment’s lab-tested UPF rating to evaluate its true UV protection level. If an item doesn’t have a UPF rating, there are a few things to look for when considering your options for sun protection:
· Darker fabrics will usually perform better than light ones
· Denser weaves are better than loose weaves
· Polyester and nylon do better at sun protection than natural fibers
And there are some factors that will reduce UPF ratings:
· Fabric wetness: For many types of materials, wetness can cause a significant reduction in a fabric’s UPF rating. Some studies, though, suggest that polyester may actually protect sightly better when wet.
· Fabric wears: As a fabric becomes worn or faded, it also becomes less effective at blocking UV light.
· Fabric stretch: Stretched fabric can lose a significant amount of its UPF, so considering replacing any item that simply fits too tightly now.
UPF-rating clothing alone will not provide enough coverage. Total UV protection requires a multifaceted approach such as applying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and seeking shade whenever possible.