Spring has officially sprung and warm weather is right around the corner. The days are getting longer which means more time for your favorite outdoor activities. You already know that applying broad spectrum SPF and limiting your exposure to the sun are your best defenses against premature aging and skin cancer, but what other steps can you take to protect you and your family?
You can stay safe while staying in the sun by simply being mindful of your clothing. This doesn’t mean that you need to pile on several layers of clothing in order to shield your skin during the sweltering summer months. All you have to do is make sure that you’re wearing sun protective clothing.
What is sun protective clothing? Here are 3 important things you should know:
- It has a UPF rating
Sun protective clothing is clothing that has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor, or UPF. Clothing that does the best job at stopping harmful ultraviolet rays carry a UFP rating ranging from 15 to 50+.
- Fabric and Color can affect UPF
The clothing in your closet is made from a variety of fabrics and each fabric contains many different types of fibers. The type of fiber in your clothing will determine how well it will protect you from UV radiation. For example, synthetic fibers create a denser weave that creates less space between the holes. This allows for less UV radiation to reach your skin. Bleached cotton and other natural fibers actually absorb UV radiation and make semi-synthetic fibers, like a rayon, a better choice for reflecting the sun’s rays.
When it comes to the color of your clothing, darker is better. It’s true that darker hues attract more heat than lighter ones, but dark colors also have a higher UPF rating because the sun cannot penetrate the fabric as well. Black and other dark colors tend to absorb more UV than white and pastels.
- You can improve the UPF of clothing you already own
There’s no need to go out and buy a new wardrobe to have sun protective clothing. You can improve the UPF of clothing you already own by doing the laundry. Have you ever pulled a sweater out of the hot dryer and discovered that it shrunk to almost half its size? While we don’t recommend that you go to such extreme measures, washing your clothing on a normal cycle can cause the garment to shrink slightly and tighten the holes in the fabric. This will reduce the amount of UV light touching your skin and help keep you safe!
Remember, sun protective clothing isn’t just for the summertime. Healthy skin is in season all year long!
The Dermatology Center of Indiana services Plainfield, Zionsville, Indianapolis, and Carmel along with many other cities throughout Indiana. Join us today in one of our locations where you are always welcome!
Disclaim: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.