Whether you’re at the beach, gardening, or just walking around town, protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays should be a priority. Sunlight includes rays of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and exposure to those rays can lead to sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer. Choosing the right clothing that has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) built into it can reduce your risk. What’s more, sun-protective clothing is the simplest way to stay safe; unlike sunscreen, you never need to reapply!
A study about how Americans protect themselves from the sun showed how using only sunscreen will not provide sufficient sun protection. Applying sunscreen is the most common sun protection behavior, but it has been shown that the frequent use of sunscreen is not associated with fewer sunburns. The odds of multiple sunburns are significantly lower in people who avoid the sun or wear sun protective fabric or clothing. Let us dive into what UPF and SPF is all about.
Table of Contents:
Ultraviolet A (UVA)
About95% of the UV rays that reach the ground are Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. UVA has higher wavelengths but contains lower energy levels compared to other UV rays. However, UVA has more penetrating power than UVB, which means that it can affect the cells deeper in the skin. Due to its penetrating “power,” it can cause indirect damage to DNA, which leads to premature skin aging and some skin cancers.
Despite the side effects, UVA rays are perfect for those who want to get a tan as it’s the kind of UV that causes an immediate tanning effect. With that, this is the main type of light that is used in tanning beds. UVA rays are still strong enough to penetrate windows and clouds, hence its use in tanning beds.
• Ultraviolet B (UVB)
UVB rays have shorter wavelengths and higher energy levels. They damage the outermost layers of the skin and directly damage the DNA. Moreover, these rays cause most skin cancers and may also play a role in premature skin aging. However, only 5% of the UV rays that reach the ground are UVB rays.
When you become overly-exposed to UVB rays, it may lead to sunburn. Usually, its effects are delayed, and would appear a few hours following sun exposure.
Unlike UVA rays, UVB rays can’t penetrate windows and are likely to be filtered by clouds.
• Ultraviolet C (UVC)
Compared to all the other UV rays, UVC is the shortest and it never reaches the earth because the ozone layer absorbs its rays. UVC rays are often found in human-made sources, such as welding torches and mercury lamps. Luckily, UVC rays don’t penetrate the ozone; otherwise, it would be catastrophic as these are the most dangerous of all. UVC rays are considered to be the most dangerous because they have the most energy compared to other UV rays.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) indicates the amount of UV radiation a fabric allows to reach the skin. It comes in various ratings, and obviously, the higher the UPF rating, the stronger the protection against the sun. Today, a fabric must have at least a UPF of 30 to qualify forThe Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. Another thing to remember about UPF is that it measures both UVB and UVA rays.
How Does UPF Differ From SPF?
As mentioned, UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate fabric and reach the skin. UPF can protect against UVA and UVB rays, which means that it provides more comprehensive protection than SPF.
On the other hand, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is based on the time it takes for UV-exposed skin to redden; if you burn after 20 minutes, an SPF15 sunscreen, if used correctly, may protect your skin15 times longer. However, it loses its effectiveness after two hours, which means you have to reapply sunscreen accordingly.
With UPF protective clothing, you don’t have to bother with all that greasy goop. Rest assured, your skin will be protected from the harmful rays of the sun.
The Meaning Of UPF Ratings
When you are buying clothing, the higher the UPF rating is, the better. There is no fabric with a UPF rating below 15 because it will not provide sufficient protection from UV rays.
Why Protect Your Skin
The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is soft, to allow movement, but still tough enough to resist breaking or tearing. The skin varies in texture and thickness from one part of the body to the next.
Some of the different functions of skin include:
• Waterproof Wrapping For Our Entire Body
The skin is waterproof, airtight, and a flexible barrier between the environment and our internal organs. It helps keep the internal environment of the body keep stable.
What makes the skin waterproof is mainly due to the main skin cell, the keratinocyte, that makes up the epidermis. This particular skin cell produces a tough protein called keratin, which is the same protein that forms in the nails and hair. Keratin gives skin resistance to physical wear and tear and makes it waterproof.
• The First Line of Defence For Our Entire Body
The skin helps protect us against invading pathogens. It contains beneficial bacteria that stop harmful bacteria from taking over. Moreover, the skin has a thick layer of dead cells in the epidermis that provides a physical barrier against harmful pathogens.
• A Cooling System via Sweat
Due to the immense blood supply, the skin can help regulate body temperature. It is associated with sweat glands that help protect us from high temperatures by cooling us off through the process of evaporation. Sweating has a lot of benefits, including detox of heavy metals, elimination of chemicals, and bacterial cleansing.
A2016 study showed that people who exercised regularly have lower levels of heavy metals in the body.
• A Sense Organ That Gives Us Information About Pain, Pleasure, Temperature, And Pressure
The skin’s “sense of touch” gives our brains a lot of information about the natural environment, such as temperature, humidity, and air pressure. Moreover, it is this sense of touch that allows us to feel physical pain that is necessary to help us avoid disease, injury, and danger.
Our skin is a good indicator of our general health. If someone is sick, it often shows in their skin. People who do not look after their skin would normallylook older than their actual age.
Some common skin problems include:
• Acne-caused by hormones
Acne that is caused by hormones is a skin problem that develops in response to hormonal changes, especially when there’s a rise in androgens, such as testosterone. Acne develops on the skin when the body makes excess sebum, which is an oil that prevents the skin from drying out.
• Warts-caused by a virus
Skin warts may seem harmless, but these are actually an infection of the skin caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus, or HPV. An infection occurs through a tiny scratch that rapidly grows on the outer layer of the skin, which creates a wart.
Most people will have at least one common wart at sometime in their lives, and it will usually be on the hands.
• Dermatitis-inflammation of the skin, with many different triggers
Unbeknownst to some, skin dermatitis is a common condition with many causes and occurs in various forms. Typically, it involves itchy, dry skin or a rash on swollen, reddened skin. In some cases, it may cause the skin to blister, ooze, crust, or flake off. This skin condition isn’t contagious but it can make an individual feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. Moisturizing regularly helps control its symptoms, along with other treatment like medicated ointments and creams.
• Fungal infections-such as tinea (athlete’s foot)
Skin fungal infections are caused by a fungus. It can happen anywhere on the body, yet some of the most common are athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and yeast infections.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the foot. The area of the foot is arm and moist, which is where this specific fungi thrives. People who often wear tight shoes commonly experience this, as well as those who use public baths and pools.
• Skin cancer - from long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays
In the United States and all over the world,skin cancer is the most common cancer. In 2020, it has been that the number of new melanoma cases will increase by almost 2%, while the number of melanoma deaths will decrease in the US by 5.3%.
Too much UV exposure may increase your skin cancer risk over time. Even if the body can repair some of the DNA damage in the skin cells, it won’t be able to repair all of the damage. Therefore, the unrepaired damage builds up over time, which triggers mutations that cause skin cells to multiply fast. This can lead to malignant tumors.
Some people would go to great lengths and spend countless hours and fortune to keep their skin looking youthful and flawless. Unfortunately, some wait too long perfor caring about their skin. A lack of care can lead to severe medical conditions, such as melanoma or skin cancer.If you love the outdoors as much as we do, why risk it? Or better yet,join us in our core belief of PREVENTION, while staying happy and protected on your daily adventure. Keep your skin protected while you enjoy time under the sun with the right clothing!
Protect yourself from the harmful UV rays,check out our sun hats. Our sun hats come with UPF 50+ protection—and they’re incredibly stylish, too!