how much sun protection does clothing provide

How Much Sun Protection Does Clothing Provide?

If you’re wondering how much sun protection does clothing provides, this article will help you answer that question.

Find out how much clothes protect you from UV rays, about the alternatives, how sun-protective clothing works, and whether it makes a difference.

Why Are Ultraviolet Rays Harmful?

Forty years ago the search for materials that can adequately block UV rays and provide sun protection began in Australia.

Sun protection is important as there are two types of harmful UV rays.

UVA rays have a longer reach and ages skin faster.

UVB rays have a shorter reach.

Although these types of UV rays bounce off the skin, they can cause cancer.

There are three main kinds of skin melanoma, basal cell disease, squamous cell growth, and melanoma.

They’re primarily caused by exposure to these harmful UV rays, so the ultraviolet sun protection factor (UPF) is extremely important when considering sunscreen products.

If the skin is left unprotected, UV rays can cause harm to the DNA in the skin cells.

Later on, in 1998, the AATCC accepted the Australian ultraviolet protection factor standard in the US.

After that, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) started developing a standard for producing sun protection clothing that provides UV protection.

Not only that, but sun protection clothing also provides the best protection and affordability than sunscreen.

What Are the Advantages of Sun Protective Clothing?

When considering the harmful effects of sun rays, sun protective clothing is a must for everyone who spends much time outdoors directly exposed to the sun.

One sun-protective shirt lasts many seasons.

It also maintains its ultraviolet protection factor rating after getting washed a thousand times.

Dermatologists highly recommend using sun-protective clothing because they protect from the sun the best.

Moreover, the degree of sun protection is constant.

Also, health care providers recommend that if you use sunscreen, it should be water-resistant.

Moreover, it should have at least SPF 50 and be applied on exposed skin every 2 hours.

How to Buy UV Protective Clothing?

Clothing in general will shield you from the sun.

But not all materials and colors will give you equal shielding.

Tightly woven fabrics are more successful at blocking UV rays than thin fabrics.

Keep the following factors in mind when shopping for protective clothing.


Radiant colors will keep UV rays from getting to your skin by absorbing the sun rays.

These colors also prevent UV rays from penetrating the clothing.


Heavily interlaced cloth like denim, canvas, wool, and synthetic fibers give more protection than thin (lightly) interlaced cloth.

One way to check the fabric’s sun protection capability is by holding it up against the sun.

If you can see through the material, then the UV radiation can go through the material easily and reach your skin.

Which Materials Give the Best Sun Protection?

Unbleached cotton is a natural UV absorber and has the best sun protection factor.

Polyester and lightweight satiny silks have high sun protection because of their radiation reflection.

Fabrics created with high-tech and treated with chemicals are ultraviolet absorbers.

They can also stop some of the UV rays from penetrating the clothes and reaching the skin.


Loose-fitting clothes are more desirable because tight clothes stretch and allow UV radiation to go through the fibers.

The fibers of tight clothes pull away from one another on a person’s body.

Because of this, they allow more UV rays to pass through them and do not give good sun protection.

Ultraviolet Protection

Some apparel makers add ultraviolet sun protection labels.

These labels tell us exactly how much the piece of clothing shields us from UV rays.


If your clothing covers more skin, then you logically have more protection from the sun.

Long-sleeved garments, pants, and long skirts give more sun protection.

How to Shield Yourself from UV Radiation?

The strength of the sun’s rays is important to consider.

The amount of ultraviolet exposure is very dependent on the time you’re under the sun and for how long you leave your skin exposed, and if you’re wearing proper apparel or sunscreen products.

If you’re living in an area with heavy sunlight, then you’re at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

One of the easiest ways of protecting yourself from sunrays is simply by wearing a hat.

A hat that has at least a 2-3 inch brim is ideal.

A shade cap that has 7 inches of fabric is also good.

This will give the neck added protection.

The baseball cap only protects the front and top of the head.

It doesn’t protect the neck or ears though, where cancers are most likely to appear.

How to Protect Yourself at the Beach?

There are several things you need to keep in mind when spending time at the beach

Stay in the Shade

What reduces sun exposure greatly is staying in the shade.

Wear Sun Protective Clothing

Not all clothing will provide enough protection against ultraviolet light.

Most fabrics won’t give you sufficient UV light protection.

You should protect your skin from UV light using sun protection products and tightly woven fabrics.

During hot summer days

If you’re outside for the larger part of the day, the clothing you wear will have a very big impact on the level of UV-ray protection, even greater if you wear UV-ray protective clothing.

Finding the right apparel with good ultraviolet protection is key.

These are the specific types of ratings you should look out for:

15, 20 – Good Protection

25, 30, 35 Very Good Protection

40, 45, 50, 50+ Excellent protection.

The effectiveness of UV transmission I percentage:

6.7 – 4.2 Good Protection

4.1 – 2.6 Very Good Protection

less than 2.5 Excellent Protection

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses will also give protection for your eyes for cataract reduction.

They protect the tender skin around the eyes from forming wrinkles.

Sunglasses that block both UVA rays and UVB rays give you the best protection.

Also, wrap-around sunglasses will work wonders for this issue because they block the sun’s UV rays from getting to the sides.

How Much Protection Does Clothing Provide?

To have the best sun protection, you have to consider a combination of different factors.

Wearing clothing that gives UV protection is a must.

Yet, while clothing with a high ultraviolet protection factor gives you proper shielding, it will not suffice.

How much sun protection does clothing provide depends on the quality of fabric and the shade of clothes.

Avoid loosely woven fabrics as tight weaves protect much better from skin damage.

Also, lighter shades block more UV light compared to darker shades that absorb the rays of the sun.

Make sure to wear long sleeves and cover the exposed areas with broad-spectrum sunscreen products.

Wear wide-brim hats and sunglasses, as wearing sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection is the best way to prevent cataracts.

A high SPF (sun protection factor) not only prevents sun damage but also reduces the risk of cancer.

Solar Energy and Solar Powered Clothing

Solar panels are created from silicon wafers or other types of materials that enable them to be placed in an area to collect the sun rays for energy purposes.

They can also be placed in clothing as well.

The usefulness of these materials is amazing.

Now you can charge your cellphone and tablets with your clothing as well because of the small panels that are embedded in your clothing.

The possibilities are truly endless.

Let’s look at what makes this possible.

Charging our phones and tablets with a USB that is external or in this case, integrated into the fabric of the clothing will be very convenient for the wearers.

If these materials are implemented for other purposes on a grander scale, there will be a huge cutback in electrical power being used.

Garments shrink over time, which affects everything embedded or sewn to the clothing.

In 2017, “the University of Tokyo and research institute RIKEN” demonstrated a prototype called ultra-thin photovoltaic material.

This is a material that can stretch and is waterproof.

Clothing with embedded solar cells that are just 3mm x 1.5mm creates these solar-powered clothes.

Wearing these solar-powered clothing is also comfortable and useful.

Solar Fabric for Tents

Solar-powered tents are a potential for people who have suffered a sudden loss of their homes from a natural disaster like flooding or earthquake.

This will give shelter and electrical power, avoiding installing power generators nearby.

Sun-powered electrical power is renewable.

Solar-powered tents can bring relief faster and more reliable than anything out there!

Solar-Powered Hats

Solar-powered hats are fun to wear.

Some hats have cooling fans, and the interesting part about these hats is that they turn on when you go outside and turn off when you go indoors.

Some hats have a compass, as well as a USB port for charging your phone.

Final Thoughts

This topic seems to be from a science fiction movie.

The interesting part is the many different ways we can use this potentially deadly UV radiation to our advantage.

UVB rays are both helpful and harmful.

We just have to make the most of the benefits of the sun’s harmful rays.

With sun rays as an energy source, we can be sure in making an everlasting change to the environment in many positive ways.

Keep in mind, though, that some of this technology is very new.

It has a long way to go, especially for mass production.

But the potential benefits are there for us to enjoy enormously.

If you have something to add, feel free to let us know in the comments below.