Sun protection clothing, specially treated fashions designed to filter ultraviolet rays, have been proven to be one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, whether it be a hot sunny day, or an overcast day where you think the UV index is not going to be high. Carrying a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating, these clothes, hats and swimsuits have proliferated in the last decade as we have become more aware of the sun's dangers.
Any clothing can be considered sun protective if it covers the skin, and pieces in darker colors, tighter weaves and synthetic fabrics are all better at blocking harmful rays than lighter, loosely woven clothes of natural fibers.
Clothing items with a UPF rating are designed to provide more protection. The numbers range from 15 to 50-plus, and higher numbers indicate more UV protection. The number is comparable to the SPF (sun protection factor) of sunscreens, which also provide more protection at higher numbers.
Some UV-protective clothing is given its rating based on its fiber density and structure, including, for example, its thread count per inch. Other pieces are pre-treated with a UV-inhibiting ingredient.
A big reason why sun protection clothing beats sunscreen is because most people don't apply enough lotion and still consider themselves protected even after swimming or perspiring heavily, which dilutes sunscreen's effectiveness. By wearing clothing instead, there is no re-application required and you can be confident that you are covered constantly.
A lot of the UV protective clothing items out there are vented under the arms and at other strategic points and the lighter fabrics make them extra comfortable despite Australia’s summer temperatures.