Fabrics That Protect You From the Sun
Sunscreens (suntan lotions) are quite effective at blocking UV-B radiation but have to be reapplied during the day, especially if you’re sweating, swimming or getting splashed with water. Enter fabrics that protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.
Not just any fabric works. Many types offer little protection. That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing probably gives you significantly less protection than the SPF-15 sunscreen that is the minimum recommended rating for outdoor activity.
Australia has the world’s highest rate of skin cancer. They have high UV levels and relatively clear skies. They originated the use of special fabrics for sun protection and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) developed the first standards and test methods to certify protection levels.
Sunscreens are rated for their Sun Protection Factor (SPF) against only UV-B rays. Fabrics are rated for their Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) and must protect against both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Sun-protective fabrics block the sun’s rays with the type and density of their weave, the type of fiber and the dyes used.
As a further precaution, some studies indicate that washing your garments with detergents containing fabric brighteners can maintain and increase their sun-protective qualities. The brightener chemicals absorb some UV rays.
Yes, exposure to UV radiation carries a significant health risk. However, you don’t have to give up your outdoor lifestyle. You’ve got lots of tools at your disposal. Wear sun-protective clothing, use minimum SPF 15 sunscreens on exposed skin, wear quality sunglasses and choose wide brim hats. And don't forget the young people in your life. It is SO much simpler to protect them with sun-protective clothing, like NRS Kid's HydroSilk Shirts, than to chase them down several times a day to slather on the sunscreen!
Boat Often, Enjoy the Sun & Boat Safe