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Sun Protection

Read About Sun Protection for Kids...

 

The Fundamentals of Sun Protection

Understanding the Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays

UVA: Can impact skin more deeply than UVB, causing aging of the skin and wrinkles. UVA rays also weaken the immune system, as well as contribute to skin cancer. They can penetrate clouds and untreated glass.

UVB: This type causes sunburns and can contribute to skin aging and cancer as well as weaken the immune system. UVB rays are the most dangerous between 10 am and 4 pm and can penetrate clouds, but not glass.

What is a UPF Rating?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and is used to rate the protectiveness of a garment. Unlike sunscreen's SPF number, the UPF rating applies to both UVA and UVB rays.

  • UPF 15-20 is considered Good
  • UPF 25-35 is considered Very Good
  • UPF 40-50+ is considered Excellent
STAYING PROTECTED:
CLOTHING VS. SUNSCREEN SUN PROTECTIVE
CLOTHING UPF: ULTRAVIOLET PROTECTION FACTOR

UPF is used to rate the sun protectiveness of a fabric. Unlike SPF, UPF applies to both UVA and UVB rays. Ratings run from UPF 5-50, with 8 being the rating for an average white t-shirt.

CONSTANT PROTECTION

With sun protective clothing, as long as the fabric covers your skin you are protected all day long. The more intense the sun, the higher the rating you should wear, especially if you will be out for an extended period of time.

HIGHER RATING, SAFER SKIN

A cotton t-shirt is rated between UPF 5-8, meaning it allows up to 20% of UV radiation to reach skin. According to the UPF standard, no rating below 15 can be called 'sun protective'.

TRADITIONAL SUNSCREEN SPF: SUN PROTECTION FACTOR

SPF rates effectiveness against UVB (burning) rays. Unless it says Broad Spectrum, it likely doesn't stop UVA rays, which cause skin cancer. Currently, there is no accepted rating system for UVA.

REGULAR APPLICATIONS

Apply a shot glass full at least 20 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, (more when in the water, sweating, or using a towel). Applying a smaller amount less often decreases SPF rating. (Source: skincancer.org)

NOT TRAVEL FRIENDLY

With current security measures in airports, it isn't easy to travel with a bottle of sunscreen, and it is often more expensive at your destination.

ISN'T ALL CLOTHING SUN PROTECTIVE?

All clothing offers some degree of protection. When the sun's rays hit fabric, some of the energy is changed to heat. This converted energy is no longer dangerous to skin. The UPF rating, similar to SPF for sunscreen, determines the amount of UV rays that a garment can block.

The higher a fabric's UPF rating (15-50), the better protected you are. The rating equates to the percent of UV rays that pass through the fabric, so UPF 50 means that about 1/50th, or 2% of rays, can get through. Another way to think of this is a UPF 50 shirt blocks 98% of UV rays.

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