Why UV Beachwear?
You might be new to sun protection clothing or kind of heard about it, but wondered what all of the fuss was about. Well it is — or should be — an important part of your defence against skin damage caused by the sun's ultraviolet — or UV — rays.
While it may seem that any clothing provides good sun protection, the fact is that materials vary significantly in their ability to block ultraviolet radiation.
First and foremost is the fabric itself; materials vary widely in their ability to block ultraviolet radiation. And ever-popular cotton typically offers the lowest UPF protection of all.
In a nutshell, closely woven fabric provides greater protection than loosely woven fabric.
But the design of the garment also plays a role in the overall level of UV radiation protection. For instance a tight fit resulting in stretched material allows more UV radiation to pass through. And of course high collars and long sleeves reduce exposure as well.
Also, many fabrics, especially cotton, offer lower protection from UV radiation when wet. The drop in levels of protection depends on the type of fabric and the amount of moisture it absorbs when wet.
Regular lycra loses up to 60% of its UV blocking ability when it gets wet. And with repeated washing and wearing, the knit can deteriorate causing a further reduction in the material's integrity resulting in an unexpectedly low protection level.
[UPF Math: New * wet * wear = shockingly low UPF value]
So in designing clothes for sun protection, the combination of fabric, fit and design all work together to create garments with optimum sun protection.