Clothes Offer UV Protection

GREENSBORO, NC -- Sunscreen is a given at the beach, but how do you protect yourself from the sun on a regular work day? Short answer: your clothes.

We talked to Dr. Chris Yuengel who said that clothing is the single most effective form of sun protection and our first line of defense against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

There are a lot of fabrics that contain sun protectants. They have an ultraviolet protection factor or UPF label.The number on that label indicates what fraction of the sun's rays can penetrate the fabric.

However, we can't have a whole closet of these clothes. Take a look at what will work best from

Color: Dark or bright colors, like red or black, absorb more UVR than white or pastel shades, stopping the rays before they reach the skin. The more intense the hue, the better the UV defense.

Fabric: Cotton breathes, so it's popular in the summer, but cotton offers the least sun protection. Polyester, rayon and glossy fabrics reflect more ultra violet rays.

Tightness of Weave or Knit: Tightly woven or closely knitted fabrics, such as denim and wool, have smaller holes between the threads. They keep out more UVR than fabrics with a loose or open weave, like lace. However, clothes should not feel tight on your body: snug-fitting garments can stretch, exposing more skin to the sun.

Thickness or Density: Thin, lightweight materials, including some silks and bleached cottons, let in more UV light than do heavier, denser fabrics such as corduroy.

Check out these guidelines about UPF labeling.


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