Why you need UV protective clothing (even if you’re using sunscreen)
What is sun protective clothing?
Sun protective clothing is clothing that protects you from the sun’s UV rays. These are clothes that cover as much skin as possible such as collared tops, long-sleeved shirts and pants that go down to at least your knees.
Sun safe swimwear can only protect the areas of your body covered by the clothing.
That means bikinis, halters and crop tops may not exactly be sun safe. To give yourself proper protection, you need to put on clothes that will provide more coverage such as a swim rashie or a stinger suit.
Sun protective hats are hats with neck flaps or broad brims which offer neck sun protection. Caps or short-brimmed hats that do not protect the delicate neck area are not regarded as sun safe. Here are some hats prescribed by the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA):
What is a UPF rating?
These days, you can also find specially designed sun protective clothes which have a UPF rating to tell you exactly how much protection you’re getting. A UPF rating lets you know how much UV will pass through a garment.
For example, a UPF rating of 30 will allow 1/30th or 3% of UV to pass through it, blocking out 97% of UV rays. Some regular clothes may only give you minimal sun protection. A cotton shirt, for example has a UPF of 5, blocking out 80% of UV rays, compared to a UPF 50+ swim rashie which offers a UV protection level of 98%.
As a rule of thumb, the tighter the weave of the fabric, the more protection it provides. Clothing such as the Radicool sun protective range is made with a unique tightly woven fabric that offers the wearer UPF 100, highly exceeding the standard safety benchmark of UPF 30.
How to choose sun protective clothing in Australia
If you’re not sure of a garment’s UPF, there are some things you can look out for to pick out the more sun protective clothes.
Look for fabrics that are tightly woven or reflect sunlight such as polyester, nylon, wool and silk. Fabrics such as cotton, rayon and hemp may feel cool but they are not as good at blocking out UV rays.
Darker colours tend to block out UV rays better so go for darker hues such as black or navy, or even a strong, bright colour. It’s the lighter shades such as pastels and white which may provide less UV protection.
Clothing that stretches provides less UV protection than a loose-fitting item. However, specially designed UV protective clothing such as a Radicool long sleeve rashie is made from a UPF 100 fabric that offers you maximum sun protection as well as the flexibility you want when doing an outdoor activity.
Why do you need sun protective clothing?
- It works better than sunscreen
No matter how good your sunscreen is, the best way to stay sun safe is to avoid the direct rays of the sun. Sun protective clothing helps to prevent UVA and UVB rays from falling directly onto your skin. Used along with sunscreen and a hat, it’s probably the best protection you can get when you’re outdoors.
- You can ‘see’ how much protection you’ve got on
When it comes to sunscreen, people tend to put on too little. You actually need about a teaspoon of sunscreen for each arm and leg, your face, neck, and the front and back of your body – that comes up to about 7 teaspoons of sunscreen each time! With sun protective clothing, it’s easy to get sun safe. You’ll never miss a spot and you can immediately see what areas you’ve got covered.
- You don’t need to ‘reapply’ sun protective clothing
Sun protective clothing is so convenient. It won’t dissolve when you sweat, and you don’t need to reapply it every 2 hours. It’s non-stop protection whether you’re kayaking, boogie boarding or building the biggest sand castle in the world. No need to worry about your sunscreen washing off your back and arms.
Is sun protective clothing better than sunscreen then?
No, you need both sun protective clothing and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. Sun protective clothing and hats can protect large areas of your face and body, and even your hair, but there are some areas that cannot be covered by UV protective clothes such as your hands or certain parts of your face. By using both sunscreen and sun protective clothing, you can enjoy the best level of protection possible.
Why is Radicool UV protective clothing the trusted choice?
Radicool UV protective clothing and hats are a favourite of Aussie families because of its unique SPF/UPF 100+ fabric. Many garments – even UV protective ones – can lose their protective qualities when they get wet. Radicool sun protective clothing however will maintain their UPF protection levels even in the water.
Our clothes are meant to be used by active people and they are built to withstand the great Australian outdoors. Swim, surf, hike play, kayak, Radicool will work to protect you from the sun in all your adventures.
With quality stitching and design, Radicool clothing is made to maintain its shape (and hence it’s protective qualities) despite repeated wash and wear. For more information about Radicool UV protective clothing and hats, check out our shop.