Sun Protective Clothing: The First Line of Defense against UV Radiation
Posted on 19 April 2015
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends sun protective clothing as the first line of defense against harmful UV rays.
In their article Clothing: Our First Line of Defense , The Skin Cancer Foundation provides excellent information on the importance of sun protective clothing, including:
- The vast majority of skin cancers are caused by solar UV radiation (UVR). UVR also causes up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging, such as wrinkles, brown spots, and sagging skin. Fortunately, clothing can absorb or block much of this radiation.
- Many manufacturers today identify their sun-protective garments with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label , which indicates what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can penetrate the fabric. A shirt with a UPF of 50, for example, lets just 1/50th of the sun’s UVR reach the skin, compared to, say, an everyday white cotton T-shirt, which has a UPF of only about 5.
Hats: the face and neck receive the most sun exposure and are particularly susceptible to the two most common forms of skin cancer, basal and squamous cell carcinoma.
- Sunglasses:Over time, solar UVR can cause or contribute to conditions ranging from cataracts and macular degeneration to ocular melanomas and other skin cancers. Five to 10 percent of all skin cancers, in fact, arise on the eyelids
- The more skin you cover, the better. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants simply provide more protection than T-shirts and shorts.
- Dressing sun-safely is a year-round activity. But in certain seasonal locales even greater precautions must be taken.