Why Your Shirt Is Not 100% Effective Against The Sun (And How Sun Protection Clothes Work)

Why Your Shirt Is Not 100% Effective Against The Sun (And How Sun Protection Clothes Work)

The clothes you’re wearing right now are only giving you very minimal protection from the sun, despite everything we’ve believed for decades. It’s a dangerous misconception that contributes to our frighteningly high skin cancer rates.

Here’s what you’d actually need to wear to get any decent level of defence from your regular wardrobe: thick denim, densely woven wool or heavy corduroy. How does that sound on a scorching summer’s day?

Enter UPF 50+ apparel, the ingenious lightweight clothing that shields you from 98% of both UVA and UVB rays.

How can UPF 50+ and normal clothes be so different?

The level of protection provided by clothes depends on a number of factors, including fibre, the density of the weave and even colour.

Cottons and linens, the clothes we usually wear when the mercury soars, have a looser weave that can’t block damaging UV rays (in fact, loose weave clothing can provide as little as an SPF 5+ equivalent!). Add a lather of sweat or a summer rain shower and your wet clothes can drop to an SPF 3+.

Remember, the Skin Cancer Council recommends at least an SPF50+ sunscreen! That shows just how ineffective our t-shirts and pants really are – despite your best intentions, you’ll still be letting large doses of damaging UV-A and UV-B rays through to your skin.

UPF 50+ apparel is innovative because its unique fabric construction provides 98% protection from both UV types by using a dense weave that still delivers a lightweight feel.

For instance, our sun protective clothing uses patented Italian-made fabrics with an extremely tight, 3D weave of extra fine fibres to effectively combat the harsh Australian sun. It also keeps your skin cooler than regular cotton, polyesters and rayons.

Unlike sunscreen, the UPF ability of sun protective clothing stays high even with washing and wearing (and most items will last several years). You’re also free to enjoy your time in the sun without reapplications of sticky sunscreens. You can just set and forget!

What about UPF50+ versus SPF50+?

The two are often confused. SPF refers to sunscreens, which protect exposed skin against UV-B rays. UPF (sun protection fabrics) block transmission of both UV-A and UV-B rays to provide up to 98% protection.

If shielding your skin from premature aging, potential skin cancers and melanoma is your goal, UPF50+ is your best option.

Even better, sun protective clothing provides immediate defence, so there’s no need to take shelter while waiting for your sunscreen to soak in. As a bonus, sun protection fabric is kind to sensitive skin and doesn’t contain any chemicals.

What to look for when buying UPF clothing

UPF is a specialised business and there’s a range of fabrics on the market – but, not all are created equal.

First, always look for clothing with the Australian Skin Cancer Council Seal of Recommendation. You can also look for features that make life in the sun better, such as: 

  • Moisture-wicking and quick drying properties to keep you comfortable.
  • Easy washing and drying so when your day in the rays is done, your clothes just require a cool wash before they are ready to perform again.
  • Cooling fabric (you can expect to feel about five degrees cooler wearing our apparel, because we embed a cooling agent into the fibre). 

We have a huge range of styles, sizes and textiles so everyone in the family can enjoy every climate and activity in comfort and style.

sun protection sleeves

There are sun protection options for every wardrobe

SParms wear is designed to be easy, convenient and comfortable.

Adding sleeves to your outfit.

The versatility of our popular SParms sleeves makes them the simplest and most practical start to your UPF50+ journey. Arm sleeves go under your shirt, or uniform to protect your arms from shoulder to wrist. Some also have a little extra length and thumbholes.

Compact and effective, arm sleeves are equally suited to a day on the sandy shore, in the backyard, on the golfing green or while pounding the pavement. If you’re looking to ramp up your sun protection game, stow a set in your beach or sports bag – your skin will thank you. 

Shielding shoulders under any type of clothing.

Our shoulder wrap is the next step up and is intended for layering beneath your usual wardrobe for extra peace of mind. This lightweight item is designed to protect the shoulders and upper body in addition to the arms.

Total cover-up with all-over protection.

For the ultimate UVA and UVB defence, we recommend our long-sleeve base layer shirt, which looks great worn alone and is also comfortable and sleek enough to sit beneath your other clothing.

UPF is the best choice for you and the environment

Eco-conscious sun lovers can enjoy SParms apparel safe in the knowledge that we are committed to reducing environmental impact.

Our products are produced with ethical and sustainable practices in mind, and since our clothing retains exceptional performance for many years, they’re a much kinder choice for the planet.

Even better, our products won’t wash nasty contaminants into our oceans as many sunscreens can.

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