Dangers of UV – Sun Protection

UPF ratings are used for fabric – SPF ratings are used for sunscreen.

Many so called sun protective fabrics look similar but not only is there is a vast spectrum of fabric quality (ie breathability, softness durability – just to name a few!) there is also a significant difference in the UPFratings which vary from UPF 15 to UPF50+.

In addition, some garments have a UV treatment applied to them after manufacture that increases the level of UPF protection but disappears after 20- 30 washes rendering them as ineffective as some cotton garments – which in some cases, only have a UPF rating of 5! Below is the Australian UPF Classification System for fabric/clothing – supplied by independent testing agent ARPANSA.

UPF Rating Protectection Category % UV Radiation Blocked
15,20 Good 93.3 - 95.9
25, 30, 35 Very Good 96.0 - 97.4
40, 45, 50, 50+ Excellent 97.5 or more

The sun emits many types of radiation. At the earth’s surface we receive mostly light and infrared radiation (heat). Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is also present but we cannot see it or feel it. Ozone in the atmosphere absorbs much of the UVR before it reaches the ground – but, unfortunately we still receive enough to cause serious skin and eye damage .

Over exposure to ultra violet rays not only causes severe sunburn and premature skin ageing but also on- going eye disorders such as terrigiums and cataracts and can result in deadly skin cancers including melanoma. The first twenty years of a child growing up in Australia’s harsh climate are the most important and crucial years to be sun wise! Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancers in the world due to UVR exposure. Every year over three hundred thousand new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed. Over fifteen hundred Australians die each year from skin cancer. Wearing well-designed UPF50+ sun protective clothing is a convenient and practical solution to reducing over exposure to these deadly UVR.