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How Does UV Protective Clothing Work?

Woman wearing fashionable sun protection

As spring approaches and we spend more time outdoors, it's crucial to consider the harmful effects of UV radiation on our skin. While sunscreen is essential for areas that clothing can’t cover, UV protective clothing offers a physical layer of defense against the sun's damaging rays. So how does it work, and why should you invest in it? Let's delve into the science behind UV protective clothing.

How UV Protective Clothing Works:

1. Fabric Selection: UV protective clothing is made from specially designed fabrics that block or absorb UV radiation. These fabrics undergo rigorous testing to determine their UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which indicates how much UV radiation the fabric can block. Fabrics with higher UPF ratings provide greater protection. All Soleil Sunwear apparel provides UPF 50+ protection, meaning they provide as much protection as a SPF 50 sunscreen (but don't need to be reapplied every two hours like sunscreen does!).

2. Tightly Woven Construction: The construction of the fabric plays a significant role in its UV protection capabilities. Tightly woven fabrics create a denser barrier against UV radiation, reducing the amount that reaches the skin. This is the case with Soleil Sunwear’s fabric, which is selected for the highest quality feel, along with UPF rating.

3. UV Absorbing Agents: Some fabrics are treated with UV-absorbing agents or dyes that enhance their ability to block UV rays. These agents work by absorbing and dissipating UV radiation, preventing it from penetrating the skin.

4. Color and Thickness: For non UPF-rated fabrics, the construction, color, and weight can impact its level of UV protection. In general, darker colors generally offer better protection than lighter colors, and thicker fabrics provide more coverage.

5. Moisture-Wicking and Breathability: While providing protection, UV protective clothing is designed to be breathable and moisture-wicking, allowing sweat to evaporate quickly and keeping you cool and comfortable in hot weather. Soleil Sunwear’s fabric is fast-drying, and cool to the touch, making it a comfortable choice for even the hottest days. 

While sunscreen is critical, especially for the face, add UV protective clothing to your skincare arsenal. It provides an effective and convenient way to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays without the inconsistency and inconvenience of applying sunscreen (as long as you're wearing it, it's working!). By understanding how it works and investing in quality UV protective fashion, you can enjoy the outdoors safely and maintain healthy and radiant skin.


Photo credit: Melanie Laval 


  1. Skin Cancer Foundation - "UPF Clothing: Sun Protective Clothes That Block UV Rays":
  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association - "How to Select Sun Protective Clothing":
  3. Mayo Clinic - "Sun-protective clothing: What's the best fabric for blocking UV rays?":