UPF is SPF for your clothes. It stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and rates your clothes on how well they protect your skin from harmful UV rays. UV Standard 801 is the most trustworthy UPF testing method. So whether you spend time in the sun for leisure, sport, or work, it’s important your clothing protects you from harmful UV rays that could lead to skin cancer.
We’ve all heard of SPF (sun protection factor) which measures how well sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UVB rays. But not many know about UPF — or ultraviolet protection factor — which measures the sun protection of our clothing. Here’s why it matters. . .
UV Standard 801 is the only testing method which tests products throughout their life cycle
The idea that our clothing can (and should!) offer adequate protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays is growing in the minds of consumers. But did you know that many textiles provide very little in the way of UV protection? And a large number of textiles that do offer protection are not actually tested for real-world conditions and practical use.
With that said, there is a legitimate UPF testing process — called the UV Standard 801 — that gives a practical and accurate protection rating on everything from shirts and pants, to hats and swimsuits, and even household shades and blinds. The UV Standard 801 tests products throughout their full life cycle, not just their protective power when they’re fresh off the shelves.
According to Innovation In Textiles, “. . .other methods and standards, which are still used internationally today, are limited to only testing the UV protection factor of textiles in their brand-new condition.” But what about a child’s swimsuit after multiple washes, stretching and fading? How then does it measure up against skin-damaging UV rays? This is exactly where the UV Standard 801 testing method truly shines.
Outdoor participants should for clothes with a clear and tested UPF rating
Now, it’s obvious that athletes and those who participate in outdoor activities should pay mind to the UPF rating on their clothes. But another group of sun-goers — those who work outdoors — would also be wise to educate themselves on UPF.
Today, a growing number of employers are demanding quality textiles from manufacturers. They desire clothing that will protect their workers from sun damage and a potential diagnosis of skin cancer. And a number of innovative textile companies are pleased to meet the demand.
So whether you spend time outdoors for work or for play, it’s important to take the necessary precautions in protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure. And a trustworthy UPF rating is yet another way to ensure your time in the sun is responsible and enjoyable.