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Clothing is an important sunscreen. Clothing is chemical free, and is inexpensive. Good clothing is a complete block.
There are now UV blocking clothes also on the local market which have a specific weave that permits airflow but blocks UV radiation. These clothes tend to be expensive, but they are generally effective. They are especially useful for people who practice watersports.
The American Society for Testing and Materials has recently developed standards for manufacture and labeling of sun protective products. The new units for UV protection are called UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). UPF measures the ability of the fabric to block UV from passing through it and reaching the skin.
Not all fabrics block UV light to the same extent. The UPF of clothing depends on several factors including weave and chemical additives when manufactured (such as UV absorbers or UV diffusers).
Ultraviolet protective factors in order of importance:
• Weave: tightly woven fabric provides greater protection than loosely woven clothing. If you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can get through, too.
Additionally, you may use sunprotective clothing additives that can be added to your laundry to transform everyday clothing into sun protective gear with a SPF 30. The active ingredient is Tinosorb™ FD, a UV protectant that can boost the SPF protection of a white cotton T-shirt from SPF 5 to UPF 30.
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