We woke up to a little thrill this morning: sun protective clothing got the spotlight during a special segment on Good Morning America (ABC). This GMA Investigates piece makes a wonderful introduction for people who are just learning about the benefits of sun protective clothing.
In case you missed it, you can catch it here.
We at Coolibar believe this entire discussion is valuable for anyone who shops or will shop for sun protective clothing, and we’d like to add to it from our perspective.
GMA says: “Sun protective clothing has tightly woven fabric often treated with chemicals to help absorb UV rays.”
Coolibar adds: This can be true. But fabric technology has advanced far beyond spray-ons or other chemical treatments that will, eventually, wash out. Coolibar, for example, embeds tiny particles of common mineral ingredients used in sunscreen, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, into the fibers. These sun protective particles are permanent; they won’t wash or wear out.
GMA says: “The darker the fabric and the tighter the weave, the higher the UPF.”
Coolibar adds: Also true. But the same advanced fabric technology drastically reduces the necessity for dark colors and tight weaves. Sun protective clothing does not need to be dark or heavy; instead, it’s lightweight, breathable (it actually keeps you cooler in the hot sun) and definitely fashionable.
GMA says: “GMA Investigates tested five items all claiming to have a UPF between 50 and 100…All the clothing had around the UPF it claimed.”
We don’t discount these results, although current ASTM standards
do not provide for a sun protective clothing manufacturer to label its clothing 100 UPF (some manufacturers claim 100 SPF). Instead, the highest possible rating is UPF 50+. We recently spoke with Dr. B. Lewis Slaten of International UV Testing Laboratories
, an independent lab in Auburn, Alabama that tests UPF fabrics. Here is what he told us: “Well, 100 SPF is meaningless. The highest label is UPF 50. A 50 rating means that the material blocks 98 percent of UVA and UVB (the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays). Anything above that is inconsequential for most people.”
Again, it’s great to see sun protective clothing starting to pop up on conversations about health and skin care. Pass this along!