In a place where the winter can often seem unending, choosing clothing to protect from the sun is probably not at the forefront of any Minnesotan’s mind. However, with skin care and skin cancer-prevention in mind, many clothing companies are introducing “sun protective clothing” (also known as UPF Clothing.) Though not “sustainable” in the traditional sense (fair-trade or made with sustainable materials), taking care of the health of your skin during the summer months is a wise and sustainable choice.
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and a UPF rating tells how effective a particular garment is at blocking out solar ultraviolet radiation. Whereas the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) only takes into account UVB rays, the UPF standard for sun protective clothing takes into account UVB and UVA rays. Another difference is that SPF measures how much time one can be exposed to the sun before getting a burn, and the UPF rate tells how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed by the fabric. For instance, if a shirt claims a “UPF rating of 50” this means that it only allows 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to pass through it and to your skin, thus blocking 98% of the UV radiation.
REI, Roseville, Bloomington & Maple Grove, MN, rei.com