UV protective clothing

The above standard is given to clothing that protects you from harmful UV radiation. When working outdoors or when exposed to the sun, this standard is extremely important and clothing with this standard is very suitable. Sunlight consists partly of ultraviolet radiation. This is an electromagnetic radiation that cannot be detected by the human eye, but is harmful to humans when someone comes into excessive contact with it. In fact, when UV radiation comes in contact with the skin, it can cause it to burn, turn red and it can possibly even cause skin cancer. The latter can be caused by two types of UV rays; glass or clouds do not block the radiation and therefore it penetrates deep into your skin. UV protective clothing is very important in the workplace (outdoors) for these reasons. UV protective clothing can be compared to SPF 50, or factor 50 sunscreen.

The most commonly used fabric for UV protective clothing is polyester. This fabric wrinkles less, looks nice and is safe to use. Synthetics such as polyester, nylon, lycra and acrylic absorb and protect much better than bleached cotton. This is because the denser a fabric is woven, the better it protects against UV radiation. For instance, a light, thin fabric (think silk blouse or cotton shirt) normally has a protection factor of SPF 2 to 10. A densely woven cotton shirt can have a protection factor of up to SPF 20, which is roughly comparable to properly applied sunscreen (up to SPF 30). Loose-fitting clothing additionally protects better than tight-fitting, because tight-fitting clothing increases the holes in the fabric. Wet clothing loses 50% of its protection and lets UV rays through more easily. New normal clothing (especially cotton) also offers less protection, because the holes in the fabric of clothing that has been washed several times (and therefore shrunk a little) have become smaller. Finally, dark colours offer better UV protection than light colours, but also absorb more visible light and infrared radiation. In contrast, they get hotter and are less comfortable in the sun because of it. Bright colours also absorb relatively much UV light, significantly more than pastel colours or white.

UV-protective clothing is impregnated with a UV-resistant product and/or is woven in a specific way. According to European standards, a garment with a UPF (Ultra violet Protection Factor of fabrics) higher than 30 is 'UV-protective clothing' according to European standards and material with a UPF higher than 40 is 'UV-impermeable'. Garments that meet the European standard for UV-protective clothing are labelled EN 13758-2 40+.