UV-Protected Clothing vs. Non-Protected Clothing

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UV-Protected Clothing vs. Non-Protected Clothing

Science has linked certain types of skin cancers to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most doctors agree that UV radiation is a big contributor to melanoma skin cancers. As medical researchers learn more about the effects of sun exposure on unprotected skin, consumers are taking greater interest in products that aid in sun protection. Clothing manufacturers have recognised the need for UV-protected clothing and are producing garments that fit this market niche. Instead of applying messy sun block products directly to the skin, many consumers prefer to cover limbs with light and airy clothing that provides protection from the sun.

An understanding of the UV-protection ratings and the advantages of UV-protected fabric is important when purchasing this type of clothing. Although major retail outlets offer clothing with UV protection, sellers on eBay also make a wide selection available.

Understanding UV Protection Ratings

The amount of protection that clothing can provide in stopping UV rays is dependent upon a number of factors. Certain material blends are more effective at providing UV protection, and clothing manufacturers treat fabric with compounds to improve the degree of sun block. To gauge the effectiveness of the different levels of sun protection, the Australian government has established a testing and rating system to inform consumers of the ability of items of clothing to block UV rays. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) tests products and assigns an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating based on the percentage of UV rays a garment blocks. The following chart captures the main points in the UPF rating system.

UPF Rating

Percentage of Ultraviolet Radiation Blocked

Protection Classification

15, 20

93.3 to 95.9 percent


25, 30, 35

96.0 to 97.4 percent

Very Good

40, 45, 50, 50+

97.5 percent or more



The higher the UPF rating of 25, the better the protection offered by a fabric. In addition to the testing, ARPANSA provides labels to garment manufacturers who use tested fabrics. Manufacturers affix these labels to their clothing lines to inform consumers of the amount of protection their garments provide.

Why UV Protection is Important

Australians receive high levels of UV radiation due to the country’s position on the globe, and this is evidenced by the fact that a high percentage of its population develop skin cancer, in comparison to other parts of the world.

A climate that produces clear skies and bright sunshine, along with the angle at which UV rays strike, gives Australia additional exposure to this harmful by-product of the sun’s illumination. On a bright summer day, a fair-skinned person without some form of UV protection can quickly exceed safe exposure levels and experience sunburn within 15 minutes. Over a lifetime, this constant exposure to UV radiation can lead to the development of skin cancer as well as eye problems associated with the failure to properly protect eyes with UV protective sunglasses.

Clothing That is Not UV Protected

Many consumers might assume that they are being protected from UV rays, as long as they have their arms and legs covered with some form of clothing. However, many factors have a bearing on the effectiveness of a fabric in blocking UV radiation.

■    Weave: Tightly woven fabric like denim or twill provide more protection than crepe or voile styles.

■    Weight: This translates to thickness of fabric, and thicker fabrics block more UV radiation.

■    Color: Darker fabrics absorb UV radiation better than lighter-colored or un-dyed fabrics.

■    Elasticity: Fabric that stretches opens tiny holes for UV radiation to pass through. Test a fabric by stretching it in front of a light source, and see how much visible light passes through.

■    Moisture Repellent: Water absorbed into a fabric reduces the material's effectiveness to block UV rays.

In addition to the above factors, the type of fabric from which an article of clothing is manufactured also determines the effectiveness of the material in absorbing or blocking UV rays. For example, wool is a good UV-blocking fabric, but it is not very comfortable to wear in the summer. Cotton is a popular summer fabric that stays cool in warm weather. However, cotton that is not treated with UV protectors is one of the more UV-porous fabrics. Synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, are more protective of UV radiation, due to the chemical composition of these fabrics.

Advantages of UV-Protected Clothing

Besides the benefit of blocking UV radiation, there are some other advantages that clothing treated with UV protectors provide. Heavy denim jeans effectively block UV radiation, but if the temperature is 35 degrees Celsius, those jeans are not likely to feel very comfortable in the heat.

Keeping Cool

Cotton treated for UV protection is a comfortable summer fabric. Some of the newer fabrics developed with synthetic blends allow air in but keep UV radiation out. If a fabric also has moisture-wicking properties, it keeps the wearer cooler and more comfortable.

Repelling Water

When the fabric repels water instead of absorbing it, the UV-protective abilities of the material are retained. Clothing such as swimsuits that shed water quickly when one gets out of the pool or ocean are also more comfortable to wear than walking around in wet and sticky material.

Longer Lasting

Clothing treated with UV protectors generally retains its wearability longer. Colors stay brighter, and the composition of the fabrics used does not deteriorate as quickly as untreated or natural fabrics.

UV-protected clothing generally carries a higher price tag than clothing that does not feature added UV radiation-blocking properties. However, considering the protection that UV-treated fabrics provide to the skin and the other advantages they offer, the long-term value of these fabrics justifies the additional cost.

Buying UV-Protected or Non-Protected Clothing on eBay

Sellers on eBay offer competitive deals on both UV-protected and non-protected clothing. Shopping on eBay is easy and convenient. With the click of a mouse you can browse through listings of the clothing items you are considering. Remember to check the eBay deals page for great buys on clothing and other merchandise.

Just enter the applicable keywords, such as "linen dresses", into the eBay search bar, and look at the listings of all products that match the keyword description you entered. You can narrow the search results by using eBay's filter menu to select the dress size or brand name and see only those listings that match your selections. Find UV-blocking clothes by searching for UV-protection clothing or UPF clothing, and then select the appropriate category filter, such as clothing listed by gender, from the menu. After selecting the item you want to buy, complete the purchase on eBay by using any of the options for secure methods of online payment that eBay provides.


The process of selecting clothing is based on one's own preferences, and selecting wearables for another person is often difficult. Fashion is a personal statement that many people spend considerable time and money on to achieve just the right looks that accommodate their sense of style. However, buying UPF clothing for loved ones is a nice way to show concern for their well-being.

When selecting clothing for an extended period of outdoor activity, it is advisable to consider the UV protection that a shirt or a pair of slacks that one wants to wear can provide. Keeping a selection of UV-protected clothing items for those lengthy excursions in the sun is a health-conscious decision, even if it means sacrificing some style for the benefit of obtaining protection for one's skin. Utilising the many resources on eBay is a great way to enhance the wardrobe with these useful items of clothing.


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