It’s good to see that the importance of sun protection has become well know, especially if you are from Australia. It is rare now to see kids running around in the middle of a hot day without a hat on. They will thank their parents when they are older.
Still, a summer trip to the beach or the park will still turn up plenty of young adults not being so careful. I understand why – I too was young(er!!!) once and know that sometimes sun protection is the last thing on your mind and warm rays on your body do feel nice. The risk are so high however…I hope that slowly these habits change.
Unfortunately sun damage isn’t isolated to sun baking and summer days at the beach. If you think about it, we are exposing ourselves to UV rays every time we are outside and this incidental exposure adds up. We are also a nation of sports people. We love our outdoor games. Cricket, tennis, netball, softball, sailing, fishing, kayaking…..all great Summer sports and enjoyed by millions of Australia’s every day. Our kids especially! And as sure as night follows day you can be assured that plenty of us are getting far too much UV exposure as a result of these hours of sports in the sun. I know I did.
So what to do. Stay in side and watch TV? I don’t think so.
Well fortunately we are getting a little bit smarter with sun protection every day. Not only do we have the basics of hats, suncream and sunglasses (which we all should be employing daily), we now also have sun protective fabrics!
But all clothing stops sun damage I hear you say. Well yes, to some degree, but not all UV rays are stopped by all fabric. OK, if you wear thick, dark coloured fabric then yes you will stop the damaging UV rays. But have you ever worn a pair of jeans and a turtle neck sweater out on the field in Summer? We don’t. We choose loose-fitting, light weight, light colours fabrics. Why, because they are cooler.
They problem however is that some of these types of traditional summer fabrics can offer very little protection from UV rays. Yes, the UV rays can travel through them. And yes, your skin can be damaged even when under a shirt. It is not the visual light spectrum we are talking about, it is the UV rays. Just because the visual light is stopped does not mean the damaging UV rays have been stopped also. And it is these UV rays we want to stop most of all. This is very important to understand and remember. Don’t get me wrong, it is FAR better to be out in the sun wearing a thin white t-shirt than have no clothing cover at all, but please don’t think you are completely UV protected with your sheer cover-up over your shoulders, because you are not. Nor are your children.
Enter Sun Protective Fabrics. Light weight, light coloured and breathable.
“Sun protective clothing is clothing specifically designed for sun protection and is produced from a fabric rated for its level of ultraviolet (UV) protection. A novel weave structure and denier (related to thread count per inch) may produce sun protective properties. In addition, some textiles and fabrics employed in the use of sun protective clothing may be pre-treated with UV inhibiting ingredients during manufacture to enhance their UV blocking capacity.
As sun protective clothing is usually meant to be worn during warm and humid temperatures, some UV-blocking textiles and clothing may be designed with ventilated weaves, moisture wicking and antibacterial properties to assist in cooling and breathability.
A relatively new rating designation for sun protective textiles and clothing is UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). Unlike SPF (Sun Protection Factor) that traditionally uses human sunburn testing in a laboratory environment, UPF measures both UV radiation transmittance using a laboratory instrument and an artificial light source and translates these results using a mathematical expression based upon the sunburn action spectrum integrated over the relevant UV spectrum.”
From the Australian Government Radiation Agency:
“The UPF rating indicates how effective a fabric is at blocking out solar ultraviolet radiation. This testing is performed according to Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS4399. UPF ratings range from 15 to 50 with higher ratings indicating more effective blocking and therefore better protection for the wearer of a garment made from the fabric. Fabrics that test higher than UPF 50 are rated as UPF 50+.”
Sorry for all the boring information, but this stuff is unfortunately very important, especially for sun-loving nations like Australia.
At Terry Rich Australia we take sun protection very seriously, especially for young children. If we can play a small role in keeping our kids skin safe and healthy and at the same time be successful in our business then we are happy. We already produce a wide range of beach and swim robes in towelling with great cover-up properties, but we are excited to announce that we now also have a small but growing collection of Summer apparel in beautiful, light weight, breathable and moisture wicking UPF50+ rated fabric.
These garments have been designed not only to look smart but also to be practical and functional for Summer active wear. We designed then, we tested them and we wear them regularly. If you and your family are active outdoors you might like to consider a few of these style garments for the summer drawer.
The first garments to be launched are our Girls Sundowner Cover-ups which are available now! At $49.90 they are great value for such a useful garment. Later this week our long-sleeved polos for Men and Boys will also be online! So get covered for your next sun-day everyone!
I hope this article has been worth the read. We feel passionately about sun protection here at Terry Rich Australia so apologise for any preaching! It’s only because we have been there and we know!