UV Sun Protection Fact Sheet

Whatever you decide - START SAVING YOUR SKIN NOW

  • Avoid the midday sun
  • Choose tightly woven clothing that gives good body coverage
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Use a sunscreen and follow the directions for its application

It's EASY - It's IMPORTANT - It's up to YOU

Wearing clothing that covers most of the body, a broad-brimmed hat and applying a SPF 15 or more sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin against the harsh Australian sun and reduce the risk of skin cancer. The following information is provided to enable you to make an informed choice when choosing appropriate clothing to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

The design of the garment is the most important factor. It should cover as much of the skin as possible. Shirts/blouses with collars and long sleeves and long trousers/skirts offer the best protection. However, in some circumstances, elbow-length sleeves and knee-length shorts may be more appropriate and offer an acceptable compromise.

In July 1996 a new Australian Standard (AS/NZ 4399:1996 Sun protective clothing - evaluation and classification) was published to provide information to consumers on the relative capability of fabrics and clothing to protect the skin against solar ultraviolet radiation.

This information is provided in the form of a labelling system which uses the term ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) to rate the sun protectiveness of fabrics and clothing. The Standard regulates the sun protective claims that manufacturers can make about their products.

The UPF rating is based on a test that measures the amount of ultraviolet radiation that passes through fabrics or clothing. Unlike the test method used to rate sunscreens which, using volunteers, measures the amount of transmission of ultraviolet radiation by human skin reactions, the testing of fabrics and clothing is done using machines.

The test method of this Standard relates to unstretched, dry fabrics and clothing. The UPF rating of a garment could be lower when it is stretched or wet.

The UPF rating only relates to the fabric that garments are made of. The rating does not cover the design of the garment which can affect its sun protectiveness. Fabrics and clothing will only provide protection to the skin areas they cover.

When choosing a garment for sun protection, the important considerations are:

  • the design (in terms of the amount of skin coverage),
  • the closeness of the weave, and
  • comfort (while dark colours offer more protection, they also absorb the heat and tend to be less comfortable to wear in hot weather).

Fabrics and clothing which do not carry a UPF rating do not necessarily offer less protection than those that have been tested. Buying fabric or clothing which has been rated does, however, take the "guess work" out of assessing the sun protectiveness offered by the weave. However, you will still need to consider the design and comfort factors.

UPF Classification System

UVR % UVR transmission UPF ratings
6.7 -4.2
15, 20
Very good
4.1 - 2.6
25, 30, 35
< 2.5
40, 45, 50, 50+

Our Materials

Italian Carvico Vita Recycled Lycra

Carvico prime technology fabric has up to 5 times the chlorine resistance of ordinary elastane, combined with an excellent sun protection rating UPF 50+. Specifically designed for today's environment, this creates the perfect balance of performance and quality.
  • Sun Protection Factor UPF 50+
  • 5 times the chlorine resistance of traditional Lycra
  • Great fit and comfort
  • Extra Strength
  • Outstanding quality
  • Shape retention
  • Maximum durability