UV Sun Protection Fact Sheet
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.
Testing of different fabrics by the Australian Radiation Laboratory in 1992 showed that approximately two thirds of cotton and cotton-polyester fabrics offered 95% protection against ultraviolet radiation. The tests showed that the tightness of the weave of the fabric was the factor which most affected the amount of ultraviolet radiation transmitted. Colour was less important, however, it was found that dark colours gave more protection than light colours.
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 labeling 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:
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
Italian Carvico LycraCarvico prime technology fabric has up to 5 times the chlorine resistance of ordinary elastine, 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
Aqua Life, The Breakthrough in Swimsuit FabricsAqua Life is the next generation of advanced chlorine proof fabrics. Designed and engineered specifically to withstand the harsh effects of exposure to chlorinated water, without sacrificing the swimsuit's comfort and stretch properties. Vital elements to the performance of the serious swimmer.
- Sun Protection Factor UPF 50+
- Exceptional wear and durability in chlorinated water
- Superior fit, freedom of movement and comfort
- Fast drying time
- Deep, vibrant, fashionable colours.