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About Sun Protection Fabric


About Sun Protection Fabric

  • Categories:Industry news
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  • Time of issue:2015-03-27

About Sun Protection Fabric


As you would assume, all clothing provides some level of protection; however there are many factors that affect how well a piece of clothing will protect you.

Research has proven that not all fabrics, especially summer weight fabrics offer enough protection from the sun.


One simple way to find out if your favorite t-shirt or sundress has any sort of sun protection is to hold it up to a window or lamp and see how much light gets through.

If you don't see much light penetrating, it's probably providing decent protection. If you can easily see through it, most likely it's not providing much protection at all.


Sun protection fabric is simply fabric that protects the skin from(UVR)ultraviolet radiation.

The following features affect the natural level of sun protection provided by any fabric.

  • Weave
  • Color
  • Weight
  • Stretch
  • Wetness
  • Content
  • Age

In addition:

  • Chemicals can now be added to improve the overall UV protection of less protective fabrics.

You will never know how much protection any fabric provides unless it's been tested, and only fabric that has been tested can be labeled UPF.

Use the following guidelines to estimate a NON-TESTED fabric’s protectiveness.

If a fabric is very tightly woven or knitted there are fewer “holes or spaces” for UVR to sneak through to your skin.

  • Tightly woven fabric = Canvas, twill and denim
  • Loosely woven fabric = Mesh, voile and crepe
Weave: The tighter the weave the better...
  • Darker colors use more dye so they absorb more UV radiation and provide better protection
  • Un-dyed fabric does not provide much protection at all
  • Lighter colors reflect visible light, but UV radiation passes through the fabric to your skin
  • Many detergents contain brighteners that make clothing look cleaner and whiter and these act like dyes. Repeated washings can slightly increase the UV absorption of the fabric.


The two most important characteristics of sun protection fabric are a tight weave and dark colors.

Color: The dyes used in fabrics typically absorb some UV rays.
Weight: Also means thickness – thicker fabrics absorb more UV rays
Stretch: When a fabric gets stretched out, the holes between the yarns open up and the UV rays can get through to your skin.
Wetness: Just think “wet t-shirt contest” - fabric becomes less protective.
  • Cotton feels cool in the summer heat, but untreated, it ranks last in UV protection. However, cotton treated with a UV finish can be very protective
  • Polyester, nylon and other synthetic fibers often have UV absorbers because their chemical structure boosts their sun protection
Content: Natural vs. Synthetic.

Chemical Additives: The addition of chemicals such as UV absorbers and UV blockers can be added during the manufacturing process. These advances in technology have created a new wave of sun protection fabrics that are sophisticated, lightweight, cool and easy to wear. SunGuard is a wash-in additive available at your local supermarket.

Some of the earliest fabrics on the market to make the claim “sun-protective” were made of tightly woven, lightweight nylon and polyester. They contained no special chemical treatments. Synthetic fibers are naturally nonabsorbent and can be worn in the water without getting heavy. They are quick drying too. The garments made were similar to the surfer’s “Rash Guard” and made for beach and water use.


Is sun protection fabric FDA regulated? - NO -

Currently, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for sun-protective clothing or fabric.

A group of pioneers in the industry came together to set up testing guidelines:

To qualify and standardize the UPF rating system used in the United States, manufacturers turned to two organizations:

  • The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and
  • The American Association of Textile Chemist and Colorists (AATCC).


Sun protection fabric and clothing is not considered a medical device and therefore is not regulated by the FDA. However, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) oversees advertising claims. If a manufacturer claims a garment or textile is sun-protective and lists a UPF value, it better be able to prove its claim.


Are the specially treated UV protective fabrics really better at protecting the skin?


The answer: It depends on the garments design:

For example, let’s say a manufacturer is using chemically treated UPF rated cotton to make a sleeveless polo shirt. Why would you buy it and not protect your arms?

Specially treated "sun protection fabrics" generally provide additional technological advances in textiles such as:

  • Moisture wicking
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Cooling assistance
  • Breathability

    If any need for anti-uv fabrics and clothing, pls contact DROTEX  for more details. thanks


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