How to Choose the Best Sun-Protective Clothing - The Ultimate Guide

Learn all about how to choose the best sun-protective clothing for you and your loved ones in UV Skinz's ultimate guide on all you need to know about the best sun protection clothing on the market.
Baby in UV Skinz's sun-protective clothing

There is nothing better than relaxing on the coastline under the sun and enjoying the clear skies during summertime. However, too much UV exposure can cause skin damage, premature aging, and even skin cancer! One way you can protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays more effectively is by wearing sun-protective clothing.

Sun-protective clothes are designed to have a UPF rating, which means they block UV radiation. Today, we go over why sun-protective clothing is so important as well as the best UPF clothing items to choose from - keep reading because we're going to share our favorite sun-protective swimwear and clothing items for the entire family!

What Is UPF Clothing?

First things first, what is UPF clothing? UPF clothing stands for Ultraviolet Protective Factor and is how we measure how effective clothes are at blocking UVA and UVB rays. Often people confuse UPF with SPF, they are not the same thing. SPF is used to measure the level of UV radiation blocked by sunscreen.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) indicates how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric allows to reach your skin. 

Sun-protective clothing should have a UPF rating of at least 30 in order to be effective. UPFs of 30 to 49 typically give enough coverage, and UPFs of 50+ offer the best protection.

What's the Difference Between UPF Clothing and Sun-Protective Clothing? 

UPF clothing offers ultraviolet protection from the sun, which means it can be used interchangeably with sun-protective clothing. However, here's the number one distinction between these two terms: UPF clothing is sun-protective clothing but not all sun-protective clothing is UPF clothing. 

When buying sun-protective clothing, look out for a high UPF rating (we only offer UPF 50+ clothing and swimwear in our shop, which is the best rating) and make sure the clothes/swimwear have also been third-party tested for effectiveness. 

Why Should You Wear Sun-Protective Clothing?

UV rays from the sun can lead to skin cancer, severe sunburn, and skin aging, which is why it's so important to wear sun-protective clothing with a high UPF rating.

Young babies also can't wear sunscreen and their skin is much more sensitive to the sun. Protect your little one by putting him or her into a sun-protective baby swimsuit. To learn more about how to care for your newborn while out in the sun, be sure to check out our new mom's guide to preparing your newborn for the great outdoors. 

How to Choose Sun-Protective Clothing

When it comes time to choose sun-protective clothing, take the following into consideration:

  • Choose sun-protective clothing with a UPF rating of 50+.
  • Opt for denser or thicker fabrics.
  • Find UPF clothing or swimwear in darker colors for more UV protection.
  • Choose a higher quality fabric that won't fall apart after being in saltwater or chlorine. 
  • Review the manufacturing process and if the sun-protective clothing has been third party tested. 
How to choose sun protective clothing list


Keeping the following points in mind can help you pick sun-protective clothing that best blocks out UV rays.


Sun Protective-Clothing: Ultimate Summer Checklist

It is best to buy the essential sun-protective clothing and swimwear items this summer to make sure that you and your family are protected from the sun's harmful rays. Here's our ultimate summer checklist to get you started:

UPF Swimsuits

If you intend to swim and be outside a lot this summer, you should invest in a swimsuit with a UPF rating to keep yourself safe from the sun. 

Beach Towel

Wrap yourself in a soft, sand-free sun protective towel that will gently dry you off and can also be used over your shoulders to keep your upper body sun safe and shaded. 

UPF Dresses and Cover-Ups

Wear UPF clothes, such as UPF dresses and cover-ups that cover as much skin as possible so you can enjoy outdoor activities without getting sunburnt. 


Make sure you have a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on hand.

Sun Hat

It's best to get a hat with a wide-brim sun hat that will keep the light off your face. By wearing a sun hat, you can avoid sunburns and also premature sun aging. 

UV Neck and Face Shields

For those extra sunny days, keep yourself fully covered with a UPF neck/face shield. Our UV face shields are made from buttery soft fabric and are chlorine and salt-water resistant.

Sun-Protective Clothing Frequently Asked Questions

What Colors Are the Best to Wear for Sun Protection?

Darker shades capture more UV than lighter shades. While bright colors, such as red, can also absorb UV radiation, the darker the color, the better the protection.

How Do You Test Clothing for UV Protection?

It is not possible to test UPF at home without the proper equipment. However, the simplest way to determine whether your apparel is UPF-protected is to hold it up to the light. It will not provide appropriate sun protection if it is clear and transparent. Also, you can research a company to see if their UPF clothing has been tested. 

UV Skinz's UPF clothing is not made with any chemicals or lotions. The fabrics we use have been rigorously tested and are rated in accordance with AATCC183, ASTM26544, and ASTM6603, the highest standards for UV fabric testing.

Does UPF Wash Out of Clothing?

This depends on the UPF fabric quality, how worn it is, as well as how you cared for the UPF clothing item. If you care well for your UPF clothing and purchased high-quality UPF clothing in the first place, your sun-protective clothing should be in great condition for a while. We'd say on average 2 to 5 years. 

If you purchased UPF clothing with chemicals in it, those chemicals can get washed out over time in 30 washes or so. We don't add chemicals to our UPF clothing and swimwear here. 

Also, do note that UPF clothing that is faded or stretched out will let in more UV radiation that it did when it was first purchased

Is Sunscreen Better than Sun-Protective Clothing?

Clothing with a UPF of 50 or higher provides more protection than most sunscreen; however, we still recommend using s broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 in the event you aren't going to wear a sun-protective clothing item, such as if you don't want to go surfing with a sun hat on. 

Where to Buy Sun-Protective Clothing Online

Wearing sun-protective clothing allows you and your loved ones to enjoy the sun without the risk of sunburns and skin cancer. For sun-protective clothing and swimwear, the entire family will love, check out UV Skinz's selection of women's UPF bestsellers and men's UPF bestsellers, they're our most loved UPF clothing items, and they're selling fast!