The Best UPF Clothing for Maximum Sun Protection 

All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Sunscreen is a year-round necessity, but even if you’re no stranger to the best application techniques, you may still be missing a step in your sun-protection routine: UPF clothing. Thanks to specially woven fabric, these pieces act as an extra layer of defense when you’re spending time outside. (And some of them also happen to be really cute.) 

So before you pack your carry-on or hit the trail, it’s worth looking into the best UPF clothing. Find everything you need to know from a dermatologist below, then shop a few of our favorites.

What does UPF mean?

UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor, which means that it measures a garment’s ability to block your skin from all UV rays. According to Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s dermatology department in New York, it’s a close cousin of your sunscreen’s SPF, or sun protection factor, rating. But there’s one key difference: SPF only applies to UVB rays, while UPF applies to both UVA and UVB rays. (UVA is linked to skin aging, while UVB is associated with sunburns, per the Skin Cancer Foundation.)

Like SPF, UPF represents how much UV light reaches your skin using a numeric value, so a UPF rating of 50 means that only 2% (or 1/50th) of the sun’s rays make it through the fabric. Although only certain pieces of apparel are specifically tested and marketed for this ability, “all clothing gives some degree of physical protection from UV light,” Dr. Zeichner says. “Typically, tightly woven fabrics provide a greater level of protection. If you hold your fabric up to the sun and light passes through, it is unlikely that it will provide much protection. For example, white linen gives virtually no protection, especially if it is wet.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *