10 Wearable Ways People With Lupus Can Protect Themselves From Sun

Many items of clothing you already own may offer some protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Basically, the tighter the weave, the greater the protection. The color makes a difference as well: Darker colors and bright colors tend to absorb more UV radiation than lighter colors.

You can also add protection to your existing clothing with special dyes and other laundry additives that help keep UV rays from penetrating the fabric.

Broad-brimmed hats — with a brim at least three to four inches all the way around — and hats with a neck flap offer more protection than hats with smaller brims or caps with only a brim in front.

Clothing and hats made from special sun-protective fabrics are available at sporting-goods stores and from sun protective clothing companies online.

Although no federal agency regulates sun protective garments (the way the Food and Drug Administration regulates sunscreen), there are nationally recognized standards that manufacturers follow on a voluntary basis.

Clothing designed to be sun-protective will be labeled with a UPF (“ultraviolet protection factor”) number. The amount of UV radiation that can penetrate the garment is based on the fabric’s fiber content, weight, color, and construction. For example, a shirt with a UPF of 50 allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to reach your skin. For the most effective sun protection, look for clothing with a UPF of at least 30. But be aware that the UV protection greatly diminishes when the fabric becomes wet from sweating or swimming.

Take care to purchase the right size, especially elastic items such as leggings — overstretching the fabric will lower the UPF rating.

For better protection choose long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and full-length skirts (as well as broad-brim hats). These items, as well as full-coverage stylish swim clothing, are available at many sporting goods stores, as well as from online merchants.

Sun-protective scarves, wraps, and gloves are readily available in numerous colors and styles.

Sunglasses labeled as “UVA/UVB rating of 100 percent” will give the most protection to your eyelid skin. Choose a large, wraparound-style frame to cover the entire eye area — especially when you’re around water or sand, since a lot of the UV comes from reflected light.

This blog was originally published on Lupus Foundation of America.

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