There’s no better way to enjoy a summer day than by splashing in your pool with your family and friends! However, did you know it can take as little as 10-15 minutes of bright sun to get a bad sunburn? And since a sunburn is not only painful, but damages your skin, causes wrinkles, and can cause Melanoma skin cancer, figuring out a way to protect your skin from the sun while still being free to enjoy your pool is paramount.
Slathering up with sunscreen can be effective, but most people don’t use it in a way that provides the maximum protection. To really be effective, it needs to be applied about 30 minutes before you go into the
SPF vs UPF Sun Protection
Just like how sunscreen uses those familiar SPF (Sun Protection Factor) ratings, sun-protective clothing uses a similar scale. When it comes to clothes, you’re looking for the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. Unlike its sunscreen counterpart, which typically is tested to just block the sun’s UVB rays, UPF clothing blocks both UVA and UVB rays. When you purchase a UPF swimsuit or clothing, the label will show you the level of sun protection.
*UPF 15-20 is “Good” sun protection. This is the lowest UPF rating you can buy on clothing. Anything lower than 15 is not considered to protect against UV rays. For an idea, a standard, lightweight summer t-shirt has a UPF rating of 5.
**UPF 25-35 is “Very Good” sun protection. A rating of 25 means it blocks out 96% UV radiation
***UPF 35-50+ is “Excellent” sun protection. A rating of 50 means it blocks out 98% UV radiation. UPF ratings stop after 50, but 50+ means it blocks even more than 98%.
How UPF Clothing Works
It’s a combination of material and the tightness of the thread weave that allows UPF clothing to block ultraviolet rays. The fabrics, usually a nylon blend, actually have some of the active ingredients (like zinc oxide) that you find in sunscreen, but it doesn’t wash out. Over time, the protection fades and very worn or threadbare clothes should be replaced. Check the labels of the brands you’re interested in, but typically, UPF clothing is rated to last through approximately 2 years of normal wear.
Keep in mind that UPF clothing replaces the need for sunscreen, but only for the parts of your skin it covers. You’ll still want to slather sunscreen over your face, neck, and any other exposed skin. This means, for the most protection, you’ll want to swim with a UPF one-piece suit, long trunks, or a rash guard, at least during the sun’s peak hours during the day. You can always don your favorite bikini for evening swims!
Now that you’re in the know when it comes to protecting yourself against the sun’s rays, would you like to wear that UPF swimsuit in your own pool instead of the city pool? Check out our inground and above ground pools for inspiration for your own backyard!