The sun is the ultimate life-giver. But too much sun can do you harm. Ultraviolet rays (UV rays) in particular can cause lasting damage to eyes and skin. The damage can be caused earlier or later, depending on your skin type. On the other hand, we need exposure to the sun to produce vitamin D, which is, for example, important for bone development. However, do not forget that babies and children only have little or no protection and should therefore only enjoy limited exposure to direct sunlight. It takes until about the age of 15 before the human body develops full protection against harmful UV rays. But even then, this UV protection is only effective for a limited period of time – depending on your skin type, this could be just a few minutes – when exposed to direct sunlight outdoors.
What protects me from over-exposure to UV rays?
When sunbathing, we normally use sunscreen with UV protection. But even the most powerful of these – known as sunblock – only provide a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50. This gets washed off when you are in the water or gets rubbed off when you are drying yourself, and must be re-applied several times to ensure long-term protection. Sunshades or awnings only provide limited protection from indirect or reflected sunlight.
That is why dermatologists recommend that you wear clothes covering your body as sun protection. Long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt and headgear with as wide a brim as possible are all useful, while children should wear neck protection as well. The colour and design of clothing is important too. Dark colours provide a higher level of protection than light colours. In general, denser material provides better protection against UV rays. Synthetic fibres therefore have a higher UV protection factor than products made from natural fibres.
Additionally, you should apply sun cream with as high a UV protection factor as possible to any uncovered body areas. You should also use a sunshade for extra protection for yourself and particularly for small children. Make use of the combination of clothing, sunshade and sun cream.
How can you recognize modern UV-protective textiles?
The best way is to choose textiles that guarantee a high level of UV protection. Check whether a textile has been awarded a UPF (Ultra Violet Protection Factor), and which level was awarded. This helps you to see to what extent a textile offers protection from sunlight.
UV-protective textiles provide extremely effective protection from UV rays. Depending on the basis, they can provide a protection factor (UPF) of up to 80, which would allow you to spend the whole day outside without any problems.
“When determining a reliable UPF for the consumer, the special challenges facing sunscreen textiles during use must be taken into account,” emphasises Silke Heidt, head of UV protection testing at Hohenstein. That is why we recommend that you wear modern UV textiles, tested to the UV STANDARD 801, to ensure your safety when out in the sun.
Textiles have been tested using the UV STANDARD 801 for 20 years. This provides effective prevention, as the textiles are also tested when wet, stretched and used – under realistic conditions – as part of the UV STANDARD 801 test procedure. This helps us to guarantee that you can enjoy the sun to the fullest, without having to worry. Enjoy the summer with these tips and pieces of advice from Hohenstein.