A woman trimming in her Farmers Defense UPF 50+ sleeves.

Embrace the Sun Safely: Your Ultimate Guide to UPF Apparel

Embrace the Sun Safely: Your Ultimate Guide to UPF Apparel

Sunlight is fantastic for growing plants and warming our spirits. There are few things quite as good as basking in those warm spring sun rays after the chilly winter season. But like all good things, there can easily be too much of it. Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted from the sun can lead to sunburn, premature skin aging, and even skin cancer. 

While the risk of sun exposure seems almost unavoidable, it's crucial to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Discover the protective power of UPF clothing in this essential guide.

A woman enjoying the sun in her Farmers Defense UPF 50+ sun protection apparel.

Understanding UPF: A Gardener's Best Friend

What is UPF?

UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, measures how well fabric shields your skin from UV rays. A UPF 50+ rating means the material blocks about 98% of UV rays, offering comprehensive protection against both UVB and UVA rays.  

Who Needs UPF Clothing?

Absolutely everyone, especially gardeners. UPF clothing is a critical defense for anyone spending time outdoors, regardless of skin type. 

A mother and daughter enjoying the outdoors in UPF 50+ sun protection.

What Does The UPF Rating Really Mean?

All fabrics, in essence, have some level of UPF, but not all fabrics are created equal.

You might think your regular cotton shirt does the job, but did you know it has a UPF of only about 5-7? That's where Farmers Defense Sleeves boast a UPF 50+ rating, making them approximately 600-900% more effective at blocking UV rays than a standard cotton shirt. 

Dorie Chevlen, in her NYT Wirecutter article explains that the denser and thicker the fabric, the better. But while thick fabrics may be a viable solution in the short term, working in the garden often requires long stretches of sun exposure. This is where synthetic fabrics really shine.

A woman wearing a UPF 50+ sun hat and protective sleeves.

In contrast to thick fabrics, with less breathability—often leaving us sweaty and uncomfortable. Synthetics like polyester and nylon blends allow the same protection, or greater, in a lightweight, moisture-wicking material.

All Farmers Defense Sleeves and Sun Hats are made with REPREVE® recycled material made from recycled plastic bottles. 

Choosing the Best UPF Fabrics

The Stars of UPF Materials

Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester excel in UPF protection. They're durable, lightweight, and provide consistent shielding from the sun.

Colors and UPF Ratings

Darker and brighter colors enhance UV absorption, offering better protection. Lighter hues are less effective in blocking UV rays.

Maintaining UPF Effectiveness

Wetness, wear, and stretch can reduce a fabric's UPF rating. Proper care and choosing durable materials like polyester help maintain their protective qualities.

Broadening Your Sun Protection Strategy

More Than Clothes

Complement your UPF apparel with UV-blocking sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and sunscreen for exposed skin areas. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours.

 A man doing hard physical labor wearing his UPF 50+ protective sleeves.

UPF vs. SPF: Understanding the Difference

UPF and Fabric

UPF indicates the UV radiation level that reaches your skin through fabric. It provides a comprehensive shield against both UVA and UVB rays.

SPF and Skin

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is related to sunscreen and mainly protects against UVB rays. It requires regular reapplication for effective protection.

Studies suggest that if it typically takes you 15 minutes to burn without sunscreen and you apply an SPF 10, it will take ten times longer (2.5  hours) to burn in the sun.

While this is heavily researched and studied science, there are many variables at play, so keeping a high level of SPF on with regular reapplications would be the best bet.  

The Importance of Skin Protection in Gardening

The Cumulative Effect of Sunburns

Repeated sun exposure and sunburns can lead to serious skin issues and heightened allergy reactions. UPF clothing offers a continuous barrier against these risks.

Sun Protection: Beyond the Clothing 

Having a wide range of defenses against the sun is the safest bet when digging in the garden. To combine sunglasses with UV protection, wide-brimmed hats, UPF clothing, and sunscreen applied where fabrics can’t cover is essential. 

While UPF clothing ranks better in protection, there’s still the need for sunscreen where clothing often doesn’t reach. 

Your Sun-Safe Gardening Partners at Farmers Defense

Our UPF Gardening Gear

Explore our range of UPF clothing, including protective sleeves, gloves, and neck gaiters, tailored for gardeners. Our products ensure comfort, style, and unrivaled sun protection.

Join the Sun-Smart Gardening Community

With Farmers Defense UPF apparel, you're equipped to enjoy gardening without worrying about sun damage. Protect yourself and nurture your garden under the sun safely and stylishly!