Sun care is a requisite for everyone owing to the growing temperature year on year. This has opened vast avenues for beauty and cosmetics industry to build up business around sun protection, skin care, anti-aging and so on.
The UV radiation from the sunlight that has a wavelength ranging from 10 nm to 400 nm is a part of the light spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun and affects our skin to a large extent.
This makes us aware and protective for our skin and so developments in science cater to formulating sunscreens, lotions, medicines and alternatives to protect against the sun exposure that is the major cause of skin cancer. Science has bestowed upon us a range of products from protective apparel to sunglasses and sunscreens to help protect against UV radiation.
What is though a thing to bother about is that exposure to UV radiation leads to the degradation of a textile and can initiate chemical reactions in polymers that make them breakdown and further leads to the loss of their physical and chemical properties. For example, the elasticity and tensile strength of nylon fabric decrease with the penetration of UV radiation.
But we can rejoice over the latest findings by the manufacturers and retailers in the UK and Europe who are testing items and setting a UPF value of 40 or more as a minimum performance standard and a maximum of 5% UVA transmission for claims of UV protection as required by EN 13758-2.
Test standards to evaluate UV protection of clothing are also being used by other countries and regions. The UPF performance is measured again after multiple wash cycles in order to quantify any reduction of performance and this information is then communicated to the buyer in the information leaflet with the product.
UV fabric manufacturers produce lightweight and breathable adult-wear which is functional as well as fashionable and the common test methods being used in different countries like US, UK, Europe, China and Australia are AATCC 183, BS EN 13758-1, GB/T 18830 and AS/NZS 4399.
Image Source: skincancer.org