sun safety facts

All life is dependent on the sun. The sun is great for our moods and for creating vitamin D, but too much sun can be bad for our health and our children’s health. Too much sun exposure, especially unprotected exposure, can lead to aging skin and skin cancer.  When speaking of sun protection we often think of summer, but sun protection is a year round concern. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays are present.

Younger children have thinner skin and less melanin than older children and adults, therefore they are more at risk from harmful UV light. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it only takes one severe burn to double your child’s chance of getting melanoma later in lifeThe foundation also reports that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Teaching children how to protect their skin can help reduce their chances of skin damage and skin cancer.

How is the UPF rate determined?

The UPF rating system was originally developed in Australia and now the United States uses the system developed by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). The UPF is determined by how much Ultraviolet radiation is passed through a fabric. The UPF measures both UVA and UVB unlike SPF, which only measures UVB. By using a spectoradiometer and an artificial light source, the amount of UV radiation transmitted is determined. A UPF 30 rating means that of 30 units of UV only 1 passes through therefore blocking 96.7% of Ultra Violet radiation (light).

UPF rating system

The testing standard for sun protective fabrics in the United States is the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) Test Method 183. The purpose is to determine the ultraviolet light blocked or transmitted by clothing that intends to be used for UV protection.

UPF Rating

Protection Category

% UV radiation Blocked

UPF 15 - 24

Good

93.3 - 95.9

UPF 25 - 39

Very Good

96.0 - 97.4

UPF 40 - 50+

Excellent

97.5 - 99+

 The factors that can affect the level of UV protection a fabric can provide are:

*  Construction - The tighter the weave or knit the more protection provided.

*  Dyes - The type of dye and its concentration will determine a fabrics UV transmission.

*  Treatments - Chemicals that absorb UV light can be used during production. Also laundry additives can be used when washing clothing at home.

*  Fiber Type - the different types of fibers provide different levels of UV protection. 

*  Stretch - As a product becomes worn it can stretch and provide less UV protection.

*  Wetness - When a fabric becomes wet its ability to disrupt UV light is most often reduced.

*  Condition - As a product becomes worn its UV protection is diminished.

Why UPF Clothing?

Designed with kids and parents in mind, Sun Angels arm sleeves are kid-friendly, fashionable and offer UPF 50+ protection, the best possible rating for protection against potentially harmful UV rays. These easy-to-slip-on arm sleeves offer parents an instant, chemical-free alternative to the often-challenging task of lathering on and re-applying sticky sunblock to a wiggly child. No mess. No fuss. No missing out on the fun for your little angel. UPF clothes and accessories, coupled with sunblock, are a nice option for those areas of the body that are not covered.  Summer clothing usually leaves children’s arms exposed to UV light.  We believe that Sun Angel’s UPF 50+ arm sleeves will help make getting your little ones outside a little bit easier.  Children often have more sensitive skin, which makes UPF clothing options a nice alternative to sunblock.

What is SPF?

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of UVB protection and determined by human sunburn studies in a laboratory. The SPF rating is determined by measuring the amount of the time it would take you to burn wearing sunscreen as compared to not wearing sunscreen.  SPF does not measure UVA (responsible for premature aging of the skin) protection. Sunscreens absorb and reflect UVB light helping to prevent sunburn. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are designed to protect against UVB and UVA light. How long a sunscreen will provide protection can be determined by multiplying the SPF by the amount of time it takes your skin to burn. The American Association of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that a "broad spectrum" sunblock with an SPF of at least 15 that is applied daily to all sun exposed areas, then reapplied every two hours.

Protect your children by following these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Babies under 6 months:

• The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.

For All Other Children:

*  The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.

*  Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

* On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.

*  Be sure to apply enough sunscreen -- about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.

*  Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

*  Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

For More Information:

kidshealth.org

skincancer.org

aad.org -American academy of Dermatology

aap.org - American Academy of Pediatrics

shadefoundation.org