THE UPF COLLECTION TECHNICAL WORKSHEET
Pick up your UPF today at The Playground Dive Shop
We all know why we should protect ourselves from the sun. At its most basic, a sunburn hurts. And then it itches, and then it unattractively peels. But there are far more serious long-term consequences to exposing your unprotected skin to the sun. Start with premature skin aging and wrinkling. Also, UV (ultraviolet) radiation has been identified as a proven human carcinogen by both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization, and it is considered the main cause of numerous skin cancers. What’s more, UV radiation can suppress your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off disease.
Divers Need Even More Protection
So if you’re going to be outside, you really need to protect yourself. And this is especially true if you’re at the beach, or in the water. The sun’s rays reflect off water, as well as off beach sand, and even off the tiled surfaces of a swimming pool deck. Also, when you’re in the water you often don’t feel the heat of the sun on your skin, so you might not realize your bare skin is burning. You can avoid damaging your skin by being sun-safe. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends limiting UV exposure by wearing special sun-protective clothing. This is clothing that is designed specifically to prevent UV radiation from penetrating the fabric and damaging your skin.\
T-SHIRT OR T-FLEX?
You’re in the tropics, going diving, the sun is shining, and your arms and shoulders are beginning to burn. You can reach for a T-shirt, but that’s really no protection. That’s because not all clothing is created equal. The tightness of the weave, the weight, the type of fiber, the color and the amount of skin the clothing covers all affect the amount of protection a garment provides. What the clothing is made of matters. Fabrics such as unbleached cotton contain special pigments called lignins that act as UV absorbers. High-luster polyesters and even thin, satiny silk can be highly protective because they reflect radiation. Even if the piece of clothing has a good UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), what you do while wearing it can also make a difference. If the fabric gets stretched, it will lose some of its protective capability because it becomes thinner and more transparent to light. And once it gets wet, it can lose up to 50% of its UPF.
The smarter solution, for protection from the sun and for fashion-forward styling, is to wear a SCUBAPRO rash guard.
UPF COLLECTION: Designed to Perform
• The Best Fabrics: when it comes to blocking UV rays, T-shirt-type cotton is among the worst, while polyester and nylon are among the best. SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards are made from a choice of polyester, nylon or a nylon/spandex blend.
• The Smartest Designs: The more skin you can cover, the better. SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards come in short sleeve, long sleeve and also full-body styling, with high collars to protect the vulnerable neck area.
• The Highest UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) Rating: UPF ratings measure the amount of UV radiation that a fabric blocks. SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards have been tested for their effectiveness at blocking UV rays. All are considered to be in the “Excellent” protection category.
UPF Ratings: What it Means
The sun produces two primary UV rays that are problematic for your skin: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, UVB rays burn the superficial layers. Both damage skin cells, contribute to premature aging of the skin, and cause skin cancer.
UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) and SPF (Sun Protection Factor) are both standards used to measure the effects of the sun on your skin. However, they employ different approaches.
SPF ratings are indications of the level of skin reddening; they are used primarily to measure sunscreen.
UPF ratings indicate how much of the sun’s UV radiation a fabric is able to block, and, in turn, how long a person wearing UV protective clothing can remain exposed to the sun without suffering skin damage.
A typical T-shirt has a UPF of 5 to 7 when dry, and less than half that when wet. Your average rash guard designed with UV blocking properties normally has a UPF rating of 20 to 30 when dry, and less when wet.
All of SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards have a UV rating of UPF 50 or above. A garment with a rating of UPF 50 blocks 98% of UV radiation. However, even these specially designed UV-blocking rash guards lose a bit of their sun protection when they get wet.
That’s what makes SCUBAPRO’s new UPF 80 T-Flex rash guards so special. These top-of-line rash guards not only block out 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation, the highest UV protection rating available in the industry, they provide this protection whether they are wet or dry.
How Clothing is Tested
To determine the UV protection of dive wear, standardized measuring methods are used, normally on dry and/or new gear. UPF ratings above 50 are considered to be in the “Excellent” Protection Category. All of SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection are rated 50 or above.
• UPF 50 equates to 1/50, which means only 1 unit of UV out of 50 is able to penetrate the fabric, or 49 out of 50 are blocked. 49 is 98% of 50. So SCUBAPRO’s UPF 50 rash guards block 98% of UV.
Going Above & Beyond
However, SCUBAPRO’s new top-of-the-line T-Flex rash guards take UV protection to the next level. This category of dive wear is tested using the UV Standard 801which tests fabrics in their “worst-case” scenario. In other words, in real world conditions of use – wet and stretched — two stress factors that can adversely affect a fabric’s protective qualities. Garments that pass these stringent tests are labeled with a coveted UV Standard 801 UPF 80 tag, assuring users of the ultimate in quality and UV protection. This means, wet or dry, you have the peace of mind knowing we’ve got you protected.
• UPF 80 equates to 1/80, with only 1 unit of UV out of 80 able to penetrate the fabric. Or, 79 of 80 units are blocked. 79 is about 99% of 80. So SCUBAPRO’s UPF 80 T-Flex blocks about 99% of UV.
So How Does All This Translate into Time in the Sun?
• Skin Types differ, but if we focused on a diver with Skin Type I (very fair skin, blonde/red hair, blue eyes), wearing no protection, she could remain in the sun for only 5 to 10 minutes before starting to burn.
• If this person was wearing a basic T-shirt (UPF 5), she could stay in the sun for between 25 and 50 minutes before starting to burn.
• If she were to switch to a basic rash guard (UPF 20), her safe in-the-sun time could be extended to approximately 1.5 to 3 hours.
• However, if she were to wear a SCUBAPRO UPF 50 Rash Guard, her time in the sun could be more than doubled, up to approximately 8 hours.
• Even better, wearing a SCUBAPRO UPF 80 T-Flex Rash Guard, wet or dry, she would have the peace of mind knowing her skin was protected for up to approximately 13 hours.
Clearly, what you wear makes a difference.
T-shirt: 25 to 50 minutes of protection.
T-Flex: 13 hours of protection – wet or dry.
When it comes to your skin, which are you going to choose? Pick-up your UPF at The Playground Dive Shop.