Photo courtesy of @athleta.
Photo courtesy of @athleta.

Why UPF Clothing Matters, Plus 5 Must-Have Picks from Athleta

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2 min read

We’ve become slightly obsessed with slathering our skin in sun block but are we considering the parts of our body that are only shielded by our clothing? The sun’s rays can actually penetrate through layers of unprotected clothing—I don’t think I’m the only one who’s ever accidentally gotten sunburned through a white t-shirt, am I? Enter UPF clothing, pieces with the Ultraviolet Protection Factor, a rating system used for apparel that indicates how effectively fabrics shield skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. The higher the UPF, the lower the amount of radiation that passes through the fabric. So, a UPF of 50 means one-fiftieth of the sun’s UV rays reach the skin.

If you spend extended time outside, whether it’s hiking, biking, paddle-boarding or lounging, paying attention to the fabrics you’re wearing can help combat the negative side of absorbing UV rays. UV radiation (UV) is classified as a “complete carcinogen” because it can cause genetic mutation in cells, and can both initiate and promote tumors. The NAtional Institutes of Health also says that excessive exposure to UV “carries profound health risks, including atrophy, pigmentary changes, wrinkling and malignancy.”

Thankfully, limiting our exposure is completely within our control. By remaining in the shade and choosing clothing that helps block the damaging rays, we can basically help prevent ourselves from UV’s negative side effects. And thanks to Athleta, we can still look stylish while we do it.

5 Versatile UPF Clothing Picks from Athleta

The Classic Legging: Chaturanga Tight

A go-to yoga or studio tight with sweat-wicking, UPF 50 protection.

The Chic, Everyday Dress: Santorini Reversible Dress

The empire waist is flattering on all body types, and hangs just right, while protecting you with UPF 50 fabric.

The Cozy Zippie: Malabar Hoodie

Perfect for travel, this zippie folds down to nearly nothing, and emerges unwrinkled, thanks to its UPF 50+ cotton-nylon-elastene blend.

The Tailored Blazer: Cosmic Blazer

Proof that protective clothing doesn’t have to feel stiff or too stretchy, this blazer dresses up for work and down for drinks.

Comfy Work Trouser: Skyline Pant

This featherweight pant is ideal for travel, but works just as well moving to and from the office, gym, grocery or dinner.

Need more sun protection? Check out our safe sunscreen guide. And then browse our top WELL travel picks for your end-of-summer vacation. 

About The Author

Nicolle Mackinnon

Nicolle Mackinnon

Stemming from her personal journey to treat her celiac disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Nicolle serves as a writer and editor for several leading publications helping women understand how important, stylish and fun it is to commit to clean beauty. By way of her contributions to No More Dirty Looks, Thoughtfully Magazine and numerous beauty brands' blogs, websites and social media, Nicolle has become a trusted voice on the correlation between health and beauty. Follow her journey on Instagram and connect with her via nicollemackinnon.com.