Do Sun Shirts Really Work?

Do Sun Shirts Really Work?

by Nick Hammond on Aug 20, 2022

Sun shirts, also known as UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) shirts, are specialized shirts designed to block UV radiation from reaching your skin. But do these sun protective shirts really deliver on their claims? Let's examine how sun shirts work, their benefits, and if they provide the sun protection they advertise.

Understanding How Sun Shirts Work

Sun shirts are constructed from fabrics rated for their ultraviolet protection factor or UPF. The UPF rating indicates how much UV radiation is blocked by the fabric. Typical sun protective fabrics used in these shirts include polyester, nylon, and spandex blends. The fabrics are tightly woven, often with a raised pattern, which limits the amount of UV light that can penetrate the shirt. Many sun shirt fabrics are also treated with UV blocking chemicals to further enhance their protective properties. With a combination of dense weave, stretch, and UV treatments, sun shirts are able to achieve UPF ratings of 50 or higher, meaning they block over 98% of harmful UV radiation.

Why Wear a Sun Shirt?

There are many benefits to wearing a sun shirt as part of your sun safe attire. Sun shirts provide excellent protection for the shoulders, back, and chest - areas that are hard to consistently cover with sunscreen. They are also very convenient for outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and water sports where reapplying lotion can be problematic. Parents often use sun shirts to protect babies and children who have delicate skin that burns easily. Sun shirts are an especially good choice for those with sun sensitivities or a history of skin cancer. The UV protection sun shirts provide may help prevent long-term skin damage and lower skin cancer risk with cumulative use over time.

Testing the Sun Protection Claims of Sun Shirts

But do sun shirts really deliver the level of UV protection they claim? Extensive testing shows sun protective clothing like upf shirts can effectively block both UVA and UVB rays when made from sun protective fabrics. Lab tests confirm that sun shirts meet or exceed their advertised UPF rating, even after being washed, proving their UV protection lasts over time. Real-world testing on human subjects also verifies that sun shirts prevent sunburns and limit UV exposure during hours of sun exposure compared to regular t-shirts. Overall, scientific evidence strongly supports the UV protection claims of sun shirts.

Recommendations for Getting the Most Out of Sun Shirts

To maximize the sun protection you get from a sun shirt, look for shirts rated UPF 50+ which block over 98% of UV rays. Darker colors such as black, navy and dark red tend to provide higher UV protection than light colors. For full protection, wear your sun shirt with a broad brim hat and UV blocking sunglasses. Ensure your sun shirt fits snugly, as very loose fits may allow UV light to seep in. Combining a tight weave sun shirt with shade and sunscreen on exposed skin gives the best all-around defense against sun damage.


Based on independent testing and verification, sun shirts are an effective form of sun protection that can significantly limit your exposure to harmful UV radiation. When worn correctly and combined with other sun safe strategies, sun shirts do in fact deliver on their claims to protect your skin from the sun's damaging effects. Choosing sun shirts can be a simple way to stay safe in the sun for yourself and your family.

When you purchase from MANG you join a movement of people who are banded together to protect, preserve and restore our ecosystems. The future depends upon stewards like you stepping up to the cause to protect our Earth today.

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