What is the Best Color to Wear for Sun Protection?
by Nick Hammond on Jul 17, 2022
When it comes to sun protection, the color of your clothing matters. Some colors can provide more UV protection than others by reflecting sunlight away from your skin. Choosing the right colors can help keep you safe in the sun. Here are some tips on selecting the best clothing colors for sun protection.
Light Colors Reflect UV Rays Better Than Dark Ones
Light, bright colors tend to be the most effective at blocking UV radiation from reaching your skin. Whites, off-whites, light grays, and pastel shades of pink, yellow, blue, and green reflect the sun's rays away from your body better than darker colors. These lighter colors don't absorb as much UV light, so wearing them means less exposure for your skin.
Darker colors like black, brown, dark red, navy blue, and forest green tend to absorb more UV radiation rather than reflect it. This provides less sun protection for your skin. Dark-colored fabrics let more of the sun's rays penetrate down to your skin's surface.
Fabrics Specifically Engineered to Block UV Rays
Certain fabrics are specially designed and engineered at the material level to block UV rays, regardless of the visible color. These fabrics include tightly woven textiles, as well as clothing made of UV-blocking materials like polyester, nylon, and spandex.
Look for clothing with labels that indicate an ultraviolet protection factor or UPF rating. These ratings work similarly to SPF sunscreen ratings, where higher numbers mean more UV ray protection. A fabric rated UPF 50 blocks 98% of UV radiation, while UPF 25 blocks 96%.
Light and Bright Blue Shades Are Safer Than Dark Navy
Blue is one of the most popular colors for summer clothing and swimwear. When it comes to sun protection, lighter blues are safer choices than dark navy.
Bright sky blue, light turquoise, and soft azure provide moderate UV protection while keeping you cool in the summer heat. Royal blue is another lighter blue shade that blocks more rays than deep navy.
Darker blues like navy, indigo, and cobalt tend to absorb more sunlight instead of reflecting it. These deep blues should be avoided if possible when strong sun exposure is expected.
Bright Reds and Pinks Are Also Good Options
Reds are another color that can be effective for sun protection, depending on the shade. Bright true reds and soft pinks reflect more UV rays and offer better sun protection than darker reds.
Deeper shades of red like burgundy, maroon, and oxblood tend to not offer as much protection from the sun's rays. These darker reds absorb more sunlight just like darker blues.
Yellows, Oranges, and Greens - Go For Light Shades
Butter yellow, lemon yellow, lime green, and soft sage provide UV protection while keeping you visible and colorful. Pastel peach and melon orange are other lighter options that make good sun protection choices.
With yellows, oranges, and greens, watch out for darker shades. Forest green, olive green, mustard yellow, and rust orange tend to not reflect as much sunlight, so they won't provide as much skin protection.
By choosing the right colors, you can stay safer in the sun. Focus on light shades, UV-blocking fabrics, and bright hues like light blue and pink for the best sun protection.
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