If you’re concerned about protecting yourself against skin cancer when spending time outdoors, choosing certain pieces of clothing may lower your risk of UV damage.
According to scientists in Spain, cotton that is dyed a deep blue or red offers more UV protection than yellow and other lighter colored shades. The results of the study will be published in the November issue of the ACS’s Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research journal.
The lead researcher of the study Ascension Riva says that there is little scientific information on how color interacts with other factors that determine how much ultraviolet light is blocked at any given time. However, researchers have been able to use computer models that relate the level of UV protection achieved with three fabric dyes that change the UPF of fabrics. Darker-colored fabrics, especially deep blue shades, have the ability to absorb more UV light, while lighter shades such as yellow offer the lowest rates of absorption.
Scientists conclude that this information can help clothing manufacturers make better decisions when they are designing sun-protective clothing. Currently, manufacturers use elements such as zinc oxide to enhance the fiber of the fabric and deflect both UVA and UVB rays.
These fibers can help to protect the skin from sun damage, which in turn slows down the aging process while reducing the risk of skin cancer. Sun protective clothing made with deep blue or red dyes may be the best option for anyone who wants to protect their skin. In addition to wearing sun protective clothing, experts say it’s still important to wear sunscreen underneath clothing, and to reapply it every four to five hours. Dermatologists also recommend applying sunscreen to the face at least every two hours if the individual is not wearing a hat or other protective gear.