Clothing is considered one of the most important tools for photoprotection against harmful solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR). The standard for sun-protective clothing is based on erythema despite other biological effects of UVR on the skin. We analyzed the potential protection against UVR in fabrics destined for summer clothing based on several action spectra. We examined 50 garments classified by type of fabric composition, structure of the fiber yarn and color. The ultraviolet protection factor was calculated based on fabric ultraviolet transmittance corrected for erythema according to the EU standard E-13758 as well as the UVA transmittance of fabrics. UVR protection was also analyzed in base of different action spectra as for previtamin D3, nonmelanoma skin cancer, photoimmunosuppression and photoaging. Most knitted fabrics used for sports T-shirts offered excellent ratings for ultraviolet protection while normal shirts showed very low ratings, particularly against photoaging. The cover is the most influential variable in fabric photoprotection, having an exponential relationship with the UPF. The relation between cover and UVA protection was linearly negative. Information about ultraviolet protection in textiles used for summer clothing should be included in labeling as some types of fabrics, especially those used for shirts, offer very low UVR protection.
© 2014 The American Society of Photobiology.