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UPF or SPF?

Clothing is worn to warm us when it’s cold, or help us stay cool when it’s hot, express who we are (or who we want to be), and shield us from rain, snow, wind and even the sun. Clothing can protect your skin against the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, but not all clothing provides equal protection. The fiber, tightness of the fabric’s weave, amount of skin covered and even color all affect the amount of protection they provide. So, does clothing provide UPF or SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is the rating mostly used for sunscreens and other sun-protective products. In the United States, fabric does not use this factor to rate its sun protective level. It measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden. For example, if you tend to burn after 20 minutes in the sun without sun protection, an SPF 30 sunscreen protects for about 10 hours. This is assuming you apply sunscreen correctly (yes there’s a right and wrong way to apply sunscreen!).  Not all SPF sunscreens or lotions are created equal, most are comprised mostly of chemicals known to be hormone disrupters and even carcinogens. Also, intensity and wavelength distribution of UVB rays vary throughout the day and by location. And that calculation does not apply to UVA rays. UVA rays are long enough to reach skin’s dermal layer, damaging collagen and elastic tissue, and where the cells that stimulate skin darkening are found. That’s why UVA rays are considered the dominant tanning rays, and what tanning beds use. “Tanning” is really a sign of DNA damage, because the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent the further injury, which can lead to the cell mutations that trigger skin cancer. In other words, that healthy-looking tan really isn’t healthy. 

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is the standard used to measure the effectiveness of sun protective fabrics. UPF indicates how much of the sun's UV radiation is able to penetrate the fabric and reach the skin. Only clothes with a UPF of 15-50+ may be labeled as sun-protective. A fabric with a rating of 50+ will block 98% or more of the sun's UV rays. This means the fabric will reduce your skin's UV radiation exposure significantly, because only 2%, at most, of the UV rays will get through.

Also, like regular clothing, some sun-protective clothing may lose its effectiveness if pulled too tight or stretched out, if it becomes damp or wet, or if it is washed and worn repeatedly.  

The éclipse Difference is in our fabric. éclipse performance apparel was developed by our owner and founder, Elise Champe, a physical therapist looking for a more versatile and fashionable way to protect the vulnerable skin of the hands and arms of her patients (most skin cancers are found on the face, neck, arms and hands).   Our UPF 50+ performance apparel features high performance 37.5°® fabric technology. The embedded particles in this fabric increase the surface area by 800%, which increases evaporation (therefore cooling) and provides greater sun protection. 37.5°® Technology helps keep your body at the ideal core temperature of 37.5° Celsius, and helps keep the microclimate next to your skin at the ideal relative humidity of 37.5%. When you’re hot, patented active particles embedded in the material remove sweat in the vapor stage before liquid sweat forms, cooling you down. When you’re cold, those same active particles trap your energy to help warm you up. It’s one of the many wonderful properties of our fabric because it’s more than just sun protection.

éclipse Sun Protection Clothing offers the industry’s highest UPF (50+ - nearly 100%!) and UV protection, wet or dry, and are cooler than bare skin or any other sun protection apparel on the market. Best of all, because the fabric technology is embedded in the fabric we use, the UPF 50+ will ALWAYS be there for the life of the fabric, no matter how much you wash and wear your éclipse! 

 


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