Do UV Rays Penetrate Through Clothing?

hi im a 25 yr old male and have been good with my skin care using spf whenever im outside facing the sun for yrs now. what i am now paranoid about is that uv rays penetrating my curtains and clothing. i feel like all my hard work in protecting "exposed skin" has gone down the drain. am i really expected to put on a gluggy sunscreen under my clothing?. and as for my bedroom. i have coral colour curtains which do cover the sun and are always closed but they do let natural daylight in but not sun

Doctor Answers 2

UV penetrates clothing

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Clothing does let in UV light and there are several companies that make clothing that greatly decrease this amount. Quick dry and dry sunscreens should not leave you feeling sticky. Window films are rated by light transmission, heat prevention, and UV blocking abilities. UV rating is the most important for you (melasma) and there are films that block >99% of UV rays that are almost clear. Ultraviolet light has 2 major classifications of wavelengths: Ultraviolet A and B. UV B causes burns basal cell and squamous skin cancer and is blocked by glass. However UV A passed through and causes tanning, premature aging/wrinkling and age spots of the skin and increases the risk of developing Melanoma. Bottom line: use sunscreen whether windows or not. Generally a SPF over 30 is recommended. There are several powder sunscreens that work well.

Consider Sun Protective Clothing

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This is a great question. Few people realize that sun penetrates your clothing.  A t-shirt provides an SPF of about 7 and a wet t-shirt provides and SPF of about 2-3. Sun protective clothing is a great way to practice 'safe sun' -- that is, enjoy the benefits of a wonderful sunny day, but avoid the harmful effects of the sun. The well known clothing dye company, Rit, also makes an additive that you can pour into the washing machine that impregnates your regular clothing with sun protective properties.

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.