You may think that you are unable to tan or even get sunburnt while wearing clothes when you are working or playing in the UV rays, but the fact is that these rays can penetrate through many different types of materials.
Quite simply, it is extremely easy to tan or get sunburnt while you are wearing clothes. Even though clothing materials are made from a variety of fabrics, you should not rely on just wearing clothing as your only defense against sunburn.
Although UVB rays are not able to penetrate through a material, UVA rays most certainly can. This can either cause a desirable tan or if you are not responsible, a painful sunburn! In the same breath, you can obtain a tan even if you are fully clothed and use a low SPF sunscreen
In short, tanning whilst wearing clothes is possible, but you should always make sure to be careful and use a low-level SPF sunscreen to protect yourself from burning.
Clothing Does Not Protect You from The Sun
While most clothing materials offer a protection level of around 4-7SPF, this is not good enough if you are not planning on getting sunburnt.
If you are regularly in the sun, even when fully clothed it is important to acknowledge that you can still easily obtain a certain degree of sunburn if you are not careful. This can lead to skin damage and accelerate the effects of aging.
Now that you know that it is possible to tan while wearing clothing you must remain vigilant to not damage your skin permanently. Remember that you can even get sunburnt on cloudy days, so always be prepared if you are going to spend a significant amount of time outdoors.
Dark Clothing: Exposing the Myth
If you think that wearing darker clothes in the middle of summer is going to attract the sun, it is going to do quite the opposite. Although darker clothes may make you feel hotter when out in the sun the truth is that black clothing protects the skin more than white and pastel colors do.
Darker colors can absorb UV rays, therefore, reducing the dangers of overexposing your skin to harmful UV rays. Clothing that is made to protect the skin from the sun is more often than not made using darker dyes.
Factors That Can Affect Tanning Through Your Clothes
Now that you know you can get tanned or sunburnt while still wearing clothes, you are probably wondering how this is possible. Bear in mind that different types of fabric offer different protection levels when it comes to filtering out any UV rays
Factors that play a role in determining the protection levels of clothing and fabrics can be:
# 1 The Denier Rating
The Denier rating is used to determine the thickness of fibers in different types of fabric. It can essentially be described as a unit of density that is based on the length and the weight of yarns or fibers.
This rating was designed to work out how much protection certain types of materials give you when you are exposed to the sun. Fabrics such as canvas, denim, and wool give much more protection against the sun as compared to fabrics such as cotton and silk.
Another good way to check the protection levels of the material you are wearing is to hold it up against the sunlight. If you can see through the fabric, then this means that its protection levels are quite low. This is good news for avid tanners but bad news if they don’t use a light UV sunscreen to avoid getting sunburnt.
# 2 What the Fabric Contains
This is a pertinent factor that affects how UV rays penetrate any item of clothing. Let take for example a dress that is made from pure unbleached cotton. This piece of clothing contains lignin which is used to absorb any UV radiation and give a higher protection rate than that of a material such as cotton that has been bleached.
Other materials such as silk also have higher protection rates as they can reflect most of the radiation away from the skin. This is also true of fabrics that have been treated with dyes or chemicals.
# 3 Loose Versus Tight Fitting Clothing
If you want to protect yourself from the rays of the sun, then it is advisable to wear loose-fitting clothing. Wearing tight-fitting clothing can cause the fabric to stretch and leave big enough spaces for the UV radiation to pass straight through onto your skin.
Although for a tanner this may seem like an ideal situation, it can cause patches of red skin and tan lines if a light SPF sunscreen is not used.
Types of UV Radiation Explained
The effects of UVA rays do not appear straight away. UVA rays are long-wavelength rays and can penetrate through materials and clouds on a cloudy day and are so strong that they can reflect off surfaces such as water, sand, and even glass and fabric.
UVB rays are stronger than UVA rays but do not penetrate clothing materials as much as UVA rays do. They can, however, cause sunburn and are directly responsible for getting burnt when tanning in the sun.
UVB rays mostly penetrate bare skin, but it is still possible for them to get through certain materials and cause a tan or sunburn.
Tanning Through Clothing Q&As
# 1 Read the Label
A lot of clothing has a UPF rating on the tag. This is used to indicate what type of protection the clothing is going to give you against any UV rays.
# 2 Should I Still Wear Sunscreen Under My Clothes?
It is always a good idea to wear a layer of sunscreen when you are going to be spending time out in the sun. If you want to tan, then use a low SPF sunscreen and reapply as needed.
Many brands of make-up and moisturizers also contain a certain amount of SPF. You will still be able to get a tan, but at least you will not burn!
# 3 Can I Make My Clothes More UV Resistant?
If you are totally against getting sunburnt and are not interested in getting a tan, then there are other ways in which to make your clothing more UV resistant. Many laundry detergents can increase the UV protection of your clothing.
Apart from clothing that is specifically made to protect against the sun’s rays, most other clothing will not block enough of the sun to fully protect you against sunburn.
Things to remember if you don’t want to get sunburnt while wearing clothes in the sun:
- Don’t forget that darker clothes offer more protection from sunburn than clothes with lighter shades and tones.
- Materials that are heavier and thicker will provide more protection from UV rays.
- Wear tighter weaves to increase your protection.
- Materials provide less protection when they are wet.
Is There Such A Thing as Tan-Through Clothing?
Indeed, there is! A lot of swimsuits have been designed specially to allow the UV rays of the sun to penetrate through the material to produce an even tan.
This is perfect for tanners who want to bask in the sun and get a flawless tan without experiencing any tan lines. There are many new clothes on the market that can allow the sun’s rays to get through for you to achieve a tan.
Other clothing that is made from lightweight materials such as linen and cotton will also let the UV rays penetrate your skin and give you a tan.
What is the Best Fabric to Tan Through?
So, you want to tan through your clothing without having to wear oily medium-level sunscreen? Well then, the material that you should choose to wear is Microsol!
This is a relatively new lightweight fabric that can let the rays of the sun through while at the same time acting as a sunscreen. In other words, Microsol allows sunlight to pass through it without the risk of causing sunburn.
This revolutionary type of material will allow you to tan more or less the same as you would when you use an SPF6 sunscreen without the worry of burning during unprotected UV exposure.
Microsol has a unique ability to block out the dangerous wavelengths of natural sunlight while at the same time blocking the wavelengths that produce heat. A perfect way to fashionably get a tan without having to use greasy SPF products and still prevent yourself from getting sunburnt or dehydrated by overexposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Microsol fabric allows for an adequate amount of UVB rays to penetrate the fabric while acting as a barrier to gamma rays. This directly contributes towards a full-body tan with no tan lines and the freedom to tan while you are fully clothed!