Layering for Winter: Incorporating UPF Clothing for Winter Sun Safety

Explore the essentials of layering for winter with UPF clothing for sun protection. Learn how to stay warm and sun-safe during cold weather.

As the winter months unfold, many of us eagerly anticipate hitting the slopes, engaging in outdoor activities, or simply soaking up the winter sun. However, it's crucial to remember that even in colder weather, the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can pose a risk to our skin. Fortunately, with the advent of UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing, staying protected from the sun's rays has become easier than ever.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the art of layering for winter with UPF clothing, ensuring you can enjoy winter outdoor activities without compromising your skin health.

Understanding UPF Clothing

UPF clothing is specifically designed to provide enhanced protection against UV radiation. Similar to SPF (Sun Protection Factor) in sunscreen, UPF indicates the level of UV protection offered by the fabric.

For example, clothing with a UPF rating of 50 allows only 1/50th of the sun's UV radiation to penetrate the fabric, providing excellent protection for your skin. When choosing UPF clothing, look for garments labeled with a UPF rating, ideally UPF 50+ for maximum protection.

The great thing about UPF clothing is that you don't have to wear sunscreen or worry about reapplying it. As long as you are covered up in areas by UPF clothing, you can skip the sunscreen.

This only applies to those areas covered by clothing, though. Your face, ears, and hands should still have sunscreen on them. 

Layering Basics

Layering with UPF clothing involves strategically combining different garments to create a protective barrier against the sun's rays while maintaining comfort and mobility. The key is to start with a lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer that fits snugly against the skin to wick away sweat and keep you dry.

Then, add insulating layers for warmth, followed by an outer shell to shield against wind and precipitation. Incorporating UPF clothing into each layer ensures comprehensive sun protection throughout your outdoor adventures.

Most people make the mistake of only having their top layer be UPF clothing. But having more layers that allow sun protection means you don't have to worry about how long you stay out in the winter sun.  

It's good to remember that the winter sun, even if murky and weak, is still pushing out UVA and UVB rays towards your skin, making it age and putting you at risk for skin cancer. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can become less vigilant about sun protection. 

Base Layer

Begin your UPF layering system with a high-quality base layer made from UPF-rated fabric. Look for lightweight, breathable materials such as polyester or merino wool, which offer excellent moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable.

Long-sleeved shirts and pants with UPF protection are ideal for covering exposed skin, especially areas prone to sunburn, such as the arms and legs. Additionally, consider UPF-rated accessories like neck gaiters or balaclavas to protect the neck and face.

Insulating Layers

Depending on the weather conditions, add insulating layers to provide warmth and retain body heat. Fleece jackets, vests, or sweaters made from UPF fabric offer an extra layer of insulation without sacrificing sun protection.

Opt for garments with a looser fit to allow for freedom of movement and effective air circulation. Remember to choose UPF-rated materials for all insulating layers to maintain consistent sun protection throughout your ensemble. 

Outer Shell

The outer shell serves as the final barrier against wind, rain, and snow, while also providing additional UV protection. Invest in a waterproof and windproof jacket or shell made from UPF-rated fabric to keep you dry and shielded from the sun's rays.

Look for features such as adjustable hoods, cuffs, and hemlines to seal out the elements effectively. Consider UPF-rated hats, gloves, and sunglasses to protect exposed areas like the head, hands, and eyes from UV radiation. 

Accessorize for Complete Protection

In addition to layering with UPF clothing, don't forget to accessorize for complete sun protection. UPF-rated hats with wide brims or neck flaps provide shade for the face, neck, and ears, reducing the risk of sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

Sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses shield the eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce glare, enhancing visibility in bright winter conditions. Don't just buy sunglasses from a stall on the street and think you are protected. A lot of those sunglasses say they have UV-blocking, but they truly don't. 

Buy your sunglasses from a reputable store so you know your precious eyesight is protected.

UPF-rated gloves and/or mittens protect your hands from sun exposure and cold temperatures, ensuring comfort and dexterity during outdoor activities.

Considerations for Winter Sports

If you're engaging in winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, additional precautions are necessary to protect your skin from the sun's reflection off the snow. Snow can reflect up to 80% of UV radiation, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin damage.

Choose UPF-rated ski or snowboard apparel specifically designed for winter sports, including jackets, pants, and goggles with built-in UV protection. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas of the skin, including the face, neck, and hands, and reapply regularly, especially after sweating or prolonged sun exposure.

Care and Maintenance

To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your UPF clothing, proper care and maintenance are essential. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing and drying to preserve the fabric's UPF rating and performance.

Avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, or harsh detergents, as they can degrade UPF-treated materials. Inspect your UPF clothing regularly for signs of wear and tear, such as fading or stretching, and replace worn-out garments as needed to maintain optimal sun protection.

Layering for Winter With Sun Protection Clothing

Thankfully, we live in an era where technology abounds to protect us from the dangers of the outdoors, including the harsh sun's rays. Layering for winter means you are protected from the elements, stay warm and cozy, and don't have to worry about using sunscreen. 

UPF clothing for winter has come a long way. There are cute fashions that you can wear without worrying about your style or trends. Check out the BloqUV's women's collection of tops and bottoms, all with SPF protection.