Wool for UV Protection

Wool for UV Protection

When it comes to outdoor activities and adventures, staying protected from the sun's harmful rays is crucial. Wearing the proper clothing can play an important role in shielding our skin from harmful UV radiation. Merino wool base layers have gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts due to their natural properties, including temperature regulation and moisture-wicking capabilities. Did you know Merino wool has a natural UPF rating? In this blog, we'll explore the difference between SPF and UPF as it relates to Merino wool base layers and how they contribute to sun protection.

Understanding SPF and UPF:

SPF (Sun Protection Factor)

When it comes to sun protection, you’re probably most familiar with the term SPF, which is usually referring to the measurement of sunscreens, cosmetics, or other sun-blocking products. SPF is applied directly to the skin and rates how effectively it can protect your skin from UV rays, which are responsible for causing sunburns. The higher the SPF rating, the better the protection. For example, an SPF 50 sunscreen should theoretically allow you to stay in the sun 50 times longer than you could without any sunscreen, before getting a sunburn. You would also have to factor in the time of year, surroundings like being in or around water, if there’s snow in the winter, etc. It’s important to note that some SPFs do not protect against UVA rays, which can penetrate deeper into the skin and also cause skin damage, so make sure to check that your sunscreen is a "broad spectrum" as it will block both UVA and UVB rays.

male and female running wearing a v-neck and tank top that is woolverino micro weight fabric breathable moisture wicking and anti odor

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor)

UPF, on the other hand, is used to measure the level of sun protection in clothing, including Merino wool. It measures how effectively the fabric blocks both UVA and UVB rays, providing a comprehensive sun protection measurement. UPF ratings range from 15 to 50+, with higher values indicating greater sun protection. For example, a garment with a UPF 50+ rating will allow only 1/50th of the sun's UV radiation to pass through, providing excellent protection for your skin. UPF is measured by the fabric construction, weave, density, and even color.

Merino Wool Base Layers: A Natural Shield Against the Sun

Merino wool is known for its high performance in various conditions, making it a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes when selecting their base layers, socks, and accessories.

People paddle boarding on the lake wearing merono wool vneck and sleeveless tank

UV Seasons and Conditions

When recreating outdoors, it's important to know when you are at the highest risk for UV exposure and in what conditions. Closer to the equator or at high elevations brings you closer to the sun, putting you at higher risk. When the sun is at its highest point in the sky, between 10 am to 4 pm, is also a high risk. Exposure is still prevalent on cloudy days as the UV rays still come through the clouds, as well as during the winter. UV rays reflect on snow, sand, and water, so no matter what season or conditions, you should be aware of UV exposure and protect yourself from the harsh rays.

UV Resistance of Merino Wool

One of the key features of Merino wool is its natural ability to resist UV radiation. Merino fibers possess natural pigments that can absorb UV light, acting as a built-in protective barrier. This inherent UV resistance provides some level of sun protection to the wearer without the need for additional chemical treatments.

For protection in the summer try our Micro weight Woolverino shirts, sun hoodies, tanks, and accessories which have a UPF rating 20+ !

man camping wearing raglan micro weight woolverino tshirt

Choosing the Right UPF-Rated Merino Wool Base Layers

When selecting Merino wool base layers for sun protection, consider the following factors:

UPF Rating: Look for Merino wool base layers with a high UPF rating, preferably UPF 50+, for the best sun protection. Our Expedition wool layers are UPF rated for 50+.

Tightly Woven Fabric: Opt for tightly woven fabrics, as they offer better UV resistance than loosely woven ones.

Coverage: Choose base layers that offer ample coverage, including long sleeves and high collars, to protect more of your skin from the sun. Our best-selling midweight base layers are perfect for adding coverage when you need it in the colder months.

Layering: Consider layering your Merino wool clothing with other sun-protective accessories, such as hats, sunglasses or balaclavas, for maximum protection.

woman paddle boarding in micro weight woolverino vneck

Minus33 Merino Wool base layers are excellent choices for outdoor activities and sun protection due to their natural UV resistance, temperature regulation, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties. Combined with an SPF on exposed skin, these garments can offer you the reassurance you need to fully enjoy your outdoor adventures while keeping your skin safe from the sun's harmful rays. So, gear up with the right Merino wool base layers and embrace the great outdoors with confidence!