Are your Clothes Sun Protected?

Skin is the largest organ of our body and one of its function is to signal the abnormalities present inside us. Given that we always have to work, travel and sometimes play outside and the sun’s radiation penetrates through all the three layers of our skin and damages the DNA of the cells resulting in mutation that can potentially give rise to photo-aging (skin aging), photo-carcinogenesis (skin cancer) and erythema. 

Many people love getting tanned and think its cool, right. As it resolves quickly but any exposure does cause damage to the skin.

What do we do? We slather sunscreens right, but not on the entire body and definitely not every day. 

So what’s the solution for overall protection? 

The answer is simple Sustainable Functional Clothing”.

As Clothing is the basic need of humans and being a portable environment it is carried by us where ever we go. Sustainable Functional Clothing plays a critical role in protecting us against harmful UV rays as it can reflect, absorb and scatter these rays by having a set UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) value indicating how much of the sun's UV radiation is absorbed. For example, a white cotton shirt's UPF may hover around 10. A colored shirt's UPF is higher. While Denim jeans has a UPF value of 1700 due to tighter weaves, dark or bright colors and thicker fabrics blocking more UV rays. If the fabric is wet, stretched out or too tight, it will block fewer UV rays.

When UV rays hit such Clothing different types of chemical interactions occur due to a number of factors like

  • Physio - chemical type of fiber
  • UV Absorbers - 

1) Synthetic UV absorbers are organic and inorganic compounds with strong absorption of UV rays. Organic products like benzotriazole, hydro benzophenone, and phenyl triazine are primarily used for coating and padding processes in order to achieve broad protection against ultraviolet radiations. Inorganic compounds like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and Tinosorb FD act as additives onto the fabric. Though it’s always advisable to go with Nature driven resources.

2) Natural UV absorbers can be obtained by enhancing the dyeing properties of unbleached cellulosic fibers like linen, hemp, cotton and protein fibers like wool and silk. Natural dyes producing bright colors and having high antioxidant content are good UV protectors such as Indian madder, logwood, turmeric, black myrobalan, green tea, pomegranate peel etc.  Extensive research on developing Natural Dye UV absorbers will bring more opportunity in the economic, social and environmental sphere.

  • Fabric Construction - thickness and porosity
  • Finishing treatment is given to the fabric

Thus textile clothing is designed smartly based on three aspects - function, structure, and aesthetics.

Though UV protection property can be achieved using synthetic chemicals. But when there is chemical involvement there is future damage not only to the wearer but also to the environment. In order to reduce the impact on both human and environment, we need to incorporate Natural Dyes as they exhibit a comparable UV absorption performance to its synthetic counterparts due to the presence of tannins and steady hydrogen bonds. 

Through Eco-technology there can be an improvement of the Natural UV Protectors thus creating a modern and ecological textile product.

At Zest N Zeal, we are proud of our research and development with colors derived from nature and to know more about our Natural Dyeing click here.





3) The Influence of Mordanting with Silver Nitrate on the Dyeability and UV Protection of Cotton Dyed with Green Tea by Marija Gorjanc, Rosana Sluga Štih, Iris Vrhovski and Monika Curk in University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Department of Textiles


5) Antibacterial Activity and UV Protection Property of Some Egyptian cotton fabrics treated with aqueous extract from banana peel by Saleh Mansour Salah

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