UPF treatments increase the ability of a fabric to block the sun’s harmful UV radiation from reaching your skin.
An ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) treatment applied to a fabric or garment increases the ability of the material to prevent the sun’s harmful UV radiation from reaching your skin. We can create that layer of protection by adding special chemistry to the yarn itself, by altering the weight/density of the fabric’s construction or by adding a topical chemical treatment to the fabric.
Of course, clothing with a UPF treatment only protects the areas of your body that are covered by the treated fabric.
We use several methods to improve how well Patagonia clothing helps block the sun’s harmful UV rays. One technique applies a titanium dioxide (TiO2) additive to the yarn; the additive is similar to the reef-safe active ingredient contained in many sunscreen products. This method provides highly durable UV protection, and because the additive is permanently locked inside the yarn, it also helps us create lightweight fabrics.
Another way we achieve sun protection with standard yarns is to use special constructions and heavier fabrics. The most comfortable fabrics have the perfect balance of weight and protection.
If you’re looking for some shade, we want to ensure you’re covered, so before a Patagonia garment receives a UPF rating, both the fabric and design must meet strict guidelines. As a result, we can’t market a low-coverage garment like a tank top, while using UPF-rated fabric, and claim the wearer is protected.
We will continue to explore new and better technological options for improving sun protection and breathability. We’re looking at different types of yarn and new fabric constructions to keep you cool while you’re in the sun.