Does a Towel Block UV Rays?

women in sun with towel

When you have been on vacation or in the sun it might have come across your mind that you want to protect your skin for one reason or another.

If you have a towel with you this can lead to the thought that it can help protect you from the sun, but is if effective? This leads to the question does a towel block UV rays?

A towel blocks some UV rays but usually not all of them. Generally speaking, if you are wanting some protection, a towel can help though it shouldn’t be considered a reliable way to block the sun and UV especially depending on the material.

Below we will get into more detail on how a towel blocks UV and what you should know beforehand.

Towels Materials – How They Protect

Of course, it’s no surprise that the kind of towel you are using and the material and even the color can play a factor with how much a towel can help protect you from the UV rays.

Obviously the thicker a towel the more likely it will be better at blocking the UV rays. Though the typical beach towel is not very effective at blocking the sun’s rays because they are usually thin and often made from cotton (which is not great at blocking UV rays).

It is estimated that these kinds of thin towels offer about 5 SPF factor which while helpful at offering protection are not ideal if you are staying exposed to the sun for long.

Can a Towel Help Protect Against UV Rays?

To answer this simply yes it can and does usually help. Though the obvious problem is that depending on what you are wearing it only offers protection to one area such as the neck or shoulders area.

If you are planning to go out in the sun and use a towel as your only protection we recommend against this. This is because it’s not a suitable protection like a higher SPF sunscreen would offer, which is what we suggest.

We Recommend: EltaMD SPF 50 Sunscreen

Though what we will say is that if you are already out in the sun and want some immediate protection and you have a towel with you it will help. Though it’s a good idea to not spend too much time outside as the protection it offers is typically not enough. This is especially true when the sun is strongest, and the UV index is higher.

UV Blocking Towels

If you didn’t know there are towels that offer UV protection. They are designed to offer much stronger protection to the sun as high as SPF 50. While these kinds of towels do work and are effective you should keep in mind that the average towel you have bought will not offer this kind of protection.

These towels also have the same problem as any other towel that they usually can only protect a certain part of the body. Of course, the bigger the towel the less likely this is a concern.

What Materials Block UV Rays?

When it comes to what materials block UV the best there are a selection of choices. What you should keep in mind is that lots of these materials only offer partial protection at best. A few examples of good materials that block the sun well are denim, polyester, and canvas. One of the main reasons these are the best materials is because of their tight weave which prevent the UV rays from passing through the fabric.

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