This summer, many parts of the country continued to experience high temperatures, with temperatures in some areas reaching over 40 degrees Celsius. Under the scorching sun, the sales of sunscreen clothing have skyrocketed.
What is the sun protection effect of sunscreen clothing? What is the future trend of this rapidly growing market? Xinhua Perspective reporters conducted research.
Sunscreen clothing is too popular this year
Riding an electric bike to and from work and walking to the grassroots every day, my face and neck are all sunburned, red and painful. "Mr. Li, a civil servant in Binzhou, Shandong, paid attention to" physical sunscreen "for the first time this year and purchased a 199 yuan brand sunscreen suit.
Not long ago, Ms. Wang, an executive of a technology company in Shanghai, bought sunscreen clothes for her entire family. This year, sunscreen clothes are too popular. Many people are wearing them on bicycles and walks. Some girls wrap themselves tightly around their bodies. My husband, who used to not even use sunscreen, also says they want to buy a sunscreen.
”This summer, the high temperature has had a significant impact on the lives of ordinary people. In addition to preventing heatstroke and heatstroke, media and medical experts have repeatedly reminded people to pay attention to sun protection. The market for sun protection clothing, which was originally primarily consumed by outdoor workers and young women, has rapidly expanded to the entire population. The reporter saw that many delivery boys have self funded equipment such as sun protection sleeves, masks, and sun protection clothing.
According to JD data, the sales of sunscreen clothing have recently increased by over 50% month on month; According to Tmall data, during the "June 18th" period of this year, the transaction volume of new clothing sunscreen products increased by 180% year-on-year. According to the prospectus data of outdoor brand "Jiaoxia", the market size of sunscreen clothing has increased from 45.9 billion yuan in 2016 to 61.1 billion yuan in 2021, and will exceed 70 billion yuan in 2023.
Yao Peng, Senior Communication Director of Anta Group, stated that the overall online sales of sunscreen clothing in the sports footwear and clothing industry have experienced double-digit growth this summer. A salesperson for an outdoor brand at Beijing Contemporary Mall told reporters that in previous years, the majority of people who purchased sunscreen clothing were young women. From this year's sales situation, there were also more men, elderly people, and children, and some sizes were sold out.
Can sun protection clothing protect against sun?
On social media, the topic of whether sunscreen clothing is "black technology" or harvesting "sunscreen anxiety" continues to be hot. Some people say that wearing clothes is too stuffy; Some people say that ordinary clothes are the same as sun protection; Some people also say that it is indeed effective, as sunscreen clothing creates a significant color difference between the blocked and uncovered skin.
So, what is the sun protection effectiveness of sun protection clothing? What is the basic technical principle?
Experts say that the first thing to understand is the concepts of UVA and UPF. The ultraviolet rays that reach the surface are mainly long-wave black spot effect ultraviolet rays (UVA), which are the main cause of sunburn, "said Yang Lin, Minister of New Materials Research and Development Department of Shandong Textile Science Research Institute. UPF is the ultraviolet protection index, indicating the material's ability to protect against ultraviolet radiation, "said Gong Yan, a professor at Beijing Institute of Fashion. According to the current national standard "Evaluation of UV Protection Performance of Textiles" in China, when the UPF of the sample is greater than 40 and the UVA transmittance is less than 5%, it can be called a "UV protection product".
Gong Yan said that if you see UPF40 on the label of the sunscreen clothing, it means that 1/40 of the ultraviolet rays can pass through the sunscreen clothing. The industry generally believes that a UPF value of 50 is the highest level of protection, and exceeding this value will not actually have a stronger protective effect. Yang Lin said that sunscreen clothing mainly uses several methods such as using anti ultraviolet additives, anti ultraviolet fibers, or enhancing fabric density in the fabric to absorb, reflect, and scatter ultraviolet rays, reducing the penetration of ultraviolet rays into the clothing and achieving sunscreen effect. “
From the perspective of fabric materials, polyester fiber, nylon, polypropylene, and some specially treated natural fibers have good UV resistance Introduction by Gong Yan.
Yang Lin stated that the number of washes can affect the sun protection performance of some sun protection clothing. It is recommended to label the product with the recommended number of washes or recommended usage time.
Don't blindly worship "big brands" and "high prices"
With the rapid growth of the market, some advertisements for sunscreen clothing have been heavily labeled with "technology", and prices have also skyrocketed. The reporter conducted a patent search using the keyword "sunscreen clothing" in Tianyancha and found 158 valid patents, including 87 patents in the "appearance design" category. On a certain shopping platform, the reporter discovered two sunscreen clothes priced above 2000 yuan and asked customer service if they were using high-end technology for such pricing. However, they only received vague responses such as "our high cost-effectiveness", "new luxury", and "selection quality".
How do you understand these seemingly flashy functions? Regarding this, Yang Lin said that adding photosensitive color changing, contact cooling, or mosquito repellent materials can give textiles color changing, cooling, and mosquito repellent functions to a certain extent, but the evaluation of their performance still needs to be based on relevant standards.
Industry insiders believe that sunscreen clothing focuses on sun protection, and on this basis, there will be more products that meet consumers' aesthetic needs and are combined with other functional requirements such as wind and rain protection, as well as lighter, breathable, and comfortable fabrics in the future. Consumers do not need to blindly worship big brands and high prices, and brands should also squeeze out more marketing water and have more technological content.
Sunscreen clothing has relatively poor moisture absorption and breathability, and long-term wear may lead to skin problems such as prickly heat and eczema in hot and humid environments. This problem is gradually being solved through technological progress. Gong Yan said that some brands have adopted new fiber materials and textile technologies, such as blending polyester fibers with spandex, or using nanotechnology to present a microporous structure on the surface of clothing, thereby improving breathability.
Yang Lin said that high-tech sun protection clothing, such as thermal and wet comfortable sun protection clothing based on nanomaterials, intelligent electronic textiles that can monitor physiological parameters, and temperature and humidity responsive sun protection clothing based on shape memory materials, are expected to enter people's lives. Gong Yan said that the enhancement of sustainable development awareness will drive the development of the sun protection clothing market towards a more environmentally friendly direction, possibly using recycled fibers to manufacture or use biodegradable ingredients.
It should be reminded to consumers that sun protection clothing is only one of the auxiliary means of sun protection, and other sun protection measures such as using sunscreen, sunshades, sunglasses, etc. are equally important. In environments with strong sunlight, multiple sun protection methods should be combined to enhance the protective effect, "Gong Yan said.