I am going to South East Asia for quite some time, and was looking for appropriate clothing. Quite a few websites recommend linen clothes, and almost all of them recommend UV protective gear due to most counties being near equator.

Things that do not add up are that linen clothes are not very UV protective, so I was wondering what would be UPF rating for dark and light linen?

  • Not an answer, thus only comment: Have you read this summary already?
    – Haini
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 17:25
  • I think you are reading the wrong. Absorb is not pass. Absorb is good. It also states the the article the dye absorbs UV.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 17:31
  • Keep it means that 8 hours outside in the sun with UPF30 is equivalent to around 1/4 hour with out it. Unlike sunblock, clothing does not wash off and protection deteriorate over the day. No need for ridiculously high UPF's unless you never go outside and suddenly plan to spend sun rise to sunset out on an open boat with no shade.
    – user5330
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


It's interesting but just banging amazon with "linen shirt upf" didn't do anything good.

But it turned up another subpage of your referenced page.

It has a nice graphic with a distribution of UPF Rating per material, which should give you a rough direction of how big the differences per material are actually.

enter image description here

Which gives a general direction. From what I read linen performs in the regions of cotton regarding UPF.

Now for the real interesting part: I found this Google Books link which gives quite some comprehensive tables.

enter image description here

This picture emerged for me: The material itself is not as important for the UPF rating as the used thickness, dye, weaving technique and color. But we can clearly see from the table that Indigo has a way higher UPF than Madder and Cochineal. If we extrapolate this (not very scientific) we can assume that with lighter tones there will be worse UPF.

  • Hi Haini, it does give enough insight that dark linen shirt will do just fine. Thanks. Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 20:14
  • 1
    @MatasVaitkevicius Easy with "dark will do just fine". UV is not the only thing. Dark will absorb the most heat. White will be cooler but with with less UV protection.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 22:59
  • 1
    I can add personal proof to this. I work outside in the sun nearly every day. I wear a black t-shirt with a white lining. My wife constantly calls me a manikin man as I have a tanned head and arms but a very pale torso.
    – Dynadin
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 20:08


A number of fabrics and textiles in common use today need no further UV-blocking enhancement based on their inherent fiber structure, density of weave, and dye components, especially darker colors and indigo dyes. Good examples of these fabrics contain full percentages or blends of heavy-weight natural fibers like cotton, linen

sun-protection clothing

Many dyes absorb UV, which helps reduce exposure. Darker colors tend to absorb more UV than lighter. Linen shirt can be both cool and sun-smart.

Don't have actual UV numbers. That would depend on the specific fabric.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.