After Malaysia has lifted Movement Control Order (MCO) as the vaccination drive kicks in, most of us have been ready for the outdoors. Parks are blooming with people, and socially distant gatherings are becoming the norm. However, it’s clear that the world crisis isn’t quite over yet with the recent COVID-19 variants emerging, Omicron, and natural disaster events ongoing.
Climate changes are no longer theoretical
Malaysia was overwhelmed by the flood ravages in December 2021, which affected over 700,000 lives. According to MET Malaysia Director-General Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, one of the most obvious impacts of global warming that Malaysia is currently witnessing is a consistent rise in its yearly average temperature. The UV radiation intensity is greatest near the equator and decreases with increasing latitude. Considering Malaysia is close to the equator, he reported that the UV index could be extremely high.
The uncertainty of current challenging climate system clearly affects rainfall, humidity patterns and temperature. For certain, next extreme disaster may be on its way and, are we ready?
Malaysia has encouraged people to return to work and socialize, which will result in greater sun exposure. Moderate sun exposure is essential for the human body to synthesize vitamin D, which is critical for bone growth, immunological function, and blood cell creation (Young 1993). However, excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, on the other hand, has its own set of health hazards, such as skin cancer diseases.
While people go outdoors searching for regularity, staying healthy and safe will still be a top priority. ‘Being protected’ has received reactive responses throughout the pandemic as the demand for hygienic products kept rising in 2020 and 2021. In fashion industry, it is also expected to inch towards rosier conditions. Backed up from the 2022 McKinsey Fashion Report, consumers started to buy other segments to ‘reboot’ their wardrobe instead of loungewear and sportswear for nearly a year of pandemics. The so-called “revenge shopping” in a more casual, event, and functional wear, for more social lives outside their home.
What can we do to protect ourselves?
With public awareness of health and safety concerns at an all-time high, people took preventive measures to prepare for anything life threw at them. As they re-evaluate their mindsets, feeling protected and secured plays a bigger role in their decision-making. Hence, brands have a vital role in putting forward their consumer’s needs.
Allied with NanoTextile’s endeavour to enhance the efficacy of textiles to improve human lifestyle. Their leading Hygienic series technology can prevent the development of microorganisms and unpleasant odors on clothing. It provides extra protection to maintain people’s pandemic lifestyles while staying fresh and confident throughout the day. The company has launched Protection Stays on Checked, as people need to be protected from any threats; viral and microorganism, insects, electrostatic, and much more. Harmful UV rays, are also in the bargain.
Of course, there are several ways to protect yourself from the sun and harmful UV radiation. Sunscreen is undoubtedly the most well-known product on the market, a must-have item for everyone. A study, however, found that sunscreen is not as safe and efficient as the physical barrier, such as shades or sun protective cloth with high UPF.
What is Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)?
Sun protective clothing has a rating known as the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). UPF indicates how much the cloth absorbs UV light. We must understand that not every piece of clothing provides equivalent UV protection. UV rays can still permeate clothes, particularly thin or light-colored materials. Look for clothes with a UPF of 15 to 50 or higher in a cloth label. Higher UPF means higher protection.
Why you should not be completely reliant on sunscreen to stay protected?
1. It is difficult to completely protect all parts of the skin.
It is hard to quantify how much sunscreen is enough for the maximum protection of our skin. People may find it time-consuming therefore neglect to do so.
2. Most research proposed that barrier methods, including clothing and shade, are more effective than sunscreen in reducing exposure to solar UV and preventing skin cancer.
According to research, frequent shade and long sleeve use are related to less self-reported burns rather than sunscreen. Physical barriers include photoprotection using special clothing composed of various materials and treatment protects against UVB and UVA rays (Diaz 2013, Gasparro 1998; Latha 2013).
3. With sunscreen, you need to keep applying to maintain its maximum effect.
Sunscreen must be applied 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours. Some people find it hard to be in the habit of using and reapplying sunscreen after sweating, swimming, or towelling off because no sunscreen is completely waterproof.
4. Chemicals associated with sunscreen
To protect against UV rays, it is critical to apply enough sunscreen consistently across the skin. However, some people are allergic to sunscreen ingredients, causing adverse reactions, such as those battling rosacea – extreme sensitiveness, causing pimples or red bumps.
5. It is not enough to only protect the face with sunscreen
Exposure to UVA is responsible for ageing the skin, where UVB causes burning. Skin cancer can occur anywhere over the body; thus, clothing is vital, covering the unprotected body areas.
Hence, combining both sunscreen and UV protection wear is the most effective way to protect oneself from the sun’s damaging effects.
Regular clothes or UV protection wear?
1. Ordinary clothing doesn’t protect you from UV Damage.
Many people will burn while wearing thin, light, airy clothes that provide only UPF 3 – 5. It offers very little protection from sun exposure. To get enough protection mostly clothes are heavy, dark, or layered (hot and unpleasant), with only specific and conventional designs available.
2. UV Protection cloth reliable and practical – took only 2 secs to protect.
UV Protection cloth protects your skin with less effort and is handy in any situation –work, play, or relaxing with loved ones. It protects like sunscreen; a shirt with a UPF of 40 takes 40 times longer for your skin to burn than bare skin, and you never need to reapply!
3. NanoTextile UV technology makes your existing fabrics and clothing lines block UVA and UVB.
Without changing the fabric, design, or even supplier, their technology may incorporate in your existing light clothing, which can unfold up to UPF of 50+, blocking 98% of all UV rays. It will even prolong their lifespan.
One layer can make all the differences
With NanoTextile, brands can enhance their existing products or ready-to-wear (RTW) garments with additional functions. This initiative is an excellent opportunity for B2C brands and retailers to support consumers’ search for purpose in clothing, especially for protection. NanoTextile’s data shows a growing demand for garments that exhibit additional functionality; primarily, the feature of hygiene management sought after COVID-19. “Consumers don’t expect to spend less money getting their functionality ready on their cloth – yet they’re willing to pay extra,” said the company.
NanoTextile’s technologies provide comfort and additional coverage through various types of clothing – shirts, jackets, hoodies, swimwear, hats, caps, hijab, fabric masks with any materials. It will give continuous protection, washes after washes. For UV protection technology, the consumer will have sun-smart smiles all around with up to UPF 50+ technology curated to outlast every clothing design, embedded for up to 100 washes, close to a lifespan of wearing up to 2 years.
2022 and way forward
The apparel industry may be reviving quickly, but the notion that all consumers’ mindsets are reverting to pre-pandemic is far from the truth. New habits, preferences, and innovation – pandemic has evoked their interest in sustainability. Now, they are more conscious of their purchasing behaviours to impact the environment positively. As well, people no longer view fashion as they once did pre-COVID; they look for purpose. Thus, NanoTextile believes that functionality appearance-based should be the top of the agenda for many brands locally and internationally. It is time for brands to adapt to a consumer mindset shift – which protection comes first. With NanoTextile, protection stays on checked.