SPF vs UPF: What is the difference? Choose the right sun protection.
Going out in the Sun and in nature is one of the most enjoyable activities for many of us, and if you don’t want to overshadow this joy with health conditions caused by harmful UV rays, dermatologists recommend to always be prepared and actively protect your skin.
Whether you like to go fishing, kayaking, hiking, cycling or for a daily run or walk, you can defend your skin from UV rays by choosing products especially created to protect you.
But what are these UV rays?
UV rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun, which were discovered in 1801 by physicist Johann Wilhelm Ritter. There are 4 types of UV rays known today: UVV, UVC, UVA and UVB, but only the last two reach Earth.
UVB rays affect the top layers of the skin, causing sunburn, sun spots and skin cancer.
UVA rays are the most harmful, damaging deeper skin layers and cells, causing premature skin aging and development of skin cancer. Approximately 95% of the Sun’s total UV radiation that reaches the ground is UVA.
These also penetrate clouds, untreated windows and are present all day long, year-round, even when it’s cloudy.
UVA and UVB light rays can also affect the skin even when they are reflected from windows, water, sand and snow, and are more damaging at higher altitudes.
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|Ultraviolet A (UVA)||Ultraviolet B (UVB)|
damages deeper layers of the skin
|damages the top layers of the skin|
|penetrates clouds and untreated windows||penetrates clouds & can't penetrate windows|
|causes sunburns, skin aging and skin cancer||causes sunburns, sun spots and skin cancer|
How can I protect myself?
Sun exposure can be pleasant, but you have to be aware of the long term risks. For this reason, if you want to sunbathe or go out on midday during a hot summer day, you must use a protection method: UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing and / or SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunscreen.
There is often confusion between the two (SPF and UPF), and to clear things out, both are used to measure the protection offered for your skin, but the difference is that:
- SPF (Sun Protection Factor) measures how well a sunscreen protects your skin;
- UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) measures how well a piece of clothing or accessory can protect your skin.
Did you know that without any protection, your skin will be affected by the Sun in just 10 minutes?
SPF vs UPF
Most SPF sun lotions or creams protect you only from UVB rays. You need to apply it 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply after two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating.
UPF clothing protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, for as long as you wear them, like performance shirts, gloves, neck gaiters.
The best sun protection clothes are the ones rated UPF 50+ (the highest protection rating clothing can have), blocking 98% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB).
Choosing which one to use depends on how much you plan to stay out in the sun and what are your summer activities. If you don’t want to worry about reapplying sun lotions and just want to bask in the sun, choose to wear sun protection clothes.
The UPF rating is rigorously tested through an independent lab, using AATCC 183:2004 method, to ensure you the protection you need during these hot summer days, so you can still have fun and also perform with confidence.
Protect your skin! Discover GOT® Sun Protection multifunctional neck gaiters, gloves, shirts and balaclavas for both men and women.