As a Sun Protection design company selling UPF 50+ rash guards, we often get asked the question: what is the difference between UPF and SPF? There is actually a huge difference between the 2 ratings as they mean different things, all related to sun protection of course!
What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it’s what you see written on bottles of sunscreen and other sun protection products. It is a standard that is used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreens and how long it takes for sun screened applied exposed skin to start showing signs of redness. This is compared to exposed skin with no sunscreen on it at all and the time it takes to start showing signs of sunburn. In short, the higher the SPF rating in a sunscreen, the longer it will take for your skin to show signs of UV damage or burning.
Another thing to think about when choosing a sunscreen is to look for a broad spectrum UVA and UVB sunscreen as it will protect against both types of radiation and the damage caused by them.
What is UPF?
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and this rating standard relates to fabric and the protection that it can provide to your skin by stopping the UV rays from penetrating the fabric.
Generally, light colored and loosely woven fabrics do not give you much protection from the sun and a white t-shirt gives a UPF rating of around 7. But when the t-shirt gets wet, the UPF goes down to around 3. This is where you need to consider fabrics which have been specially treated with a special sunblock and can offer good sun protection both wet and dry.
Specially manufactured UPF 50+ clothing can block out up to 98% of both UVA and UVB rays and are typically referred to as rash guards or rashies. They come in a variety of UPF ratings but according to skincancer.org, UPF 50+ is considered to be excellent protection (and is the highest rating to get).
As the sun is getting stronger and more people are becoming more aware of the potential health risks associated with UV damage, these classic rash guards have practically gone through a reinvention. What was the classic surfer rash guard can now be found in a variety of stylish designs and colors to keep you looking fashionable as well as sun protected! Check out our fabulous Cat&I range of rash guards for the whole family.