What is UPF?
Looking for sun protection for all your summer adventures? Sun protective clothing is one of the most effective ways of protecting your skin from sun damage, and there’s a specific measurement system that determines just how much protection you’re getting: UPF or Ultraviolet (UV) Protection Factor.
Whereas an SPF rating is an indication of how much time it will take before skin starts burning under the sun, the UPF rating system tells you how much UV radiation is absorbed by clothing fabric.
A piece of clothing labeled UPF 50 will let only 1/50th of UV rays penetrate. In other words, you’d be protected from 98% of UV light.
UPF vs SPF
Though similar in concept, UPF and SPF have some key differences you’ll want to know so you can make the best choices for your skin.
- UPF clothing gives protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens, unless specifically labeled as "broad spectrum", may only protect against UVB rays.
- Sun protective clothing offers great coverage and doesn’t have to be reapplied, so it’s a great alternative or way to double-up your sun protection.
While UPF clothing doesn’t require federal testing, there are standard testing methods in place that allow manufacturers to put a voluntary UPF label on their products. But don’t worry, the Federal Trade Commission monitors any claims about sun protection to ensure consumers aren’t getting false information.
When searching for your next summer statement piece, you’ll want to consider more than just UPF measurements.
You may be tempted to wear light colors in the summertime, but dark or really bright fabrics are much more effective at blocking the sun’s rays since they work by absorbing UV rays, rather than letting them penetrate the fabric.
Loosely woven fabrics and light linen outfits might scream summer, but they won’t do much when it comes to protecting your skin. The best protective clothing is made from thicker, tightly woven, synthetic fabrics.
Don’t think you need to sacrifice comfort to stay protected. When tight clothing stretches, it gives UV rays the chance to pass through, so opt for loose-fitting clothing instead.
Shop these protective pieces
No matter where your next adventure takes you, we’re ready to keep you protected with our range of UPF clothing and accessories.
With a bright orange color, lightweight material, plus a UPF 35+ rating, our long sleeve performance shirt is perfect for any outdoor activity. Want short sleeves? We have a dark gray, short sleeve version, too.
The neck is one of the most neglected places when it comes to sun protection. Luckily, our neck gaiter is treated for 50 UV protection, making it the ideal accessory for a long day under the sun.
The skin on your face is ultra-sensitive, and no matter how much sunscreen you apply, sometimes you'll want additional protection. With our UPF Mesh Safari and Castaway Boonie hats, you’ll be able to protect your face (and head!) in style.