What Is The Difference Between UPF and SPF?

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UPF & SPF Difference Explained

Difference Between UPF and SPFMany people wonder what is the difference between UPF and SPF? And why there are two different ratings for the same thing. Well those two ratings are similar but not the same..

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor which measures the amount of UV protection fabrics (aka UPF clothes) have. SPF is Sun Protection Factor which is the known ratings to measure cream and sun block lotion protective rate.

While they both measure the protection level of UV rays, UPF is for clothes and fabrics and the SPF is for creams and cosmetics.

More Differences between UPF and SPF

Most of the SPF creams are effective to reduce the UVB sun rays. Those UVB are the short rays, which can be seen as direct sun light. This means that when being in the shade, or wearing clothes, most UVB rays can be blocked.

UVA are different. They are the long UV rays, which can penetrate deep into the skin, and they can also penetrate through most fabrics. This means that if you are at the sun, wearing SPF sunscreen on the arms and face, the area might be protected from UVB but the whole body is exposed to harmful UVA rays.

Most SPF creams and lotions protect the skin mainly from UVB rays. So for better skin protection, you should seek the “full spectrum SPF” sun blocks (UVA & UVB protection).

SPF – UPF Sun Radiation Absorbing Chemicals

SPF sunscreens use chemicals to absorb UVB rays. Some of these chemicals absorb into the skin. UPF clothing absorb or reflect UVA/UVB rays, and wearing them do not transfer any chemicals to the skin.

Wearing UPF Clothing Or Using SPF Creams?

The United States Air and Radiation Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has these figures:

More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, making it the most common form of cancer in the country, but it is largely preventable through a broad sun protection program. It is estimated that 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Read more..

Coolibar UPF 50+ Men's Short Sleeve Fitness Shirt - Sun Protective
Coolibar UPF 50+ Men’s Short Sleeve Shirt

SPF creams absorb into the skin. This means that in order to protect the skin they need to be re-applied every hour!

Most people do not apply SPF creams all over their body. Women apply SPF creams on the face and neck using cosmetics (SPF 8-15). When at vacation people apply SPF sunscreen on the arms (and rarely on the legs). This means most of us are 100% exposed to UVA radiation on a daily basis.

Columbia UPF 50 Women's Anytime Active Short Sleeve Top
Columbia UPF 50 Women’s Short Sleeve Top

Wearing UPF clothes means the sun radiation is blocked, throughout the day. Wearing a UPF hat will protect the face and forehead from UVA radiation. UPF pants and shirts will protect 90% of the body skin from UVA & UVB radiation.

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