At this point, we all know the importance of applying sunscreen every damn day (even in winter, people!). But what’s this UPF you speak of? We’ve seen it marked on some of our favorite athletic-wear, but what does it actually mean? Here, we’ll break it down for you (and suggest some of our favorite UPF brands to boot).
OK, so what is UPF?
UPF refers to clothes that protect you from UV radiation. While SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rates the effectiveness of sunscreens, UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is a rating scale specifically for fabrics, measuring the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate an item of clothing and reach your skin.
What kind of UPF rating should we be looking for?
A UPF rating of 30+ is great, but 50+ is even better.
Can we use UPF clothing in place of sunscreen?
No. While sun-protective clothing can help, it doesn’t replace regular sunscreen use. Clothing with a rating of 50+ allows only one fiftieth of the sun’s UV rays to reach your skin, but that still means that your skin isn’t 100 percent protected, so doubling up with sunscreen is a good plan.