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UPF and SPF: Your questions, answered

Solbari blog: UPF and SPF:  Your questions, answered

What is a UPF rating and what does it mean?

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) measures the amount of UV radiation that is able to pass through the fabric to the skin's surface. A garment certified with the highest available UPF rating of UPF50+ will only allow 1/50th of UV rays to reach the skin. All Solbari fabrics are rated UPF50+ and are certified to block 98% of UVA and UVB rays. UPF ratings are exclusive to fabrics.

What is the difference between UPF and SPF?

SPF (Sun Protective Factor) is the rating used for sunscreens while UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is the rating used for fabrics. SPF measures the amount of time your skin is protected from UVB rays before it begins to redden or burn, compared to how long your skin would take to redden or burn without protection. Unlike a UPF rating, the current SPF standard does not measure how well your skin is protected from UVA rays. UVA rays cause premature ageing and contribute to skin cancer development. UVB rays are strongest during the summer months while UVA rays are present all year round and are as strong in January as they are in July. When selecting your SPF products, ensure that you select a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a rating of at least SPF30+. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect from UVB (burning rays) and UVA. 

Unlike an SPF rating which only measures the efficiency of the product to block UVB rays, a UPF rating measures the efficiency of fabric to block both UVA and UVB rays. Rather than measuring a length of time the skin is protected, as is observed with SPF ratings, UPF ratings measure the total amount of UV radiation to pass through the fabric to the skin's surface.

Can an SPF rating be used to measure the sun protection rating of fabrics?

No, an SPF rating is exclusive to sunscreens. Wearing a UPF50+ clothing item can be compared to wearing SPF50+ sunscreen, but to claim fabrics as having an SPF rating of 50-100+ would be incorrect.

Why choose UPF50+ sun protective clothing?

Unlike sunscreen, wearing UPF50+ clothing guarantees the same amount of protection all day long. Sunscreens decrease in their efficiency to block UVA and UVB rays as time goes on due to sweat, rubbing on fabrics and natural breakdown on the skin. Choose UPF clothing as your first line of defence against UV rays. Sunscreen should be used as a secondary measure to cover areas that are not protected by UPF50+ clothing and accessories. No sun protection routine is complete without observing the Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide guide. See below our guide to protecting your skin from the sun.

 

How do you achieve your UPF rating?

All Solbari fabrics are certified UPF50+ by ARPANSA or The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. ARPANSA is the Australian Government's primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. We send samples of every fabric we stock, in every colour to be independently tested. Currently, the highest available UPF rating in the world is UPF50+.

Is sunscreen enough?

Sunscreen should be a vital step in your sun protection routine, but it is not enough to protect your skin alone. Wear sun protective clothing, a wide brim sun hat and sunglasses. Cover any exposed skin with broad-spectrum UPF30+ or higher. Stay sun-smart, check the UV index on days where you plan to be outdoors and seek shade.

When you're sun smart, you can enjoy the outdoors all day long with confidence.

You can find out more about Solbari's sun protective range by clicking the blue links below:
Women UPF 50+
Men UPF 50+
Sun hats UPF 50+
Accessories UPF 50+
SPF 50+ Sunscreen

The SOLBARI Team
This blog post is for information purposes only.



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