Summer and even Winter Sun can be harsh on your skin, and while we should be thinking about sun protection all year around, the onset of the warmer season means sun protection is going to be front and centre of our summer events.
But how much do we really know about UPF/SPF ratings? What does UPF/SPF mean? Does a higher UPF/SPF mean better protection?
What is the difference between SPF and UPF?
Both SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) are standards used to measure sunburn protection. SPF, the standard used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreens, has been around for many years. The UPF system is relatively new and was created specially for sun protective fabrics. Beach tents will then be classified with a UPF rating. FOR SUN PLAY beach tents have a UPF 50+ rating.
What’s better protection factor 15, 30 or 50+?
Expert agree with an SPF/UPF of at least 30, higher if you’re outdoors. And remember, no matter how high the SPF (being an applicator cream) reapplying sunscreen every two hours for optimal protection.
An SPF 50 offers a high level of protection and is best for those with a history of skin cancer or those that are fair skinned or at higher risk for skin cancer. An SPF 15 covers 93% of UVB rays and an SPF 30 covers 97% of UVB rays. The higher the rating the better the protection!
Seeking sun protective clothing, beach tents or beach shelters labelled UPF 50 and sunscreens with SPF 50 will provide you and your family with the best combined sun protection.
What is UVB and UVA?
The SPF of a product only relates to its protection from the UVB or “burning” rays. The SPF of a product does not mean it protects you from UVA or “aging” rays. Companies use independent testing companies to test the SPF levels in their products in compliance with the APANSA testing guidelines. A UPF 50+ rates as excellent for both UVA and UVB.
When choosing a sunscreen, make sure that you’re choosing a product that has been tested for broad-spectrum protection (protects from both UVA and UVB). That way, you’ll be protected not only from the immediate effects of sun damage (sunburn) but also from long-term damage that shows up as wrinkles, sunspots and worse–skin cancer.