The Sun is essential for life to exist on Earth, but it creates a harmful environment for the skin. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and many of the cases are the result of improper protection. You can do much to preserve your health by applying sunscreen to your skin and wearing clothes with UV protection.

Part of the journey begins with diving into the differences between UPF vs. SPF. Knowing your options will help you invest in the best products for sun protection.

Luckily, you’ve discovered this practical guide to learn what separates the ultraviolet and sun protection factors. Continue reading to reap the benefits of healthy skin today!

What Is Sun Protection Factor?

Most people have heard of SPF and seen sunscreen bottles displaying the SPF statistics for protection against the Sun’s rays. Many of these individuals understand the importance of SPF protection but lack knowledge of its meaning and how it works.

The number assigned to sunscreen products is based on the product’s rating for filtering UVB rays. The ranking is based on the time necessary for a sunburn to result in skin protection by sunscreen products.

If you seek increased protection for your skin, shop for sunscreen products with a higher number. SPF 30 will provide double the protection you’ll get when applying SPF 15 to your skin. It’s worth noting that a sunscreen product with the highest numbers will not provide total protection from the Sun’s rays.

It’s natural for high-SPF sunscreen to provide a false sense of security during a day spent at the pool or beach. Avoid excessive sun exposure whenever possible. Some UVB rays will make it through the coat of sunscreen on your skin.

It’s best to account for the other types of rays from the Sun that aren’t stopped by your sunscreen products. UVA rays will still make it through and cause damage and discomfort to your skin.

What Is Broad-Spectrum?

Another option worth considering for skin protection is broad-spectrum sunscreen. The purpose of these products is to provide a broader level of protection against different types of radiation produced by the Sun. You’ll enjoy protection across the entire radiation spectrum when buying and using broad-spectrum sunscreen.

The initial releases of sunscreen were effective against UVB rays, but UVA rays could still pass through the sunscreen and cause discomfort. UVA rays are dangerous for your long-term health, and broad-spectrum sunscreen will ensure you add an extra layer of protection.

Combine a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated at SPF 30 or higher with time spent in the shade to provide the top level of protection. Reapply the sunscreen in two-hour increments to ensure you take the necessary measures to protect yourself.

What Is Ultraviolet Protection Factor?

Sunscreen is an effective tool to protect your screen, but clothing designed to add protection is an excellent option for your health-the best clothing for protection when spending hours in the Sun is UPF clothing. Clothes with UPF protection have characteristics that block ultraviolet rays from the Sun.

What sets UPF apart from SPF is the protection you’re afforded from the whole radiation spectrum. The clothing will block UVA and UVB rays from passing through and damaging skin cells.

Not all fabric types have the same rating for protection. The UPF rating will tell you how much the piece will protect you when worn in the Sun. It’s best to look for brands producing sun protection clothing for a purpose.

Look for the rating when shopping for protective clothing. It’s a good rule of thumb to seek clothing with a UPF rating of 40 or higher. 

If you can’t find a rating, seek clothing that is dark or light in color, loose-fitting, and densely woven. It will still protect your skin if you’re spending time outdoors.

Reasons to Protect Your Skin

Now that you know the difference between UPF vs. SPF, it’s worth exploring the benefits of investing in skin protection when visiting the beach or hiking in the mountains. Your skin is the largest organ, and it’s exposed to the elements.

Leaving it unprotected will result in dire consequences later in life. To live a full and happy life, you must invest in sunscreen and protective clothing. Here’s a look at the benefits you’ll enjoy when you invest in your skin’s health.

Fewer Signs of Aging

Signs of aging are enough to dent most people’s confidence. When you spend extensive time in the Sun without protection, you’re allowing UVA and UVB rays to destroy your skin cells. The repeated effect will result in weathered and rough skin.

You’ll also show more wrinkles when opting not to use sunscreen or a protective hat. The ultraviolet rays will destroy the collagen in your skin, causing it to lose its elasticity.

Limit Sunspots

Another benefit you’ll enjoy when combining sunscreen with UPF clothing is limiting sunspots on your body. These spots, also called age spots or liver spots, are a significant cause of increased signs of aging.

Protecting your skin will help you retain a more youthful and healthy appearance. The face, shoulders, and arms are the top locations to protect with sunscreen.

Lower Risk of Skin Cancer

The most significant risk you take when you choose not to use sunscreen or clothes for UV protection is skin cancer. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated at 15 SPF or higher for the best results.

Reapply sunscreen after two hours when spending time outdoors. It’s best to reapply after swimming or sweating during this time. It’s an essential step to preserve your health and appearance.

Now You Know the Difference Between UPF vs. SPF

Protecting your skin from the Sun is essential when planning a trip to the beach or lounging by the pool, and it starts with understanding UPF vs. SPF. Sunscreen is an excellent way to protect your skin from UVA rays, while clothes with UV protection protect against the full spectrum of radiation for healthy skin and a younger appearance.

Maintaining your beauty and appearance starts with protecting your skin from the Sun. Read our Health and Beauty articles for more tips and advice for a stunning appearance today!