What is UPF protection and why you need it

As we all know, spending time outdoors has numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. However, spending too much time in the sun can lead to skin damage, sunburn, and skin cancer. That’s where UPF protection comes in. But what exactly is UPF protection, and why do you need it? This article will answer these questions and more to help you stay protected while enjoying the great outdoors.

What is UPF protection?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and it’s a measure of how effectively a piece of clothing or fabric can block out ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Just like SPF (Sun Protection Factor) measures the amount of protection provided by sunscreen, UPF measures the amount of protection provided by clothing, hats, and other fabrics.

How does UPF protection work?

UPF protection works by absorbing or reflecting the sun’s harmful UV radiation, preventing it from reaching your skin. A garment’s UPF rating is determined by several factors, including the type of fabric, color, and how tightly the fabric is woven. For example, fabrics with a tighter weave or a darker color typically offer more UPF protection than lighter, looser fabrics.

What is a good UPF rating?

A garment’s UPF rating can range from 15 to 50+, with higher ratings providing more protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing garments with a UPF rating of at least 30 for adequate protection. However, it’s important to note that a higher UPF rating doesn’t necessarily mean better protection, as factors like color and fabric type also play a role in how effectively a garment can block UV radiation.

Why do you need UPF protection?

Exposure to UV radiation from the sun is a leading cause of skin damage, sunburn, and skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and overexposure to UV radiation is the primary cause of most skin cancers. Wearing clothing with UPF protection is a simple and effective way to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Who should use UPF protection?

Everyone can benefit from using UPF protection, but it’s especially important for those who spend a lot of time outdoors or have a high risk of skin cancer. This includes people with fair skin, a family history of skin cancer, and those who work or participate in outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, or water sports.

What are the benefits of UPF clothing?

UPF clothing offers several benefits beyond sun protection. These fabrics are often lightweight and breathable, making them comfortable to wear in hot weather. They can also provide added protection from insects and other outdoor hazards, and some UPF clothing is moisture-wicking, helping to keep you cool and dry during physical activity.

How can you incorporate UPF protection into your wardrobe?

It’s easy to incorporate UPF protection into your wardrobe with the wide range of UPF clothing and accessories available today. You can find everything from UPF hats and scarves to swim shirts and everyday basics like t-shirts and pants with built-in UPF protection. When shopping for UPF clothing, look for garments that offer a UPF rating of at least 30, and choose colors and fabrics that will provide the most protection for your specific needs and activities.

How do you care for UPF clothing?

Caring for UPF clothing is similar to caring for regular clothing, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to ensure the garment maintains its UPF rating. Most UPF clothing is machine washable, but avoid using bleach or fabric softener, which can damage the fabric and reduce its UPF rating. Hang or lay flat to dry rather than using a dryer, which can also damage the fabric.


UPF protection is a simple and effective way to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun while enjoying outdoor activities. By incorporating UPF clothing and accessories into your wardrobe and following the manufacturer’s care instructions, you can enjoy the outdoors with confidence and peace of mind.

Most Common Questions and Answers Regarding UPF Protection

  • Q: Can sunburn occur through clothing?
  • A: Yes, clothing can provide some protection from the sun, but not all fabrics and colors are created equal. Clothing with a higher UPF rating provides better protection.
  • Q: What is the difference between UPF and SPF?
  • A: UPF measures the amount of UV radiation blocked by clothing and fabrics, while SPF measures the amount of UV radiation blocked by sunscreen applied to the skin.
  • Q: Can I still get a tan while wearing UPF clothing?
  • A: Yes, wearing UPF clothing can still allow some UV radiation to penetrate the skin, which can lead to tanning. However, tanning is a sign of skin damage and is best avoided.
  • Q: Do I need to wear sunscreen if I’m wearing UPF clothing?
  • A: Yes, wearing sunscreen in addition to UPF clothing provides an extra layer of protection for your skin.


1. Skin Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). What Is UPF Clothing? Retrieved from https://www.skincancer.org/what-is-upf-clothing/

2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.). Sunscreen FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs

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