What is UPF Clothing?
Traditionally, sun protection has revolved around sunscreen. Now, advances in sun-protective technologies have resulted in specialized UPF-rated clothing that can protect your skin as well. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Cancers found that UPF-rated clothing works better than sunscreen —and it doesn't have that sticky, oily, “sting-your-eyes'' feel. Not only that, you don’t have to reapply it regularly for proper protection.
To help you better understand what UPF clothing is and how it works, we reached out to Haskell Beckham, Columbia Sportswear's VP of innovation, who answered the most commonly asked questions related to sun protection and UPF-rated clothing.
1. What does UPF stand for?
2. Is UPF better than SPF?
3. What is UPF clothing?
4. How does UPF clothing work?
5. What are the best UPF fabric technologies?
6. Can you describe in more detail what broad-spectrum protection is?
7. Does UPF clothing wick moisture or help keep you cool?
8. Does UPF clothing work in water?
9. How long does UPF clothing last?
10. Do you still need to wear sunscreen with UPF clothes?
11. Who should wear UPF clothes and when?
12. Is UPF clothing only needed in the spring and summer?
- Proximity to the equator: The closer you are to the equator, the more intense the UV rays.
- Altitude: Higher altitudes mean you’re closer to the sun, which means more intense UV radiation.
- Stratospheric ozone: The closer you are to the Earth’s poles, the thinner the ozone layer and the stronger the UV.
- Cloud cover, smog, and smoke: While these can block UV radiation from reaching the Earth’s surface and reduce UV exposure, some types can actually increase UV radiation, so it’s always best to be well protected.