SPF vs UPF: What's the difference?

SPF vs UPF: What's the difference?

We all want to know how to keep our littles safe in the sun but sometimes all the acronyms can be a lot to decipher. We broke it down for you with simple definitions so you can understand what SPF, UPF, UVA, and UVB mean...and why they matter.

Our Swim Trunks and Rash Guards have been rigorously tested and block 99% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. But what does that even mean?

How do we measure sun rays?

Ultraviolet light comes from the sun and there's two forms of UV light that reach Earth.

UVA light makes up for 95% of the light that reaches Earth. While it can affect skin immediately, it has a longer wavelength and tends to cause longer term affects such as aging and overall deep skin cell damage.

UVB light makes up for just 5% of all the sunlight that reaches earth but it has a shorter wavelength and can only reach the outer layers of your skin. These rays are most likely to cause sunburn.


What is UPF?

Simply put, UPF is the measure of sun protection we get from clothing. When you see UPF 50+, you're seeing that the clothing item in question blocks 98% or more of the suns UV rays.

  • UPF 30 – Will block around 96% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays
  • UPF 50 (ours) – Will block around 99% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays

What is SPF?

SPF is the measure of sun protection we get from sunscreen. SPF does NOT block UVA rays. It can only block UVB light. Some broad-spectrum topicals can block UVA light.

So what now?

You'll likely want to use a combination or SPF and UPF products depending on the locations and conditions you are in. Our Rash Guards and Swim Trunks have UPF 50+ and are a great option to keep your little covered from the sun.

If you still have questions don't hesitate to reach out to us: support@bravelittleones.com or DM us on Instagram, @brave.littleones.

Back to blog