Did you know there’s a difference between SPF and UPF? Both have something to do with keeping your skin protected from the sun but mean very different things. Sunlight includes rays of invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation; overexposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn, accelerated skin aging and skin cancer. Sun protective clothing and sunscreen offer your main forms of UV protection but are rated two different ways with SPF and UPF.
UPF is the standard used to measure the effectiveness of sun protective fabrics. UPF stands for “Ultraviolet Protection Factor” and indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin. UPF is associated with fabric and you will see a UPF rating from 15-50 associated with products that claim that they are sun protective. A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. This means the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly because only 2 percent of the UV rays will get through. This also means that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays while SPF only takes the UVB rays into account.
SPF is a standard used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreen. SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”. It measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden, while UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin. Remember that SPF only accounts for UVB rays unless specifically stated as a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Here is a visual breakdown of the two compared to each other.
As you can see when you are trying to keep your skin protected it is important to know the different rating systems. Many skin-care experts believe clothing shields skin more effectively from UV light than sunscreen. Many of us often apply sunscreen lotions too thinly, giving our skin less protection than the sunscreen’s available SPF rating, and we neglect to reapply it as directed by the specific sunscreen that we use.
To receive The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, sun-protective fabrics must have a minimum UPF of 30. They consider a UPF rating of 30-49 to offer very good protection and 50+ excellent protection. Coolibar was the first clothing brand to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. All of our clothing is rated UPF 50+, with protection that will never wash out.
Helen Vong, skin care guru at theskiny.com, came to us with a brilliant SunAWARE idea. “Let’s do a Coolibar UPF 50+ outfit makeover to show how easy it is to be protected from the sun.” Who are we to argue?
“After writing a magazine story about the aging effects of the sun, back in the early spring, I decided that this (now past) summer is going to be year I start changing my ways. Why? Well frankly, I’m getting older and my skin isn’t bouncing back like it did from weekend trips to the cottage.
Like most people I only really wore sunscreen on vacation, and in my twenties, I went on my fair share of sun escapes – and I have the sunspots to prove it. In fact, I’ve got a newly formed speckle on my lower lip that wasn’t there last year (thank you, Ibiza). After age 30 you can’t get away with calling these spots ‘cute freckles’ anymore.
Consider this photo taken last summer at the hotel lobby at the Thompson in Beverly Hills (before picture). At first glance, you’d think I was being sun smart with a wide brimmed hat and long sleeved button up shirt. Truth is, that flimsy hat was a cheapie from Walmart with absolutely no sun filter. The shirt was also a bargain that was useless against the scorching UVA rays (think of the “A” as for aging) I surely soaked in that weekend.
I guess I could’ve wore clothing with sun protection, but I’ve long equated anti-sun clothing as frumpy athletic gear. And who wants to look blah on Rodeo Drive? In retrospect, I wish I knew about Coolibar, back then. This company makes sun-protective apparel look sexy! I particularly fell in love with their sun hats. My dermatologist, Dr. Lisa Kellett, says that size matters when it comes to the brim of an effective sun hat: six inches is the way to go.”
Helen took her look and gave it a UPF 50+ makeover (after picture).
One of Coolibar’s favorite go to stylists Bridgette Raes recently created a blog post on styling the basic white t-shirt. We thought it was such a great idea, our Coolibar stylists translated it to UPF 50+ with our white ZnO Long Sleeve T-Shirt! View our outfit ideas below and you’ll realize UPF 50+ sunwear works with almost any outfit.
Since 2002, Style Expert Bridgette Raes has transformed the wardrobes and styles of hundreds of clients. She is the president of Bridgette Raes Style Group in New York and author of the book Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want. Her witty, down-to-earth and educational advice has made her a sought-after writer, spokesperson and style expert for many media outlets. Now, Bridgette brings her expertise to the Coolibar Blog to show us how to prepare our wardrobe for warmer weather in a trend setting way.
“The warm weather is here! It’s time to get out and enjoy the sun. Getting enough sunshine is important for your health and wellbeing, but too much sun can be very dangerous. With Skin Cancer Awareness month this May, I thought it was important to write a blog that showed you how you can safely enjoy the sun this summer….while still looking fabulous.
I decided to take some of Coolibar’s more popular pieces, all that have UPF 50+ and 98% UV Protection to show you just how easy it can be this summer to look good and care for your skin at the same time.
For this first look, I took Coolibar’s ZnO Harbor Hoodie in a classic navy and white stripe and paired it with some trendy red cropped pants. Colored pants are so popular for summer and the overall look, worn with a pair of metallic wedges and an easy tote offers a timeless nautical style that is perfect for summer, be it for boating, going to the beach, the park or attending a barbecue with friends.
Bright colored tunics and color blocking are two big trends right now. To address both, I took Coolibar’s ZnO Bayside Tunic and paired it with white Bermuda shorts and a pair of bright green sandals. For more protection, I added Coolibar’s very versatile Sun Hat. This is a great look that can be worn for just about anything you may be doing out and about this summer from a day out sightseeing to a casual dinner out with your mate.
For the beach, Coolibar’s Print Ruche Swim Shirt in this trendy zebra print is so exciting. Not only can the chlorine and salt-water resistant swim shirt be cinched up and worn in the water, but it can also be worn as a tunic-length cover-up. For additional sun protection (and style) can throw on Coolibar’s Packable Wide Brim Hat and a pair of their fabulous sunglasses. Yellow is one of the “it” colors for summer. I went with a trendier yellow for that extra punch. Lastly, a black straw bag and you can take from the beach to the street with this two-for-one piece.
In the summer, most of us get outside to exercise. Often when working out we don’t think about how the sun could be damaging our skin. There is a way to look stylish and be sun protected while getting your heart rate up. Coolibar’s Swim Bike Run Jacket that has stylish contrast piping gives you a high performance jacket that can also be worn in the water. Paired with their swim active capris and one of their fabulous hats, I threw in some additional pink accessories to inspire you to get out and get moving…while protecting yourself.
Lastly, a tank top and capri jeans. Who doesn’t have this look in their wardrobe for summer? It is important to point out that if you’re looking to protect yourself from the sun this summer it does not mean that you have to get rid of your entire wardrobe. Coolibar offers great ways to add protection to your existing style. Every woman owns at least one cardigan in her wardrobe. It’s a great piece to grab when you get chilly. I love Coolibar’s ZnO Sun Wrap, particularly in their olive fatigue, which works so well with the most popular color of the summer season, orange!!!! Worn with a pair of sandals, and one of Coolibar’s protective sun hats, you’ll be styling and saving your skin at the same time.”
It’s no secret that the most effective protection against the sun is the protection that you wear.
Ever heard of sunscreen? Of course you have. It’s been around for nearly 90 years. It’s a good form of protection from the sun, but there is one catch to its effectiveness – It must be reapplied every two hours. Sunscreen paired with other forms of protection works wonders, but alone it’s just not enough. For that reason, you won’t find any products with SPF in our top 5.
UPF 50+ clothing and accessories, on the other hand, provide the most effective form of sun protection because there not as much of a commitment as sunscreen ends up being, won’t wash off due to water or sweat, and always applies to UVB and UVA rays.
Still trying to figure out the difference between UPF and SPF? Check out our blog on it.
Follow these 5 tips to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
1. Wear a wide-brimmed hat
Choose a hat with a 3-inch or greater brim to protect your face, scalp, ears and neck.
2. Switch Out Everyday Favorites
Swap everyday favorites for long sleeve UPF 50+ shirts.
3. Add UPF 50+ Coverage
Add coverage to short sleeves when lounging outdoors or performing workouts.
4. Protect Over-Exposed Hands
Keep a spare pair of UPF 50+ gloves in your car to protect your hands.
5. Use Sun Blankets for On-the-Go
Pack a UPF 50+ sun blanket for handy sun protection when you’re out and about.
Warriors Advocate for Skin Cancer Prevention and Protection During a Pandemic
Coolibar launched This is Brave in 2018 when a young girl stepped up and reminded us all of the importance of advocating for and supporting individuals with skin cancer. When Quinn told her brother Graham to Be Brave, she was reminding us all that we can do this! We can battle through and no matter what the outcome might be, we’re better when we can Be Brave together.
In 2020, the third year of our This is Brave campaign and first year as the Official Apparel Partner of the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), our mission remains the same but the need for support is even greater. In the past few months, the world has shifted significantly in terms of patient care, research funding, and non-profit outreach. Key fundraising events like Miles for Melanoma have been postponed, and we’re working with the MRF and our community to find ways to continue funding life-saving research, and support patients and advocates across the country.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime whether there is a pandemic or not. #CancerHasNoCurve. The good news, the MRF and the greater melanoma community continues to be strong and active. Patients and advocates have done everything from taking the message of prevention and protection cross-country, to telling a neighbor to care for their skin and get checked. You are amazing. Everything you’re doing counts!
A lot will change forever in 2020, but the need for skin cancer prevention and protection will not. If you’re able, we’re asking you to support skin cancer awareness and the MRF this May, Melanoma Awareness Month. Here is how you can help:
Read the awe-inspiring stories of our Brave warriors and share them with your friends and family. Awareness can save lives!
Consider donating to the MRF. They’ve created wonderful virtual programs to ensure that the funding for research and education remains strong.
Purchase a 2020 This is Brave UPF 50+ T-Shirt for yourself or send it to someone as a sun-safe gift for a cause. The proceeds go directly to the MRF.
Thank you for all that you do and remember…together we can BE BRAVE!
When Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) entered our lives, it hit us hard. JDM is a rare autoimmune disease in children that causes inflammation and swelling of the muscles and blood vessels under the skin. JDM makes exposure to UV rays more dangerous as the rays intensify rashes caused by the disease. About three in a million children in the US are diagnosed every year. My son Leo is one of them.
We started seeing symptoms of JDM this past summer. Leo first developed canker sores, then complained about soreness in his legs and a rash spread from his face to other parts of his body. As a parent, these symptoms were easy to associate with relatively harmless and easy to fix issues…growing pains, a change in laundry detergent or a reaction to chlorine. Todd is a nurse and didn’t see anything too alarming until the symptoms kept building.
Leo started having pain while eating and became fatigued with low-grade fevers. Thinking he may have a virus or mono, we brought him to our pediatrician who ran a series of labs. As we continued to rule out one thing after another, we moved to x-rays and ultrasounds. The results were unusual enough that our doctor immediately referred us to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Within a month, Leo couldn’t walk, stand up from a chair, get in and out of the car, or even get up and down from his bed. He had lost mobility and we were carrying our sweet seven-year-old boy everywhere. He slept most of the day and was severely dehydrated because he didn’t have the energy to eat or drink. Visually, his rashes were getting worse and he was sullen and pale. We were extremely worried and scared. Leo was our bounce-off-the-walls, sporty spice and his health was continuing to go downhill instead of improving.
A team of doctors including pediatricians, rheumatologists, infectious disease specialists, oncologists, pulmonologists and dermatologists at UCSF worked together for a solid week to discuss what could be wrong with Leo.
Then, July 31st, 2019 came, and we’ll never forget it. That day our team of doctors told us that our child, who had been perfectly healthy for seven years, suddenly had a rare and incurable disease. We were in complete shock. Nothing can prepare you for a diagnosis like that. Our lives changed the instant Juvenile Dermatomyositis was diagnosed.
As with many diseases, early detection and aggressive treatment lead to better outcomes. Leo started right away with high dose steroids, low dose chemotherapy and IVIG (Intravenous Immune Globulin). Because he was so young, we had to teach him how to swallow pills, take shots and tackle explaining the difference between a disease and a virus. We waded through our grief and started to adapt to his needs immediately.
Within two weeks, he was back in the hospital because the chemo drug, which we were administering at home, negatively affected his liver. Our rheumatologists recommended taking that out of his mix but adding two more serious chemo drugs which would be infusions. Unfortunately, these chemo drugs cannot be administered to anyone under 18 in our county. So every two weeks, Leo has had to travel five hours south to San Francisco for infusions.
Today, because of JDM, Leo’s immune system is constantly fighting his body’s own tissues and cells. He’s arthritic in 90% of his joints and his muscle weakness is obvious. He has the classic rash around his eyes (called heliotrope) and abnormal swelling and distortion of the blood vessels around the nail beds. JDM can involve organs also, and unfortunately, Leo’s team found nodules on his lungs making his diagnosis moderate or severe.
Leo not only suffers from extreme fatigue and pain from the disease but also a myriad of side effects from his treatments. He has mood swings, weight gain, indigestion, insomnia, anxiety, nausea and he, for now, he can’t participate in any competitive sports. Between the physical pain and the roller coaster of emotions, our seven-year-old is having to grasp a lot of things he never would have had to cope with otherwise. Leo is rebuilding his endurance and strength and we are hopeful that, with treatments and physical therapy, he will get back to living his best life.
Beyond caring for his body and heart, we worry about his future. The same medications that are fighting his JDM also may cause cataracts, calcifications, osteoporosis, early-onset diabetes, cancer, stunted growth, and infertility. One thing we can protect him against are UV rays which can make his physical symptoms SO much worse. We cover Leo in sunscreen and started using UPF 50+ clothing. We live on the coast and Leo loves the beach, so protecting him while trying to maintain his lifestyle is important.
Past, present and future, his battle is our battle and we face it together as a family. There is no rhyme or reason to this disease and there is no cause or cure, but that won’t get us down. JDM is going to realize we are a force to be reckoned with! Leo has taken it in stride and has taught us so much about strength, perseverance, resilience and bravery.
We are so thankful for our local pediatrician Dr. Sarah Poyen for taking us seriously and getting us out to a larger hospital quickly. And for Dr. Kim and Dr. Soulsby, our amazing rheumatologists, that are guiding us through the tunnel, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Infusion Center, and The Family House for being our home away from home.
JDM is considered an orphan disease, which means not enough of the population is diagnosed to interest the government to research a cure. All research is privately funded and spearheaded by families, providers, community members and CureJM. Leo is actively involved in a research study that is heavily funded by CureJM and CARRA (Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance). We’re hopeful that this study will help researchers identify ways to detect, treat and prevent JDM.
Our request as parents and as part of the greater JDM community is for you to share Leo’s story and educate others about this rare disease. And if you’re able, please consider donating to www.curejm.com to help us find a cure for Leo and many other children like him!
Some of the most common places to be diagnosed with skin cancer – face, scalp, and ears – are located on your head… So choosing to wear a hat, especially one that is UPF 50+, just makes sense. The bigger challenge is trying to figure out when it is most crucial to have one on your noggin.
Reading a Good Book on the Beach
Whether it’s the ocean or poolside, having your favorite read
teamed up with a wide-brim hat is the duo you’ve been looking for. Spend more
time getting into that New York Bestseller and less time worried about the sun.
Hitting Up the Country Club
Have a membership at the local country club? Hours of direct sunlight on the golf course or tennis courts adds up and can be detrimental to your skin health. With the reapplication of sunscreen and a good hat on your head, you should comfortably be able to play 18 holes unscathed by the sun.
Fishing on the Lake
Summer is all about going up to the cabin, taking the boat
out and taking advantage of the good weather. For the big fishers out there
that just love being on the water and lose track of time easily, a hat with
extended coverage is vital because of the straight hours of direct sunlight and
the UV rays reflecting off the water.
Running Errands Around Town
It’s your day off and it has to be spent buying groceries,
stopping by the bank, picking up the kids from school, going to the dentist’s
office and countless other things on your agenda. With all that scheduled for
your day, the accumulated UV rays add up quickly!
Pro tip: Keep a packable sun hat in your car or purse to always be ready for the sun.
Paired with the Perfect Outfit
A very underrated piece of an outfit that can really bring the whole look together is a well-styled hat. There may be no better time to have a perfectly selected wide-brim hat than for a Kentucky Derby party or event!
If you are struggling to find the right one, our team has designed a guide to help you find the perfect hat that works with your face shape.
Taking the Dog for a Walk
Our furry companions need their exercise too, it’s an important part of being a pet owner. With that being said, typically, you’re taking the dog out for a little stroll during the day while UV rays are present. It shouldn’t be a very time-intensive chore to get prepped for a walk! Simply apply a little SPF 30+ sunscreen and a hat… and voilà!
Enjoying the Great Outdoors
This one is for you adventure seekers that love camping in the woods and exploring nature! If you’re the weekend warrior that joins every hiking group they can, you need a great sun hat paired with some long sleeves.
Regardless of the activity, you’re doing and the style you choose, make sure to get in the habit of wearing sunscreen on your face with your hat to help lessen the chances of extreme sun exposure even when wearing a hat .
New year, new you. It’s a phrase we are all very familiar with and tell ourselves every 12 months. In a recent study, they found that approximately 80% of resolutions fail by February.
The secret to successful resolutions is keeping them realistic and attainable in a way that you feel progress from the start. Go for the win by focusing on things that give you emotional satisfaction as well as outward results. So, here are 6 little things you can easily do to feel good and realign goals you’ve been carrying for the last few days, weeks or perhaps even years. But, this year is different because it is YOUR year.
1. Get Outside
Almost every year, it seems like people sign up for a new spin class or a personal trainer at their local gym. They dedicate themselves to it for two months and burn out. Don’t worry about joining a club, just get outside. It can be as simple as going on a 30-minute walk before you start your day to going on a quick bike ride around the neighborhood in the afternoon. The fresh air will recharge you! Don’t sacrifice your skin though. Keep sun-safe and cool in a hat and UPF 50+ clothes made for fitness, like those that have cooling technology built in.
2. Sign Up for a Lesson or Class
Never too old to learn a few new tricks! An always popular choice is taking up golf or tennis. Just make sure to cover up for all that added sun exposure! Other ideas could be learning a new language or picking up a new computer skill. You’ll never regret owning an abundance of diverse skills later in life.
3. Rekindle Important Relationships
Life gets crazy. It’s inevitable. But NEVER lose sight of, or become too busy for, your friends and family. Make one phone call a week with a distant friend; simply inviting family over once a month for dinner (delivered if you’re not into cooking); that’s all it takes. once a week, to simply inviting family over once a month for dinner, that’s all it takes, and it goes a very long way. At the end of the day, the relationships we have are more valuable than anything imaginable.
4. Take Care of Your Skin
This is one we are really challenging you to this upcoming year. How often are you consciously thinking about the amount of sun exposure you are receiving every day? Whether you are in the car or at work, there are so many sneaky ways that we are exposing ourselves to UV rays! A good habit to start as soon as possible is applying a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 daily. Afraid of needing to reapply or having an oily feel to your skin? Choose UPF 50+ clothing that blocks out 98% of UV rays and never washes out!
5. Indulge Once a Week
A classic resolution, like dieting, can be extremely tricky, hence the reason it is a reoccurring challenge. One of the secrets is balance and easing into it. Start by dedicating 5 days a week of healthier food choices and then rewarding yourself with a cheat meal. If you become too obsessed with it right away you will become miserable, and nobody wants to associate food with misery. If you are struggling with figuring out where to start, here’s a great beginners guide to understanding food.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Be good to yourself. Do nice things for yourself. Reward yourself for all your hard work. We can get so caught up in our jobs or daily chores and forget to take care of ourselves. Need a spa day? Have it. You’ve been looking at that new bike for a while? Get it. That tropical vacation you’ve had your eye on? Book it. Try and do one thing completely for yourself at least once a week.
New Year’s is an end and a beginning. It allows you to turn the page and focus on the new goals you’ve just created for yourself. But remember, all of this depends on you and how ready you are to commit. Make the most of 2020. We are all rooting for you!
We were as disappointed as you are to find this out. In fact, the common forms we develop are what also affect them – melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Although most dog breeds are at risk, Jill Abraham, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist in New York City, told the Skin Cancer Foundation that the ones with “light-colored, short coats and less hair on the belly” are the most vulnerable. Before you start slathering sunscreen on your dog (Yes, you can put sunscreen on a dog), there are a few tips to help your furry companion live a safer life in the sun.
Limit Sun Exposure
Like us, dogs can get sunburned. Ever notice when a dog’s skin looks a little red after coming back inside? Sunburn. We all know how much they love laying out in the backyard sunbathing in the grass, but limiting the amount of time they have in direct sunlight during the strongest hours (between 10am and 4pm) is crucial. Helping encourage them to shady areas is a very good compromise to beating the sun.
A dog’s skin can be damaged by the sun just like our own, so they require the same protection against the development of sunburn and skin cancer.
Richard Goldstein, DVM and Chief Medical Officer of the Animal Medical Center (PetMD)
Here’s a video from Banfield Pet Hospital to cover the rest of the important basics to know about sunscreen and dogs:
Sun Protective Clothing
Hear us out on this one. For the pets with no escape from the sun, you could use some of your older UPF 50+ tops and wrap it around them or even see if it fits without too much struggle. It might sound a little ridiculous, but even Dr. Abraham thinks it’s a viable option. And to be honest, it is always cute to see a dog running around in a t-shirt.
When it comes to our loyal buddies, keeping them safe is a no brainer! One of the biggest final tips on dog skincare is just building up the consciousness of knowing when your dog is receiving too much sun. Now get out there, grab a Frisbee and enjoy a sun-safe life with your loving, furry best friend.