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Experts Say

What’s the Difference Between SPF and UPF?

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.

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Experts Say

Make Sunglasses Part of Your Sun Protective Wardrobe

Did you know that sunglass lens protection can diminish over time? According to the latest research on glasses, lenses can expire, like food in the refrigerator, and protection can go bad. That’s why the right lenses matter for long -term eye health. UV rays bounce from sidewalks, water surfaces and penetrate car windows, causing long-term damage, like cataracts.

Don’t forget that UVA rays dominate year-round. These are the burning rays that penetrate clouds, glass, and our deep tissue layers. They are also the culprits that cause macular degeneration and cataracts. It may sound surprising, but even eyes, like skin, can easily sunburn. If your eyes have ever felt itchy and scratchy after being in the sun, you’be most likely had sunburn on your eyes.

Having a sunburn on your eye is one thing but, there are other things that can affect your eyes too. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, eyelid skin cancer accounts for 5-10% of all skin cancers. It’s important to wear eyewear with maximum UV protection, blocking 100% of UV rays and wear a wide brim hat when spending time outdoors.

We recommend quality lenses in stylish designs that provide proper coverage and suggest the following 4 brands on coolibar.com:

Costa: Created by a group of hardcore fisherman who spent their days exploring the globe. Costa’s mission is to create the clearest sunglasses on the planet for the life’s great adventures.

Serengeti: Known for developing state of the art technology, all Serengeti sunglasses are photochromatic and constantly adjust throughout the day to changing light conditions.

Eyebobs: A line of distinctive, high-quality reading glasses for the irreverent and slightly jaded, Eyebobs was created on the notion that you should not be doomed to wander the racks of drugstore readers in search of the least offensive pair.

Kaenon: Kaenon was founded by two brothers who were unsatisfied with the sunglasses available on the market. Determined to create something better, they developed the proprietary polarized SR-91® lens — the world’s first non-compromising polarized lens. The sunglasses Kaenon created were quickly adopted by world-class athletes ranging from sailing to golf, from baseball to fishing.

Be mindful of year-round UBA and protect your eyes–and skin–from burns.

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Experts Say

What are ultraviolet rays?

Scientifically speaking, UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. These wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB, or UVC.

UV Radiation and Skin Cancer
By damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have identified UV as a proven human carcinogen. UV radiation is considered the main cause of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSC), including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). These cancers strike more than a million Americans each year. Many experts believe that, especially for fair-skinned people, UV radiation also frequently plays a key role in melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. One person each hour dies from melanoma.

UVA Rays
Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our lifetime. UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year and can penetrate clouds and glass.
UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and is responsible for skin aging, wrinkling (photoaging) and breaking down collagen. Recent studies over the past two decades show that UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. (Basal and squamous cells are types of keratinocytes.) UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers.
UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer. Tanning booths primarily emit UVA. The high-pressure sunlamps used in tanning salons emit doses of UVA as much as 12 times that of the sun. Not surprisingly, people who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.

UVB Rays
UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photoaging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

 

If you’d like to read more information about ultraviolet rays visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website.

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Experts Say

How much sun does a regular shirt block?

There’s a reason why UPF 50+ clothing is becoming more popular with all ages. Clothing is a physical barrier between your skin and the sun and you might as well use it to your advantage. Not all clothing is created equally. There are many factors that can make certain clothing able to block UV rays better than others. The tightness of the weave, weight, type of fiber, color, and the amount of skin covered all affect the amount of protection that a garment can provide.

UPF is different than the SPF rating. They are not used in the same way and make sure you know the difference to keep yourself protected from the sun. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor and is the rating system used for clothing and fabrics. The UPF indicates how much of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays are absorbed. A fabric with the rating of 50 will only allow 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. All Coolibar clothes are rated at UPF 50+ meaning that 98% of both UVA and UVB rays will be blocked. This reduces your exposure significantly.

SPF stands for sun protection factor and it is the rating that they give to sunscreens. It measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden. UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin. Time allotted does not matter for UPF rated fabrics, the rating has to to do with how much UV radiation can penetrate the fabric only. Make sure to check to see if your sunscreen is broad spectrum because SPF ratings do not tell you if the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays some only block the UVB rays.

As a rule, light-colored, lightweight and loosely woven fabrics do not offer much protection from the sun. That white shirt you slip on at the beach when you feel your skin burning provides only moderate protection from sunburn, with an average ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7. The sun protection lowers to an approximate UPF of 3 when that shirt gets wet.

At Coolibar, we take protection seriously. Our proprietary fabrics block 98% of UVA and UVB rays, look good, wear well, and are guaranteed for a lifetime. No detail is too small for Coolibar, starting with those teeny tiny sun-bouncing minerals embedded in every single teeny tiny fiber and crafted into sun-stopping prints and styles. Trust our UPF 50+ fabrics to protect your right to play in the sun. Our fabrics are made in a way that they remain lightweight and comfortable but still provide the sun protection you need.

Tested more than any other fabric, endorsed by experts worldwide and recommended by dermatologists. Coolibar guarantees the UPF 50+ protection from the first day our product is worn until the very last day. Our fabrics are thoroughly tested at independent labs to ensure each product exceeds our UPF 50+ standard.

Coolibar was the first clothing to be recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. To receive The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, sun-protective fabrics must have a minimum UPF of 30. We consider a UPF rating of 30-49 to offer very good protection and 50+ excellent protection. Remember not all UPF clothing is created equally, pay attention to wash out, testing practices, and what UPF rating they have.

Sources:

Skin Cancer Foundation

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Behind The Design

5 New Items from Spring That You’ll Love

Our new spring collection is here and we couldn’t be more excited to tell you about some of our favorite items.

Lace-Up Rash Guard:

With a detailed lace-up neckline and a slightly fitted design, it might be easy to forget the sun protective benefits this Long Sleeve Swimshirt has to offer. Made from our quick-drying, lightweight, UPF 50+ Aqua Suntect fabric, which is salt water and chlorine resistant, this rash guard mixes guaranteed UPF 50+ sun protective features like thumbholes for the delicate skin on your hands, with sophisticated style for an easy transition from recreational swim to lunch at the bistro. Offering the UV protection you depend on, this sporty rash guard is a versatile swimwear staple you will want to add to your rotation.

Shoulder Lace-Up Dress:

Made of buttery soft material, our Shoulder Lace-Up Dress is a fresh take on one of your favorite styles. With an asymmetrical crew neckline and prominent lace up detail, you will look sharp for any occasion but remain cool enough for the hottest summer day. Perfect as a poolside bathing suit cover up but worthy of a garden party, this smartly casual lace up dress is sun protection that is just what the doctor ordered.

Ruche Cowl Neck:

Sure to become your favorite sun protection piece, you will love this Ruche Cowl Neck for the perfect blend of UV coverage and overall attractiveness. Keep the sun off your back (and neck) in style with the asymmetrical rushing that ties at your right hem and a cowl that becomes a cool loose hood to shield your face in an instant. This sporty cowl neck pullover is easily worn for comfortably soft everyday attire, but designed with non-restrictive French terry fabric and thumbholes for an impromptu bike ride!

Chambray Tunic Top:

Easy to dress up or down, our versatile and flattering the Chambray Tunic Top is a classic piece with our sun protective twist. Smartly tailored with a button placket at the neck, roll-up sleeves with button tabs, and chest pockets with a secure button flap, our women’s chambray shirt provide relaxing comfort with stylish elegance. Perfect for every day and made for travel, this lightweight shirt is velvety soft, forgiving and best of all, machine washable.With UPF sun protective coverage woven right into the fibers, you’ll delight in the effortless sunscreen benefit while you enjoy the outdoors worry-free. Comfortable and lightweight to keep you cool, this easy to style Tencel denim top is soft-washed for a vintage work shirt look and easily layered.

Asymmetrical Brim Hat:

Lean back in your lounge chair with ease and relax in the shade of sun coverage with our Asymmetrical Brim Hat designed for coverage, without compromising your comfort, the graduated brim of these sun shade hats provides a larger brim of full shade coverage in the front, with a smaller brim in back, making it ideal to sit in a beach chair effortlessly. The satin ribbon accent bow at the crown is a subtle nod to classic elegance which lends itself well to the versatility of your style. You’ll be able to read all day while relaxing in your favorite beach chair.

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