About 8 years ago, I went to the beach around 2:00 PM with a very good friend I had not seen in several years. Needless to say, we had a LOT to catch up on. I wore a comfortable two-piece bathing suit and brought my pop-up tent, because the Florida beach at 2:00 PM in the middle of May is just not a pleasant place to be without some shade. Comfortable under our shady tent and with sunscreen applied upon our arrival, we chatted for hours. The shade however, had been quite deceiving. Back then, I was not a board-certified dermatology nurse practitioner yet, so I was not fully aware of the nuances of sun protection, like the fact that UV rays can reach our skin from all directions.
Another fun fact I was not aware of at the time was that all shade is not created equally. Different types of canopies vary in their protectiveness owing to differences in materials, size, and variations in design. Your standard pop-up beach canopy may state that it is 99% UV protective, but unlike UV-protective clothing, shade like a beach tent or umbrella does not block all of the angles that damaging UV rays can reach the skin.
A common reason many people (including myself 8 years ago) forgo sun-protective clothing is because they forget about the presence of UV rays that reflect off of the sand and water. According to the World Health Organization, dry beach sand reflects about 15% of UV rays, and sea foam reflects about 25%. Still other UV rays are diffused by atmospheric particles. I bet you were not thinking about atmospheric particles when you were packing for your beach day.
People often assume that their skin is fully protected as long as they are either under the shade of an umbrella or slathered with sunscreen. Studies have been done that specifically evaluate the UV protectiveness of a beach umbrella and directly compare it with protection provided by sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF).
In one of these studies, participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups: 1 group of 41 participants was sent to the beach with only a beach umbrella, and the other group of 40 participants using only sunscreen with a SPF of 100. All participants remained at the sunny beach for 3½ hours at midday.
Clinical sunburn evaluation of each individual for all exposed body sites was conducted 22 to 24 hours after sun exposure. The results were impactful. There was a total of 142 sunburn incidences in the umbrella group and 17 in the sunscreen group. These results are a clear indication of the importance of having a multifaceted approach to sun protection and not getting too comfortable just because you have shade at the beach or slathered yourself in high-SPF sunscreen.
I don’t feel too guilty though about having put too much faith in my shady easy-up canopy, sunscreen and still ending up with a sunburn. While 25% of Americans frequently stay in the shade, only 16% regularly wear a hat, and 6% report frequently wearing long sleeves. Although I was not aware of it at the time, the literature has shown that barrier methods like clothing and shade are more effective than sunscreen alone in reducing exposure to solar UV radiation.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why even if you are under a pop-up tent, beach umbrella or sun shade covered in sunscreen, you should still protect yourself with a clothing barrier. Put on your Coolibar UPF 50+ sun-protective clothing, apply your sunscreen on any exposed areas, and don’t forget to re-apply every 2 hours (or sooner if you are sweating or after you go for a dip).
My story ends with me learning a valuable lesson: Protecting your skin from all angles at the beach is a must, regardless of whether or not you are sitting in the shade. Even if sunscreen annoys you or makes you feel sticky, protect yourself with UPF 50+ clothing. The best barrier to the sun is physical barrier on your skin.
Linos, E., Keiser, E., Fu, T., Colditz, G., Chen, S., & Tang, J. Y. (2011). Hat, shade, long sleeves, or sunscreen? Rethinking US sun protection messages based on their relative effectiveness. Cancer causes & control : CCC, 22(7), 1067–1071. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10552-011-9780-1
Ou-Yang, Jiang, L. I., Meyer, K., Wang, S. Q., Farberg, A. S., & Rigel, D. S. (2017). Sun Protection By Beach Umbrella Vs Sunscreen With A High Sun Protection Factor: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Dermatology., 153(3), 304–308. Https://Doi.Org/10.1001/Jamadermatol.2016.4922
I recently tried Coolibar’s UPF 50+ sun protective clothing, which is guaranteed to block 98% of UVA/UVB rays. Self-care to me means massages and pedicures, but in reality it also means taking care of yourself even when it is hard. For example, I booked an appointment with a dermatologist, recently, because I had a spot on my shoulder that was itchy. It wasn’t a mole, it was a pink spot that wasn’t going away. In my gut I knew I needed to get it checked out even though I had every excuse not to go. I had a 2 month old baby and toddler at home, so getting out was very hard! But, I remembered hearing that itchy spots on the skin could be cancer, so I went in.
As soon as the dermatologist examined the spot, she suspected it to be skin cancer. She sent in a biopsy to get it checked out. She confirmed, I had basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. It was difficult to hear that I had cancer. I was scared! I booked an appointment to have Mohs surgery, where they remove the unhealthy layers of skin until they get to the healthy layers. The surgery was approximately 20-30 minutes in total and the recovery process was about 10 days. The remaining scar is a continuous reminder to me to always protect myself in the sun!
I am thankful for the experience because I’m more mindful of how I protect myself, and my family from the sun. One of the best ways is wearing sun protective clothing. Coolibar’s UPF 50+ clothing is guaranteed to block 98% of UVA/UVB rays and helps you stay comfortable in the sun.
When my 8-year-old daughter, Rowan, was little, she would go up to people on the street to tell them all about her life: her latest adventures, her dreams of running a museum, an animal rescue, being a famous singer and on and on. Then and now, she wants to be seen and to be able to tell her story. Gorlin syndrome is part of her story.
Rowan was diagnosed with Gorlin syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, when she was 5 years old. After a couple of years bouncing around to various doctors for odd things and monitoring bumps on her face and body, a pediatric dermatologist biopsied one of them and determined it was a basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a type of skin cancer associated with Gorlin syndrome. Gorlin syndrome is also known as Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome (NBCCS) due to the proliferation of BCCs in affected individuals.
Our family was floored, unsure of how to navigate all the doctor’s appointments, protocols, new recommendations, treatment options, and our mental health. Our diagnosing dermatologist suggested we connect with the Gorlin Syndrome Alliance (GSA), a patient advocacy organization focused on building community, seeking better treatments, and improving the quality of life of those affected by Gorlin syndrome.
Connecting with the GSA has been a beautiful silver lining, as we have met incredible people who have supported Rowan and our family on this journey. Rowan met another girl with Gorlin syndrome, who gave her a stuffed elephant that she treasures; it reminds her that she is not alone.
In Rowan’s first surgery, she had about two dozen BCCs removed from her face and body. Since then, she has had over 1000 BCCs treated in a variety of ways, from excision and laser removals to photo dynamic therapy and a variety of topical creams. She also sees a genetic counselor as well as numerous other specialists, and has maintained her outgoing demeanor, even crafting elaborate mazes on paper for her doctors.
Nothing will fully stop the unrelenting growth of her BCCs but reducing UV exposure from sunlight is crucial to minimizing her BCC burden. High SPF sunscreen and sunblock only provide so much protection; but UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing is best. Coolibar offers kids clothing that protects her with the highest rated UPF 50+ that blocks 98% of UVA/UVB rays. Rowan wears sun hats, sunscreen, and UPF clothing every day. Coolibar’s sun hats have at least a 3” wide brim to protect her scalp, ears, neck and face from the sun.
Gorlin syndrome and UV protection is a big part of her life, but Coolibar helps it be a smaller part, so she can focus on being the amazing, outgoing, inspiring, strong-willed kid that she is. Rowan is heading into her 3rd grade year at French American International School this year, and she has so much of her story ahead of her. I can’t wait to experience her impact on the world — she’s just getting started.
Protecting your skin with a physical barrier like clothing is one of the most simple and effective ways to prevent sun damage, though not all clothing is created equal. Understanding the UPF meaning and rating system is critical when shopping for sun protective clothing.
Dealing with the aftermath of a sunburn from a long day at the beach can not only be painful and uncomfortable, but it can cause internal damage and increase your risk of skin cancer. Preventing sunburn doesn’t have to involve greasy sunscreen and reapplication schedules. We’ll cover the definition of UPF sun protection, UPF vs. SPF, and the best clothing for sun protection so you can enjoy the outdoors safely.
You’ve probably noticed rash guards on more and more people at the beach, but did you know that there are nearly endless options for clothing that protects from the sun? So, what does UPF mean exactly, and what does it stand for? It stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is the rating system used for fabrics. The higher the rating, the better the fabric’s protection against the sun’s spectrum of UV (ultraviolet) rays that can harm our skin.
There are different electromagnetic waves around us all the time. All waves have energy and some are natural while other are man-made. Some are harmful and while others are not so harmful.
Ultraviolet spectrum is a part of the electromagnetic waves that are not visible and are produced naturally. They are harmful to the skin, and we need to protect ourselves from them.
If we don’t protect ourselves from these UV rays, energies from ultraviolet rays / waves can pierce through our skin and reach different cell parts affecting our chromosomes. The cells then behave abnormally, and the new cell creation are not in control, thus causing cancer.
Quality UPF clothing is made with UV wavelength in mind, preventing dangerous levels of UV from reaching your body.
Later, we’ll go over the difference between SPF and UPF, one of the most common questions surrounding this topic. Aside from seeking shade at the beach, having UV protection of 50+ in your clothing is the best way to prevent sun damage for you and your entire family.
Easy to Use
Works Wet or Dry
What is UPF Rating
UPF rating is a system made to help users understand their clothing’s level of protection. At this point you are probably wondering what the numbers actually mean. What is UPF 50 compared to UPF 10? The numbers in the rating indicate how much of the sun’s UV rays are absorbed by the fabric, thus preventing them from reaching your skin.
UPF is followed by a number, ex. UPF 50 means 1 out of 50 portion of the UV reaches the body. This means 1/50= 2%
If the product is mentioned as UPF 10, it means 1 out of 10 portion = 10% of the UV rays reaches the body.
UPF 20= 1/20 = 5%. 95% UV reaches the skin
UPF 30 = 1/30 = 3.3%
UPF 40 = 1/25 = 2.5%
UPF 50 is considered a good level of protection, i.e. only 2% reaches your body.
Does only a percent or a half percent makes a big difference? The answer depends on how long would you be exposed to UV rays. A small percentage difference for long period of time is significant.
Difference Between UPF and SPF
Let’s take a look at the difference between SPF and UPF. UPF is a rating system used exclusively for sun protection offered by clothing, while SPF (sun protection factor) is a rating system used solely for sunscreen. Similar to UPF, the higher the SPF rating, the better the sun protection for your skin. The most important differences between the two are listed below.
UPF is the standard rating for clothing, while SPF is the standard rating for sunscreen
UPF applies to both UVA and UVB rays, while sunscreen applies to UVB rays only
UPF should not need to be reapplied to ensure protection, while sunscreen does
4 Things You Need to Know About UPF Protection
Not all clothing can be made UPF 50+.
UV protection is better achieved with tight weaving/ knit, thick yarn, dark colors. It should not allow UV rays that have wavelength of UVA (315-400 nm) UVB (280-315 nm) to pass through the micro holes between the yarn.
Challenge: Not comfortable, heavy, does not let sweat pass through and limited color choices. Comfortable fabrics are normally light, thin.
Mesh fabric or loosely knitted / woven fabric cannot be used. Sometimes two layers of fabric or lining are used in hats to make sure that the UV rays do not reach the head.
Challenge: How to make a fabric that is both UV protection, comfortable and have all the colors like any other elegant clothing.
To achieve both, we have to study different fabrics and test it under a UV testing machine to find the right option. Many clothing company trust the fabric vendors who may or may not test the fabric well before the use, or it may not be tested regularly to assure that all the lots of fabric used are really UPF 50+. At Coolibar, we have tested many garments with this claim and sadly only 50% of them passed the real UPF 50+.
UPF Ratings Do Not Exceed 50+
UPF can exceed 50. UPF 50+ has a + sign which has a very significant meaning. It means over 50. This could be 100% coverage, i.e. not even a single portion reaches the body.
If a fabric allows only 1% of UV reaches the body, then it is 1/100 which is equal to UPF100. If it allows only 0.5%, then the rating is UPF200
Why is it not specifically called out? Currently, there isn’t an official rating for clothing that completely blocks all UVA/UVB rays, so the maximum rating given to any fabric with a UPF rating higher than 50 is 50+.
Coolibar is the world leader in UPF 50+ fabric technology, so you can guarantee you are getting maximum sun protection with every purchase. Some of our fabrics even block out 100% of UVA and UVB rays! Be cautious of any clothing brand that lists a rating greater than 50. Neither of those are accurate or official ratings for fabrics.
Maximum rating is currently 50+
Coolibar offers the highest rated sun protection clothing
Watch out for brands claiming ratings above 50
UPF Washes Out of Some Brands
UPF can wash out. Cotton fabric shrinks after multiple washes, the holes between the yarn get smaller so there’s more UPF than before. If the garment is not well handled and gets stretched through different washing or drying process, the holes can become bigger and looses its properties.
Some fabric cannot achieve the UPF 50+ without a certain chemical treatment, especially light fabric, some fabric composition and specific light colors. If these chemicals are not well locked into the fabric construction at the time of manufacturing, and comes out after the wash, then the UPF level will fall.
Instead, purchase confidently with our industry-leading fabrics. At Coolibar, our sun protective clothing blocks 98% of UVA/UVB rays and never washes or wears out, no matter how much you sweat or swim.
Look for active ingredients infused in every fiber
Avoid spray ons or laundry aides
Coolibar’s sun protection never washes out
Look for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation
You have options when it comes to UPF clothing, but not all companies are backed by the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. It’s crucial to look for this seal, especially if you’re shopping for clothing for working in the sun or clothing for long days at the beach.
The Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal is trusted worldwide, indicating safe and effective sun protection, and Coolibar was the first clothing company to receive it. To meet this recommendation, fabrics must have a minimum of UPF 30 protection. Coolibar goes above and beyond Skin Cancer Foundation-approved clothing with all products rated 50+.
Skin Cancer Foundation’s Recommendation awarded for safe sun products
UPF Clothing Must be at Least a 30 Rating
Coolibar’s Products Are the Highest Rated UPF 50+
Seek Out Brands That Rigorously Test Their UPF Products
Aside from the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal, continuous product testing is necessary to maintain product integrity year after year. Sadly, this is an overlooked step for many clothing companies.
Look for brands who specialize in UPF clothing and have been focused on this as their main business mission for many years. There are brands who carry UPF clothing but it is only a small part of their brand and they do not take it that seriously.
At Coolibar, UPF is what we do. Brands that know UPF inside and out can explain their manufacturing and testing processes. They have the necessary tools and team to control their fabric and product process. It is worth paying extra money for reliability.
Brands with no obvious background in sun safety and claim to sell low price UPF 50+ clothing should not be trusted. It can be very dangerous. If you wear these types of clothing regularly, you may end up regretting it when you have to visit your dermatologist.
We have a rigorous testing process for all our fabrics. We test multiple times against the world’s highest rating standards for UV transmittance and safety. We also perform life cycle tests to ensure that even after laundering, exposure to sunlight, and chlorinated water, your Coolibar clothing offers the same sun protection.
UV Transmittance and Safety Testing
Life Cycle Testing
Coolibar’s Fabrics All Meet the World’s Highest UPF Standards
Why is Coolibar the Best Sun Protective Clothing Brand?
Coolibar’s 100% business is Sun Protection products for different users. We’ve been in the business for more than 20 years and all users have appreciated our reliability.
We have invested in multiple UV testing machines and all our offices throughout the world have these machines. Each machines cost more than $30,000.
Each fabric lots are tested at the time of approval for first usage and then each lot of fabric for bulk production thereafter. We allow the vendors to cut the fabric only when the test is done. We can trace each garment back to each lot of fabric used.
Before selecting a fabric to be used in our styles, we test the fabric before wash for UPF 50+, then we do 40 cycles of wash and expose it to 100 hours of xenon light simulating real sunlight and then retest again for UPF 50+. We can confidently say that our UPF50+ is guaranteed for lifetime of the garment.
We also take into consideration the design of the products. For example, to help manage perspiration, we use mesh fabric in our clothing but not in places where there is direct exposure to sunlight. We add technical features such as thumb hole, high collar, etc. to provide extra sun protection.
Shop Coolibar’s High Quality, Technical, Elegant Sun Protection You Wear
Whether you are embracing the Coastal Grandmother trend or shopping for a new look for your next garden party, Coolibar has you covered with the highest rated UPF 50+ clothing on the market. You don’t need to sacrifice style or comfort with our highly technical and elegant clothing for the entire family.
Coolibar is the industry leader in UPF fabric technology, trusted and recommended by dermatologists worldwide. Discover more sun safety tips on our blog from our team of experts!
Long days at the beach can be incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating, but they can also wreak havoc on your skin. What’s more, keeping up your sunscreen regimen can be challenging, especially with young children.
Since most beaches aren’t covered with shady trees, you will need to create your own shade! There are three significant sources of beach shade you can bring with you to keep you and your family covered while enjoying the sun and sand.
Applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher
Cover your skin by wearing lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses. Select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) for more effective production
Seeking out shade, especially when the sun is at its strongest between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm
Most remember to apply sunscreen and sun protective swimwear, especially when it comes to young people. But they don’t always seek out shade! Coolibar has got you covered…literally. Here are some beach shade ideas for your next vacation in the sun.
DIY Beach Sun Shade Ideas
Shady Wide-Brimmed Hats
First and foremost, protection starts at the top. You need a hat! The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a hat with a brim of at least three inches to shade your scalp, neck, shoulders, and upper back, along with easily overlooked places like the tops of the ears and back of the neck.
There are many fashion hats out there made with materials that allow UV Rays to penetrate the fabric and reach the skin, but with a UPF 50+ hat, you don’t have to worry about it! Here are some of our tried and true favorites:
Second on our list of convenient sun shade options is the beach umbrella. The Intego beach umbrella is made with rigorously tested, highest-rated UPF 50+ material and is even tilt adjustable to maximize sun blockage. You can be sure it will last you for many beach trips with the following technical features:
Easy to transport
Effectively provides shade for up to two people
Stay cool and protected with Coolibar’s UPF 50+ beach umbrella, a sunshade you can transport wherever your next adventure takes you.
Tiny Home on the Beach
A beach canopy or tent is usually made up of four posts with a piece of fabric on top and is an excellent option for a larger group of people. There’s really no limit to how large you can make it, so you can feel confident that your children are getting adequate shade. Beach canopies require just a few materials, are easily packable, and can be made in various sizes and heights, depending on your needs. Below are the materials you’ll utilize to create a beach canopy of your own.
Posts: we recommend using four posts anchored vertically in the sand as the base. You can use tent poles or even sticks found along the beach!
Fabric: for the best protection, use a dark or dense material such as canvas or woven cloth.
Clamps: you’ll need four clamps or another type of fastener to secure the fabric to the posts.
Towels or Chairs: enjoy a snooze or a snack in the shade under your newly created beach canopy!
If you’re not looking to create your own, many Coolibar customers love the Shibumi Shade. It’s lightweight, easy to set up, and can provide shade for the whole family.
Now that you’ve learned about the importance of sunshades, check out Coolibar’s blog for more sun-safe tips and shop their selection of Sun Protection You Wear.
Protect Your Skin at the Beach with Coolibar
Whether you choose to DIY at the beach or purchase one of your own to use for many years to come, a sunshade is a must for your next warm weather getaway. You’ll not only have a spot for everyone to gather, but you’ll keep your skin covered and have a chance to cool off from the sun. With so many varieties of sunshades, there’s one to fit every situation.
You’ve probably noticed the athletic-style shirts on people at the beach or pool and wondered what it’s for. So what is a rash guard? Its purpose is so much more than just a functional piece of clothing to wear around water and protect you from the sun.
You might be wondering why it is called a rash guard in the first place. Rash guards are shirts that were originally developed for surfers who experienced irritation to the skin from sand and residue on their surfboards. They continue to be a popular choice for surfers and lifeguards due to their comfort and high performance.
Rash guards are no longer just for surfers. They are a versatile piece of clothing for all family members, whether boating, swimming, or just hanging out in the sand and sun. Below are three top benefits they provide.
Rash Protection:no need to worry about chafing and rashes, as the tight-fitting rash guard is an extra layer of protection for your skin
Sun Protection: they offer coverage from the sun, so your skin will be protected from harmful UV rays
Breathability: they are made with a combination of fabrics, providing comfort, breathability, and ease of movement
Best Rash Guard for Every Person In Your Life
Rash guards are versatile pieces of clothing for any outdoor occasion. Maybe you love to snorkel or just enjoy spending time on the beach reading a book. Whatever activities you prefer, extra protection and comfort will keep you and your family looking and feeling your best.
Best Rash Guard for Women
Rash guards provide fierce protection and functionality. They make a wonderful gift, and with a range of beautiful colors and prints, you really can’t go wrong! Read about free diver Ashleigh Baird’s review of our Coolibar Quick Zip Rash Guard, and see more of our women’s rash guard styles below.
Whether you are a water sports fanatic or just spend a lot of time outdoors, rash guards are the best outdoor clothing choice for men. They are perfect for long days outside spent working on the lawn or leisure activities like playing a round of golf.
The sporty designs feature high performance in cooling and sweating-wicking properties. We offer a variety of colors and styles for men. Here are some of our favorites:
Rash guards are especially great for kids because of the sun coverage and protection. There is no need to worry about keeping their entire bodies lathered up with sunscreen when they’re in and out of the water.
A long sleeve guard reduces exposed skin to the elements. Your children will also love the range of bright colors and prints. Shop some of our top kids’ styles at the links below.
Since the purpose of rash guards is so varied, there is really no limit to when one should be worn. Their protection from sun, sand, and rashes makes them an excellent addition to any beach day. Some activities that are especially great for wearing this protective layer are:
Water Sports: they are perfect for wearing out on the water for activities like water skiing, tubing, surfing, and wakeboarding. Not only will you be protected from sun damage and skin irritation, but you will be protecting yourself from skin irritation while staying sun safe.
Beach Sports: long days on the sand playing beach volleyball or other beach sports can wreak havoc on your skin. Be prepared by wearing a beach rash guard to defend against damaging UV rays and irritation from the sand. Their sweat-wicking properties make them the ideal gear for all beach sports.
Other Sports: if you spend extended amounts of time doing other outdoor sports like running, golfing, or biking, rash guards may be a solution you might not have considered. Their sun protection and sweat-wicking properties will keep you safe and comfortable.
Yard Work: this is another excellent solution for anyone who does a lot of outdoor work. Even just regularly mowing the lawn can cause damage to your skin. Getting in the habit of wearing your rash guard for doing work outside can significantly impact your overall skin health.
Other Common Questions Around Rash Guards
Before we dive into the best rash guards for everyone in the family, let’s tackle some common questions that come up.
Does a rash guard protect you from the sun?
Getting a sunburn at the beach is never fun, but there are plenty of ways to prevent sunburn. Rash guard clothing from Coolibar provides a physical barrier from the sun and comes with the added benefit of having UPF protection built into the fabric. At Coolibar, our world-leading fabric offers the highest level of UPF protection and is guaranteed to block 98% of UVA and UVB rays.
Are rash guard shirts hot?
Unlike wetsuits, rash guards are not meant to keep your body warm. They are not as thick as wetsuits, so they do not trap body heat as well. They actually can have a cooling effect on the body because of their material and how tight they lay on your skin.
What are rash guard shirts made of?
Since the purpose of rash guard shirts is to prevent rashes and protect you from the sun, they are generally made of athletic fabrics like polyester, nylon, lycra, and spandex. These materials are soft, durable, and lightweight while allowing for breathability and stretch to maximize your comfort.
What do you wear with a rash guard?
What to wear with a rash guard is most often a matter of personal preference. However, since they’re generally worn during outdoor activities, we recommend pairing it with other UPF clothing items to ensure maximum sun protection, such as:
Explore Rash Guards And Sun Protection Clothing From Coolibar
Long gone are the days when rash guards were only worn by surfers, and for good reason! They keep your skin healthy and protected from the sun’s harmful rays so you can make the most of your time outdoors.
At Coolibar, we know that the amount of sun protection options on the market can be overwhelming and leave you with a lot of questions like if SPF 30 vs. 50 is better for your skin.
Whether you love spending all your free time outside at the beach or you just venture out for the occasional picnic or hike, sun protection is essential. UVA and UVB sun rays can damage your skin, causing sunburns and wrinkles, and increasing your risk of cancer. That’s why understanding the difference between SPF 30 and 50 is necessary to properly protect yourself from damaging sun exposure.
Learn more about how to safely enjoy your time outdoors with our 10 tips for sun protection. It covers how to apply sunscreen correctly and alternative sun protection options to ensure you and your loved ones are always shielded from the sun’s damaging rays.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The SPF rating number tells us how much of the sun’s harmful rays will reach our skin while using the sunscreen according to the directions. The higher the SPF rating, the more UV sun rays are blocked. So, the most straightforward answer to whether there is a difference between SPF 30 and 50 is yes!
But what are UV rays exactly? UV stands for ultraviolet. UV rays are invisible beams of light from the sun that can damage our skin. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB.
UVArays from the sun do not cause sunburns, but they can cause wrinkling and other skin-aging effects. While some sunscreens protect against UVA rays, the SPF rating does not measure this.
UVBrays are those pesky ones that burn our skin and can lead to cancer. All SPF sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but check your sunscreen to make sure it says “broad spectrum.” This means it protects against the aging effects of UVA rays as well.
Remember that UV rays can damage your skin even on cloudy days, so no matter what SPF rating you choose, make sure to lather up any time you are going to head outside! Also, according to sunscreen expert Kirk Minster, the specific ingredients in your sunscreen matter, so make sure to do your research when choosing the best sunscreen for your skin.
What’s the Difference Between SPF 30 and SPF 50?
In the debate between SPF 50 vs. 30, it’s vital to understand what these ratings mean. Since we know that higher SPF ratings indicate more protection, SPF 50 protection is going to be stronger than SPF 30. But let’s dive more into each of these ratings.
So what is SPF 30, and why is SPF 30 good? SPF 30 sunscreen only allows 1/30 of the sun’s UVB rays to penetrate your skin. That means it blocks about 96.7% of those harmful rays. To ensure this level of protection, make sure to follow all directions on the sunscreen label, including reapplying at least every two hours.
Recommended protection: SPF 30 sunscreen meets the recommended SPF rating from the Skin Cancer Foundation. They recommend SPF 15 for everyday use and SPF 30 for those days where you are spending hours outside.
Reduced risk of cancer: Because UVB rays are the ones responsible for causing skin cancer, all SPF 30 sunscreens help protect you from this risk.
Everyday protection: UVB rays can even penetrate through windows, so SPF 30 can provide everyday protection while driving or sitting at home.
Who should wear it: Anyone who is outside for longer than 20 minutes a day, even on cloudy days, can benefit from wearing SPF 30 sunscreen.
SPF 50 sunscreen only allows 1/50 of the sun’s UVB rays through, blocking 98% of them. Answering the question of is SPF 30 or 50 better is really a personal decision. If you are still getting burned while using SPF 30 sunscreen according to the directions, then consider switching to a different SPF sunscreen with a higher rating.
More protection: SPF 50 blocks about 1.3% more harmful UVB rays than SPF 30.
Longer protection: SPF 50 sunscreens can protect your skin for longer, which means you have to reapply less often. Many SPF 50 sunscreens recommend reapplying every 150 minutes rather than the recommended 120 minutes for SPF 30.
Protection at high elevation: The sun’s rays are stronger at higher elevations, so if you are going skiing or hiking in the mountains, consider SPF 50 or higher.
Who should wear it: Anyone with an increased risk of skin cancer, has prolonged sun exposure, or is outdoors at high elevations may benefit from SPF 50 sunscreen.
UPF is Also Important for Sun Protection
Now that the critical question, “What is the difference between SPF 30 and 50?” is answered, let’s look at another type of sun protection: UPF clothing. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. It’s similar to SPF ratings in that it measures how much of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through the clothing’s fabric to your skin. A shirt with a UPF 50 rating will only allow 1/50 of UV rays through.
The biggest difference between SPF and UPF is that UPF ratings measure both UVA and UVB rays while SPF ratings only measure UVB rays. This means you are potentially getting more sun protection from UPF clothing than you are from sunscreen. Even with broad-spectrum sunscreen, you may not know exactly how much UVA protection you are getting. Furthermore, sunscreens often contain harmful chemicals, while UPF clothing protects your skin without any dangerous additives.
As a part of Melanoma Awareness Month, we’d love to hear and share your Coolibar gratitude throughout the month of May! Make sure to tag us on social media for a chance to get featured.
From: Michelle, Coolibar
“As a parent, I’m so grateful that I have learned how to keep my kids sun-safe. Before working at Coolibar I depended on sunscreen alone and spent so much time battling to reapply it. Now my kiddos see themselves as Coolibar sun protection ambassadors. They’re always wearing their UPF 50+ gear and are constantly asking me for ‘swag’ for their friends and their teachers. They’re 8 and 10, but already understand the importance of teaching other to be sun safe”
From: Kelsey, Coolibar
“As an avid golfer growing up, I used to only apply sunscreen at the beginning of every round but would always forget to reapply. I had no idea how bad that was for my skin. I’m truly grateful of the awareness and knowledge that working for Coolibar has given me. One of the great things about our UPF 50+ protection is that I don’t have to worry about reapplying it. I feel confident golfing and doing other outdoor activities when wearing Coolibar because I know that I’m sun-safe!”
From: Laurie, Warrior
“When I was first diagnosed with melanoma, I quietly rearranged my personal life to fit the sun’s schedule. I was afraid of the sun! Sun protective clothing has been a Godsend. I can get out and golf, ride bikes and enjoy the pool with my grandchildren. I’m finally learning to get back in the sun.”
From: Kani, A Sun-Safe Mom
“Living in Southern California as a busy mom, it’s very hard to shelter myself from the sun. I just want to say that Coolibar’s neck scarves are absolutely amazing! I have them in several colors and can’t wait to buy more!”
Our year-round mission is to protect the world from sun damage. During Melanoma Awareness Month, we show additional support to our community with our ‘Be Brave’ campaign! We are determined to change the one in five statistic of people developing skin cancer in their lifetime.
It’s no secret that exposure to the sun when outdoors for an extended period of time can cause damage to and sunburn your skin. But can you get sun damage through windows? The answer may surprise you.
Practicing sun safety is essential for avoiding sunburn and minimizing your risk of developing wrinkles and, more seriously, skin cancer. There are many myths surrounding whether or not you can get sunburned through windows or if you can tan through a window. While it may feel like you are protected from the sun when behind windows indoors or in a car, this is not the whole story.
Can You Get Sun Damage Through Windows?
The answer to this question comes down to whether or not UV light can go through glass. It depends on the type of glass the window is made of, and not all windows are the same when it comes to UV protection. Ultraviolet Rays are light waves from the sun and can reach us in sneaky ways. We need to worry about two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB rays, because they can reach the earth.
UVA Rays: longer wavelength rays that are less intense but penetrate deep into the skin and cause tanning. UVA rays are responsible for skin aging and wrinkles due to the fact that they break down collagen fibers, which help with skin strength and elasticity. UVA rays can contribute to skin cancer.
UVB Rays: shorter wavelength rays that penetrate only the superficial layers of the skin. UVB rays are more intense and harmful to the skin’s DNA and are responsible for sunburn. This type of light ray also stimulates the body to produce vitamin D and is believed to cause a higher percentage of skin cancer.
Can You Get a Tan Through a Window?
Since ultraviolet rays do pass through glass, most commonly the UVA rays, there is a chance that you can get a suntan through a window. It will, of course, depend on the length of exposure, but since UVA rays are not blocked by most glass, you may get sun damage and a slight tan. However, it is not likely that you can get sunburned through a window due to the UVB protection present in most windows.
Can You Get Sunburned Through a Car Window?
Do car windows block UV? Not all car windows are equally protective, and this is due to legal reasons. Your car’s windshield is required to offer more protection to prevent the glass from shattering in case of an accident.
This extra protection also means better UV filtering. Your car’s windshield is treated against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, while the rest of your car’s windows only filter against UVB rays.
As we know, UVA rays cause damage to your skin at a deeper level. Since your windshield only filters out UVA rays, you will still get UVA exposure from the other windows in your car. You might not get a sunburn in your car, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting skin damage.
UV rays can go through car windows, but not all UV rays can
Your car’s windshield offers the best protection against UV rays (UVA and UVB)
UVA rays can still penetrate the other windows in your car, causing skin damage and aging
Since UVB rays are filtered by all car windows, it is unlikely that you can get burned through a car window
Sun Protective Solutions
While sun protection may not be at the top of your list when preparing for long road trips in the car, there are a few simple steps you can take to mitigate skin damage from the sun
UPF Clothing: arguably the easiest way to reduce skin damage is to wear UPF clothing daily
UVA protective film: extra tints or films can be added to your car windows to block out those UVA ray
Sunscreen: incorporating a daily sunscreen into your routine can go a long way in preventing sun damage, especially those parts of your body that are most often exposed like your face, hands, and arms
Can You Get Sunburned Through Other Windows?
What about other windows – can you tan through a house window? Can you get sunburned through a window at home? Are you inadvertently getting sun exposure at work?
We know that UV rays can go through glass, but it depends on the type of glass.
Standard construction windows in your home or office will offer good protection against UVB rays, so it’s unlikely that you will get sunburn through a window. Most windows do not offer protection against UVA rays, although if your windows are newer there’s a chance that the UVA protection is better. Solar window screens and treatments are a good option for cutting down harmful UV rays from the sun.
Windows at your home or office may block some, but not all of the sun’s UV rays.
While it’s not likely that you’ll develop a sunburn through a window, you may still be getting sun damage from UVA rays.
Window screens or blinds can help reduce the UV rays getting through.
Sun Protective Solutions
It can seem nearly impossible to avoid sunburn and other types of skin damage from the sun, but a few quick adjustments you can make in your everyday life will significantly impact your overall skin health.
UPF Clothing: the best barrier option for your skin to prevent damage and easy to incorporate into your day-to-day
Sunscreen: reduce UV exposure to your skin by wearing sunscreen daily
Sunglasses: wear polarized sunglasses year-round to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays
Learn More About Coolibar’s UPF 50+ Clothing
Even though there’s only a small chance that you can get a sunburn inside, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still getting sun damage. UVA rays that are most likely to get through your car windows or windows at home are linked to skin damage, aging, and even skin cancers. You may feel a sense of protection from that layer of glass in your car window, but the only way to ensure you are protected is to incorporate sunscreen and UPF clothing into your daily routine.
Sun protection is serious business. At Coolibar, we stop at nothing to develop the most technical and elegant sun protection you wear. The world leader in UPF 50+ fabric technology. Discover more sun tips on our blog, and shop our latest UPF 50+ clothing.
The Holiday season is here, and you know what that means… trying to find the perfect gift. To get inspired for what you may want to get your loved ones, we caught up with some of the Team on what THEIR favorite products are here at Coolibar!
Anne – Chief Brand Officer
Favorite Activities: Weekend mornings sitting on the deck reading, Hiking, Nordic Skiing
My go-to gift is hats because everyone needs a good one for sun protection and, in my opinion, you can never have too many! I like to gift bucket hats because they are easy to wear with anything and flatter most face shapes. Hats are generally easy to guess the right size too. My current favorite is the Wyatt bucket hat. It’s stylish without being trendy, packable and super lightweight. I personally have it in multiple prints. BTW, the Wyatt is technically a men’s hat, but there are quite a few of us women at Coolibar that don’t discriminate when it comes to hats. If the hat fits, we want it!
Kristen – Director of Brand
Favorite Activities: Traveling, Getting outside, enjoying the lakes and hanging with friends!
I seriously live in these pants. They are an easy breezy throw on and I love the fit and, of course, the sun protection. They are perfect for chilling on the sofa or getting out for a walk. Having a dog that loves lake walks, it is great knowing that I am not only comfortable but protected by the sun, when I go out these. I know own several pairs and am gifting a pair to my sister for the holidays!
For me, the weekends are when I get stuff done. I don’t like to waste time thinking about what I am going to wear when I wake up in the morning – that’s what Monday through Friday is for. I have found that no matter what I end up doing, if I grab one of my Daybreak Swing Tops, I am set for the day. All I need to do is decide which color to wear (I have 5 … and 1 more pending.) I am on the taller side and like my tops more tunic-like. But the problem with some tunics is that they are boxy or shapeless and that does me no favors. This top being fitted at the chest makes me feel somewhat tailored (for a t-shirt) but it is forgiving in all the right places. It basically checks all my boxes and that is not easy to do.
Hayden – Social Media Manager
Favorite Activities: Golfing, Being on the lake with my friends, Traveling
It seems like I constantly have plans 24/7 and honestly, sun protection sometimes becomes an afterthought. My solution? I legitimately own 4 of our Agility Performance Pullovers in different colors and will wear it for any and every occasion! From heading out to the course to meeting some friends at a brewery, you will find me with this top!
Leslie – Manager, Organizational Effectiveness
Favorite Activities: Fishing (lakes + deep sea), cycling, downhill skiing, and traveling.
My husband and I LOVE to fish in the MN summers and when winter comes along, we are off to somewhere warm to do some more fishing. We don’t leave the house without our Paros and Andros tee’s so we can enjoy the sun while on the boat for 8-12 hours at a time. These are our “go-to” shirts because the technical fabrics keep us cool and protect us from harmful UV rays, at the same time.
Mariah- Merchandising Specialist
Favorite Activities: Going to the lake, Exploring with my dogs, Anything outside
I LOVE being able to spend time outside, especially if my dogs are around! Which normally means I am going for long walks or spending hours by the lake watching them play! My Tatum Convertible Explorer Hat it is so easy to grab and go when running out of the house, plus it is convertible so I can adjust the amount of coverage I need throughout the day or depending on activity!
Denzell – Medical Professional Consultant
Favorite Activities: Running, building things, reading, working out and hanging with friends and family
One of my favorite shirts in my closet is my Coolibar Erodym polo shirt. Whether I’m at work, headed to the course or hanging with friends, this is my go-to “no brainer” shirt. Because of its elegance and functionality, I don’t have to worry about fit, compromising comfort or performance, and I get to look good and feel protected.
Lacey – Lead, Merchant
Favorite Activities: Golfing, Traveling, Rock Climbing, Biking, Hiking
Sun protection is a big priority for me because of skin sensitives and genetic history. I find it difficult to remember sun protection for my legs though. So, my solution is an amazing sun protection bottom that you can live in! The Motio joggers are lightweight, stretchy, and have excellent moisture wicking properties. I use these pants outdoor running, long days hiking and climbing, biking around the city, running errands on the weekend, travelling, and just lounging around. I wear them everywhere!
Kat – Business Unit Lead (Hats, Ultimate Coverage)
Favorite Activities: Anything outdoors and adventurous!
Living in the Midwest, it is very important to me to spend time outside when the weather is nice! The Lenny hat’s oversized brim protects my face if I am out on the lake, hiking, or watching my nieces and nephews’ games. It comes in multiple colorways so it always pairs well with any outfit and is adjustable for added comfort.
Kelsey – Social Media Specialist
Favorite Activities: Golfing, Kayaking, and Traveling
Whenever the weather is nice, I always try to take advantage of it by being outside. I never have trouble remembering sun-protection but reapplying is where I struggle… Our Devi Long Sleeve T-shirt solves this problem of mine with its built-in sun protection that keeps me covered all day long. 10/10 recommend this to all my friends and family!