The Ultimate Guide to Sun Protection: UPF vs SPF

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Have you ever looked at a sunscreen bottle and wondered what those big SPF numbers on the front mean? Or wonder why we mention UPF50+ whenever we mention our sun protective clothing? Look no further, as ShapeShifter Fish and Friends give you an ultimate guide to UPF vs SPF and what role they play in sun protection.

When looking at sun protective products, you have probably seen UPF and SPF; but what do they mean? Here is the inside scoop on all things sun safe and how you can protect yourself and the whole family with our guide to UPF and SPF sun protection - plus an inside look at our new Shapeshifter Shades for Kids for the perfect sun protection bundle.

Why is the sun harmful to our skin?

Through it’s bright rays, the sun gives off what is called Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation can be classified in three primary types: UVA, UVB and UVC. Around 95% of the radiation that touches our skin comes from UVA. UVA is responsible for age spots or the wrinkles seen in our skin. The other percentage comes from UVB, which is responsible for sunburns and for some people, skin cancer. UVC is filtered out by the ozone layer so none of it reaches the Earth’s surface, or your skin. If you or your family are out in the sun too long, you are going to need protection; but what’s better, SPF or UPF? Let's learn the difference to decide.

What does SPF and UPF stand for?

SPF stands for sun protection factor and is how we measure the protection from the sun’s UVB rays. It is a topical product that is able to block a certain percentage of the sun's rays. An SPF of 15 protects you from 93% of UVB rays, while an SPF of 50 protects you from 98%. Experts recommend that you stay between 30 and 50 SPF.

UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor and indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin. This protection comes from the fabrics ability to block a certain percentage of your skin. Our chemical-free fabric is woven in a way to block 98% of these harmful rays, and no reapplying is required.

How do you know what protection is right for you?

Both SPF and UPF are great ways to protect your skin, and the use of both plays an important role in protecting you and your family’s skin from those harsh rays.

But sometimes sunscreen isn’t always practical, and kids fight to put it on or reapply. That's why we created a line of sun protection kids want to wear. We've even expanded our line to include kids sunglasses, short sleeve tees, and now UPF hoodies for cooler days, to make it easy and safe for you to #getoutside.

Haven’t heard of our ShapeShifter Shades yet?

We've teamed up with ro•sham•bo to bring you unbreakable, floating polarized ShapeShifter Shades for Kids! Each pair of our sunglasses is crafted with kids in mind for a FUNctional experience. With 7 different colors to choose from, and 2 sizes, there is a pair for all your little sun bunnies.

What is so unique about our Kids Sunglasses?

Each pair of shades provides 100% UVA/B/C protection and glare reduction technology. These sunglasses are ultra-lightweight and flexible to ensure comfort for every kid. Each pair is virtually indestructible with polarized-shatterproof lenses, along with flexible and bendable, ShapeShifter arms for the perfect fit. They even stay afloat if you drop them in the water. And we're so sure they're not going to break, each pair includes a replacement guarantee.

● Ultra-lightweight, flexible, virtually indestructible materials free of BPA

● Naturally stay afloat

● Polarized shatter-resistant lenses that provide 100% UVA/B/C protection and glare reduction technology

● Flexible and bendable, ShapeShifter arms for the perfect fit

● A customized carrying pouch that doubles as a polishing cloth

● Prescription ready: Take them to any optometrist and get your prescription filled.

Sun protection is honestly simple: when there is sun, you protect yourself. In many ways the sun plays an important role in our health mentally and physically, but too much sun exposure can pose harmful risks to our skin. We want to encourage you to #getoutside but to do it safely. For the ultimate sun protection bundle, mix and match a pair of sunglasses with one of our UPF long sleeves, available in sizes 2T-2X.

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