As a leader in the sun protection headwear industry, Wallaroo Hat Company would like to answer some common questions we receive about skin cancer prevention and UPF ratings. In this blog, we discuss UPF or SPF - which is better and what's the difference.

How common is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the U.S. and the cost for annual medical treatment exceeds $340 million each year nationwide[1]. Skin cancer diagnoses are best treated when caught early and using preventative measures to ensure healthy skin. One of the most effective ways to protect your skin is to utilize hats and clothing that are made from UPF materials.

What does UPF stand for?

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and is the rating used for sun protective clothing and headwear.

What does UPF do?

UPF fabric protects against UVA and UVB light, which cause sunburns, skin cancer, and skin aging.

How effective is UPF material?

UPF 50+ material blocks up to 98% of UV radiation[2].

How does UPF earn its rating?

UPF earns its rating based on how tightly woven a garment’s fabric is. Factors like color can also play a role in UPF rating and protection, but again, the most important quality when considering UPF material is the fabric’s weave.

What does SPF stand for?

SPF stands for sun protection factor and is for products used directly on the skin. Sunscreen is a common SPF product that is recommended for daily use or anytime when out in the sun.

What is broad spectrum sunscreen?

Broad spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Unless otherwise labeled as broad spectrum, ordinary sunscreen only protects against one UV ray.

Which is Better-UPF or SPF?

Both UPF and SPF are necessary and important components to practice good skin care protection. Both UPF and SPF products are proven solutions to lessen the risk of skin cancer. SPF rated sunscreen is important to use when enjoying any time in the sun, along with UPF rated hats and clothing which provide additional widespread coverage for the body and head. UPF clothing and hats and a good alternative for outdoor enthusiasts who might forget or find it unpleasant to put sunscreen on the lips, hairline, and ears[3].

What do excessive amounts of UV (sun) light do to my skin?

In addition to skin cancer, skin that is in regular contact with direct sunlight experiences an accelerated aging process. This can result in wrinkling, sagging, and bagging around the eyes, while also causing sunspots[4]. Covering your face and neck with SPF and UPF rated materials decreases skin aging by up to 24%[5].

Bottom Line:

Wearing UPF rated clothing and hats in conjunction with the application of sunscreen is the best way to prevent skin cancer. Our mission at Wallaroo Hat Company is to provide you with functional and fashionable headwear that keeps you protected on all your outdoor adventures. Wallaroo takes our mission seriously and donates to the Skin Cancer Foundation and Melanoma Research Foundation every year to ensure their research, education and prevention programs reach as many people as possible. No matter what your skin protection needs are, Wallaroo has you covered so you can continue doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

 Logo of Skin Cancer Foundation


[1] Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics - The Skin Cancer Foundation.

[2] Sun Protective Clothing - The Skin Cancer Foundation

[3] The Parts Of Your Body That Are Most Vulnerable To Getting Sun Damage | HuffPost Life

[4] Just How Much Does The Sun Age Your Skin? - Sunsafe Rx 

[5] Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics - The Skin Cancer Foundation