How Does Sunscreen Work?

When it comes to sun protection, many individuals believe that it simply blocks out the sun’s harmful rays.

However, there is additional to the story than this. To comprehend how sunscreen works, you must first grasp a little bit about the sun’s radiation.

The sun emits ultraviolet radiation, which is classified as UVA and UVB. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and can penetrate deep into the skin, especially if you aren’t wearing sunscreen.

While UVB rays are shorter in wavelength and primarily affect the outer layer of skin. Both types of UV radiation may cause tissue damage, including accelerated aging and cancer.

Types of sunscreen

Sunscreen is crucial for protecting your skin from the sun’s hazardous ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

However, with so many different types of sunscreen available, it might be difficult to know which one to select. Here’s a summary of the most frequent types of sunscreen and how they operate.

  1. Broad-spectrum sunscreen: These sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. These are the best option for protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
  2. Chemical sunscreen: This type of sunscreen absorbs UV rays before they can damage your skin. It is typically made with a combination of chemical ingredients, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.
  3. Physical sunscreen: Also known as mineral sunscreen, this type of sunscreen physically blocks UV rays from the sun with active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

How sunscreen protects your skin

When you apply sunscreen, you not only protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays, but you also assist to prevent wrinkles and cancerous tumors. But how does sunscreen work?

At its most basic, sunscreen is a product you put on your skin to protect it from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

There are two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB. The ones that cause skin aging prematurely are UVA rays. Sunburn occurs as a result of UVB rays. Both forms of UV radiation can cause skin cancer, although only UVA radiation is linked to sunburn.

Sunscreen absorbs, reflects, or scatters the sun’s rays. Some sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb UV radiation. Others include minerals that reflect or scatter the radiation.

Both are critical in sun protection. The most effective sunscreens contain a mix of both. The most significant factor is to apply sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or more.

How to apply sunscreen correctly

The greatest time to use sunscreen is 30 minutes before you go outside. It will have opportunity to sink into your skin this way.

Applying sunscreen may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Make sure you’re applying sunscreen the right way by following these instructions:

  • Choose a sunscreen with an SPF, or sun protection factor, of 30 or higher to better protect your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays.
  • Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including often-forgotten spots like your ears, feet, and neck. Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen, so don’t forget to cover up!