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How Sunscreen Works

August 16, 2018

We know sunscreen plays an important role in our daily lives, protecting our skin from sun damage including premature aging and cancer, but how exactly does it work? While the sun is the sustaining force we need to live, the UV rays can be harmful to our skin, causing age spots, cancer, and other unwanted effects. There are essentially two kinds of rays we want to avoid: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, leading to premature skin aging and possible skin cancer, while UVB rays cause your skin to burn and/or tan. Sunscreen absorbs, reflects and/or scatters ultraviolet light, helping to reduce the amount of rays reaching our skin.

Sunscreen is made from both organic and inorganic chemicals. It filters light from the sun to help keep it from reaching the deep layers of our skin. While some of the light might get through, much as a screen does on a window, not nearly as much light gets through if you are using sunscreen, helping to protect the skin and lowering chances of sunburn, age sports, and skin cancer.  Sunblock on the other hand, prevents these rays from reaching the skin at all by reflecting the light away from the skin.

Typical ingredients include titanium oxide, or zinc oxide which is used in sunblock (we all remember the white noses of our youth)! These ingredients work by reflecting or scattering UV rays away from your skin. Organic ingredients such as oxybenzone absorb UV radiation, allowing the various modules of the sunscreen to break down and release heat.

Now that you know how it works, and how important it is to use, grab a bottle of sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply often!

 

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