How Does Sunscreen Work?


If you are planning on spending some time in the sun, sunscreen is a must-have item. Sunscreen is a product that helps to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays. But have you ever wondered how sunscreen works? In this article, we will explain how sunscreen works and how to choose the right sunscreen for your skin type.

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a lotion, spray, or gel that you apply to your skin to protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Sunscreen contains ingredients that reflect or absorb UV rays to protect your skin from sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer.

Types of Sunscreen

There are two types of sunscreen: physical and chemical.

Physical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreen contains mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. When you apply physical sunscreen, the minerals create a barrier on your skin that reflects the UV rays away from your skin.

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen contains organic compounds like avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate. When you apply chemical sunscreen, the ingredients absorb the UV rays before they can penetrate your skin.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

Sunscreen works by protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays. The sun emits two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns and skin cancer.

When you apply sunscreen, the ingredients either reflect or absorb the UV rays, preventing them from penetrating your skin. Physical sunscreen reflects UV rays, while chemical sunscreen absorbs them.

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

Choosing the right sunscreen is important to ensure that you get the best protection for your skin type. Here are some things to consider when choosing sunscreen:


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The higher the SPF, the more protection you get from UVB rays. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Skin Type

Consider your skin type when choosing a sunscreen. If you have oily skin, choose a sunscreen that is oil-free and lightweight. If you have dry skin, choose a sunscreen that is moisturizing.

Active Ingredients

Check the active ingredients in the sunscreen to make sure they are safe for your skin. If you have sensitive skin, choose a physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one.

How to Apply Sunscreen

To get the best protection from sunscreen, you need to apply it correctly. Here are some tips for applying sunscreen:


Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. Use at least one ounce (a shot glass full) of sunscreen per application.


Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside to allow it to absorb into your skin.


Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.


Q1. Do I need to wear sunscreen on cloudy days?

Yes. UV rays can still penetrate through clouds, so it’s important to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.

Q2. Can I use sunscreen on my face?

Yes. In fact, it’s recommended that you use a sunscreen that is specifically designed for your face to avoid clogging pores and causing breakouts.

Q3. Can I use expired sunscreen?

No. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time, so it’s important to check the expiration date and replace sunscreen that has expired.

Q4. Can I use sunscreen on my baby?

Yes. You can use sunscreen on babies over six months old, but it’s important to choose a sunscreen that is specifically designed for babies and to keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

Q5. Can I use sunscreen if I have dark skin?

Yes. While people with darker skin have a lower risk of sunburn, they are still at risk of skin damage from UV rays. It’s important to use sunscreen to protect your skin from premature aging and skin cancer.


Sunscreen is an essential part of sun protection. It works by reflecting or absorbing UV rays to protect your skin from sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. When choosing a sunscreen, consider your skin type, the SPF, and the active ingredients. To get the best protection, apply sunscreen correctly and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Remember to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days and to choose a sunscreen specifically designed for babies and people with sensitive skin.

We hope this article has helped you understand how sunscreen works and how to choose the right sunscreen for your needs. Remember to take sun protection seriously and to make sunscreen a part of your daily routine. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family to spread awareness about the importance of sun protection.



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