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How Does Sunscreen Work? The In's & Out's Of Sun Protection.

by Josh Apitz |  | 3 comments


Whether your at the beach, doing a hike, or just going on life's adventure, chances are you've thought about using or packing sunscreen. It's the one thing we all know we need to use, yet so many of us choose not to use it or leave it behind. But why is this? In this blog we're going to uncover how sunscreen works and why it's so much more important than we think.


For most people, sunscreen seems to just stop you getting sunburnt, but what if we told you it did more than that. You see, the sun emits different ultra violet rays called UV rays (they aren't visible to the human eye), and these rays all reach earth at different levels of intensity. It's like when you turn a bright light on in a dark space. The closer you are to the light, the brighter and more powerful it is and alternatively the further you are away the darker it is. It's the same with the sun.


So What Are These UV Rays?

The most damaging ultra violet rays created from the sun are called UVC rays, but fortunately for us they are stopped at the earths atmosphere at the O-Zone layer. They are the strongest and most dangerous rays emitted from the sun. The second type of ultra violet rays are called UVB, and these are the types of rays that you'd feel burning on your skin when under the sun for a long period of time. These rays only reach the surface layers of your skin which can cause sunburn. Then finally there are UVA rays. These rays penetrate into the deep layers of the skin and are the commonly known to cause damage to cells under the skin and therefore promote skin ageing - which none of us want! (The image below is a visual representation of the different UV rays).



So the real question is, how does sunscreen protect us from these damaging UV rays? Well, to break it down we'll take you through both chemical and mineral based sunscreen alternatives, to show you the difference and how they both work.


How Do Chemical Based Sunscreens Work?

Chemical based sunscreens are everywhere, and chances are you've used one or seen one before. They use chemical UV filters that are designed to absorb the suns UVB and UVA rays into the skin, converting them into heat. This is made possible through the lotion and the ingredients in it. When spread on the body, it instantly acts like a barrier absorbing the suns UV rays into the skin through the sunscreen, and then like we mentioned before converts it into heat so it doesn't leave sunburn on the skin.


How Do Mineral Based (physical) Sunscreens Work?

Mineral based sunscreens are the safe and more 'natural' alternatives to using chemical based sunscreens. Instead of absorbing the suns UVB and UVA rays converting it into heat, it reflects them and acts like a mirror on the skins surface. They often leave a white cast on top of the skin (this is dependant on the amount of zinc oxide they use in the formula) which allows you to see that it's on your skin.


Essentially, sunscreen works by blocking of the harmful UV rays and protects the skin from sunburn and cellular damage in the deep layers of the skin. Both types of sunscreens have there pros and cons, however, it's safe to say that if you're wanting to preserve your beautiful body and youthful looks than you're going to need to use sunscreen in your daily routine.

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