Protecting Your Skin with Sunscreen

January 19, 2010

Most people enjoy spending time outdoors and feeling the heat of the sun. The sun’s rays may feel good on your skin but they can also cause damage to your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect your skin. It is important, however, to use the right type of sunscreen. Since sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect your skin, it is also a good line of defense against skin cancer and melanoma.


The main defense of sunscreen is that it absorbs, reflects and scatters UV light. Those UV rays are divided into three bands – UVA (ultraviolet A), UVB (ultraviolet C) and UVC (ultraviolet C). There are only two UV rays that actually reach the earth. They are UVA and UVB.

There are two types of sunscreens that protect skin from UV light. Physical sunscreens form an opaque film that reflects or scatters UV light before it can penetrate the skin. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays before they can cause damage.

So, what are other differences between physical and chemical sunscreen?

– Physical sunscreens contain ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Older formulations of physical sunscreens remained white when applied to the skin. However, the newer formulations blend with the skin tone and are less noticeable.
– Chemical sunscreens contain on or more ingredients like avobenzone or oxybenzone. Both of these ingredients absorb UVA or UVB rays. A newer sunscreen also contains mexoryl (or Anthelios SX) and offers protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.

Anytime you spend time outdoors during daylight hours, it is important to use sunscreen. Even if you have darker pigment, tan easily or can tolerate long periods in the sun without burning, the sun’s energy penetrates deeply into the skin, damaging the TNA of skin cells. This damage may lead to skin cancer.

In addition to using sunscreen, UV protection umbrellas can block the dangerous UV rays from penetrating the skin. More information on different types of UV protection umbrellas can be found at

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