Sunscreen (also commonly known as sunblock, sun tan lotion, sun screen, sunburn cream or block out) is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn. Skin-lightening products have sunscreen to protect lightened skin because light skin is more susceptible to sun damage than darker skin. A number of sunscreens have tanning powder to help the skin to darken or tan; however, tanning powder does not provide protection from UV rays.

Sunscreens contain one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Organic chemical compounds that absorb ultraviolet light.
  • Inorganic particulates that reflect, scatter, and absorb UV light (such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or a combination of both).
  • Organic particulates that mostly absorb light like organic chemical compounds, but contain multiple chromophores, may reflect and scatter a fraction of light like inorganic particulates, and behave differently in formulations than organic chemical compounds. An example is Tinosorb M. Since the UV-attenuating efficacy depends strongly on particle size, the material is micronised to particle sizes below 200 nm. The mode of action of this photostable filter system is governed to about 90% by absorption and 10% by scattering of UV light.

Depending on the mode of action sunscreens can be classified into physical sunscreens (i.e., those that reflect the sunlight) or chemical sunscreens (i.e., those that absorb the UV light).

Medical organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend the use of sunscreen because it aids in the prevention of developing squamous cell carcinomas and basal-cell carcinomas. However, the use of sunscreens is controversial for various reasons. Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma, another kind of skin cancer, and photodermatitis, so people using sunscreens may be exposed to high UVA levels without realizing it. The use of broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreens can address this concern.

Although sunscreen is sometimes called "suntan lotion", the latter is different in that it is used to intensify UV rays whereas the former is used to block UV rays.

Read more about SunscreenHistory, Sunblock Is A Type of Sunscreen, Potential Health Risks, Active Ingredients, Application, Hair Care

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Sunburn - Prevention - Sunscreen
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... Currently, benzophenone-4 and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate are the two sunscreens most commonly used in hair products ... The common sunscreens used on skin are rarely used for hair products due to their texture and weight effects ...
Potential Health Risks Of Sunscreen - Sunscreen and Vitamin D
... The use of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 inhibits more than 95% of vitamin D production in the skin ... at least two times per week to the face, arms, hands, or back without sunscreen in white people (those with darker skins require up to six times ... With sunscreen, the required exposure would be longer if 95% of vitamin D production is inhibited, then it proceeds at only 5%, or 1/20th, the normal rate, and it would take 20 times as long—200 to ...
Potential Health Risks Of Sunscreen
... Sunscreen is widely acknowledged to protect against sunburn and two common forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) ... However, there is some evidence that sunscreen use can contribute to negative health outcomes ... The major claims include Some sunscreens only protect against UVB radiation, and not against the more dangerous UVA component of the spectrum ...
Potential Health Risks Of Sunscreen - Clinical Study
... In 2008, a clinical study showed that the application of sunscreen prevents squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and actinic keratosis ... The patients were very compliant, using sunscreen 5.6 days per week on average ... The control group had been instructed to use sunscreen as well, but were not provided with cost-free sunscreen and showed very poor compliance ...