Sunscreen chemistry

SunSmart Millionaire How sunsmart are you?

Sunscreen chemistry

Back to brainiac home

Get the info

Putting on protective sunscreen is a great idea but how does it work? Sunscreens work by absorbing or reflecting ultraviolet radiation. Some do both.

Physical filters form a layer on the skin that ultraviolet radiation cannot pass through eg. zinc oxide. They reflect ultraviolet radiation away from your skin.

Chemical sunscreens form a layer that absorbs ultraviolet radiation. This must be put on 20 minutes before going outside.

No sunscreen protects against all ultraviolet radiation so make sure that you protect yourself with what you wear. Swimming and sweating can remove sunscreen so remember to reapply every two hours.


Three bottles of sunscreen

Read the labels carefully, make sure the SPF is 30+ and it is broad spectrum and water resistant.

Check this out

Test yourself