Sunscreens (UVA protectors) Types, Benefits & Side Effects

sunscreens uva protectors types benefits & side effects

Sunscreens are also known as sunblocks or suntans. These are available in the form of lotion, creams and spray gels and help in protecting our skin from UVA and UVB rays which are harmful to skin. Sensitive skin is more prone to damage from UV sun rays (ultraviolet rays). For the protection of our skin, application of sunscreen must be positively incorporated into our daily skin care regimen.

First of all, let’s know about UVA and UVB:

Sunlight is a mixture of different waves having different wavelengths namely X-rays, ultraviolet rays, visible rays, infrared rays and radio waves. Out of all these waves, UV-rays or ultraviolet rays are very important as they have a direct effect on our bodies especially the skin. UV-rays are three types, UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. Out of these only certain quantities of UV-A and UV-B reach us while UV-C gets wholly absorbed by our atmosphere. Ultraviolet A is a long while Ultraviolet B is a shortwave.

UV-A penetrates deep into the dermis (thickest layer of the skin). Exposure of Unprotected skin to UV-A can lead to premature aging and wrinkled skin. On the other hand, UV-B which is a shortwave reaches only to the superficial layers of our skin. It can lead to skin cancer. The intensity of UV radiations varies by season, location and time. The peak hours when UVB is supposed to hit us badly are 10 am to 4 pm. It can lead to a permanent damage to the skin.


SPF – Sun Protection Factor

SPF or the sun protection factor is a very important aspect of a sunscreen. It gives us an idea of how much of radiation that particular product is allowing to reach our skin. If a product has SPF 30 it means that this product only allows 1/30th part of radiation to reach us. So SPF measures the level of UVB protection that how much sunscreen should be applied to the skin to protect it from sun damage.

Levels Of SPF:

There are four levels of SPF:

  1. Low (4,6,8,10)
  2. Medium (15,20,25)
  3. High (30,40,50)
  4. Very High (50+)

The degree of protection provided by a sunscreen also depends on a number of factors such as:

Ingredients Used in Sunscreen:

Sunscreen includes a combination of below mentioned active ingredients:

Types of sunscreen

Sunscreens are broadly divided into two types depending on their mode of action. One group of sunscreen works by absorbing the UV rays and preventing them from reaching our skin while another group works by reflecting these rays and thus preventing them from entering the skin.

Benefits Of Sunscreens:

Why is sunscreen so important?

Prevention Of Skin Cancer

Sunscreen use can help protect from skin cancer. There are three types of skin cancer – melanoma, basal cell skin cancer and squamous cell carcinoma.

It occurs in the skin but it may rarely occur in mouth, intestine and eyes. In women, it occurs in legs. On the other hand, in man, it occurs commonly on the back. In the early stage, it is like a mole but later on, it will lead to increase in size, discoloration, itching and skin collapse. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

It is the most common skin cancer. It is not that painful on the skin. It looks like a kind of an ulcer. It grows gradually and can damage the tissues but not that risky to lead to death.

It is one of the main types of cancer. It is like a hard lump with dry skin cover on it. Other signs are scars, lighter skin and immune system malfunctioning. It can spread from area to area.

Do’s for using sunscreen

Sunscreen will not give instant protection. One should apply it before 20 minutes going outside.

Don’ts for using sunscreen

Application of sunscreen on a daily basis can prevent the wrinkles and dry skin. Those who are regularly using sunscreen do have smoother skin than other people.


(It is highly recommended to apply sunscreen after every 2 hours for better protection)

Side effects of sunscreens

Everything has its own advantages and side effects as well and sunscreen is not the exception. Despite having so many desired effects on the skin, it also has some side effects take place while applying topically and that obviously don’t suit the skin. A few are described below:

Although very severe allergic reaction to this sunscreen is not seen usually, but still in case, if you find any such symptoms, you are supposed to immediately seek a medical consultation.


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