Whether it’s a day out by the ocean or just a run to the market, the scorching sun doesn’t spare anyone from it’s burning stare, and in this situation, sunblock becomes a must have. Now there exists many types of various SPF ranges for various skin types and such, but every bottle of sunscreen basically has the same purpose: to protect our skin from the harsh rays of sunlight.
But have you ever wondered how does it exactly do that?
Some inorganic chemicals, including minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, act as a physical sunblock. They reflect UV rays, similar to how white paint reflects light. The white-colored noses on beach-goers in the 1980s and 1990s were due to these compounds; because manufacturers make the inorganic particles much smaller now, we don’t see the visible white.
Along with inorganic chemicals, sunscreens often contain organic chemicals, with names such as avobenzone or oxybenzone. Instead of physically deflecting UV light, these molecules absorb UV radiation through their chemical bonds. As the bonds absorb UV radiation, the components of the sunscreen slowly break down and release heat.
So that’s how it works!