Sunscreen – Effects, Application & Risks


Sun creams were developed to be applied to the skin and protect against UV rays and the resulting skin reactions, such as redness , blistering and premature skin aging .

What is sunscreen?

In the vernacular, preparations such as sun milk, sun gel and sun oil are also summarized under the term sun cream . Sunscreen is also only considered a useful additional protection to avoid sunburn and the resulting skin diseases.

In addition to the use of sunscreen, avoiding extensive sunbathing and wearing clothing and hats is considered sensible, since sunscreen offers only limited protection against damage from the sun’s rays.

It is therefore particularly important to apply the cream at regular intervals and over a large area. The majority of all commercially available sunscreens only work half an hour after application. Incidentally, many sun creams lose their effectiveness at midday, when UV radiation is at its strongest.

Therefore, you should primarily stay in the shade between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Application, benefit & use

The primary purpose of sunscreen is to protect the skin all over the body from harmful UV rays. The human skin can only protect itself to a certain extent – this self-protection depends on the genetically determined skin type and the previous damage to the skin by sun exposure.It is therefore mainly used in the hot summer months, as well as in winter at higher altitudes. If you do not use sunscreen, skin damage can occur immediately and later. Skin changes that appear immediately after sunburn include sunburn, redness, blistering, and the typical pain felt with burns .

Changes in the skin that usually only develop after years of unprotected sunbathing include, for example, pigmentation disorders, wrinkling and malignant skin cancer . Sunscreens are also used to protect the skin from drying out . In high temperatures, wind and water, the skin is deprived of a lot of moisture.

For this reason, many sunscreens contain greasy substances such as fatty acids, glycerin, silicone oils and antioxidants. These help the skin to protect and regenerate itself.

Herbal, natural & pharmaceutical sunscreens

Sunscreen is available in a wide variety of designs, with products with chemical sun protection being the most common on the market. The chemical sun creams include, for example, the classic sun milk. It contains additives that protect and care for the skin. Sun sprays have the advantage that they are quickly absorbed and can be spread easily on the skin.

Sun gels also belong to the chemical sun protection preparations. Above all, sun gels without greasy ingredients are particularly suitable for people with sensitive skin that tends to allergies and dehydration. However, there are now also some natural sunscreens. Instead of chemical protection, these have mineral light protection, which is ensured by zinc oxide or titanium oxide. These natural sunscreens have a medium to high sun protection factor.

Vegetable sun creams are mostly oil-based and therefore have a very low sun protection factor. This type of sunscreen is often mixed with natural essential oils such as vanilla extract, and shea butter is also often found in herbal creams and lotions.

However, sun creams differ not only because of their ingredients, the sun protection factor also varies. Sun creams are available with sun protection factors 50+, 50, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 and 6.

Risks & side effects

Sunscreens can lead to side effects if they are not tolerated or used incorrectly. The most common overreaction to sunscreen is changes in the skin. These irritations include, for example, mild to severe itching , sun allergies , pimples and blisters, and reddening of the skin.These side effects occur in most cases when using a sunscreen that contains preservatives, fragrances and dyes and can therefore be avoided by resorting to herbal products. Furthermore, the use of sun creams can lead to disturbances in the calcium balance. In addition, sun creams can only work if you choose the right sun protection factor and apply sunscreen to your skin often enough.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.