Sun Screen Day is celebrated on May 27th of each year.
Sunscreen (also commonly known as sunblock, sun tan lotion, sun screen, sunburn cream, sun 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). 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.
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. 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.