Sunscreen Ingredients and Their Effects on the Skin

Sunscreen ingredients are often overlooked when buying the foremost sun protection product in the market today. This is not a surprise since we only look at the sun protection factor (SPF) of the sunscreen, which is boldly imprinted on the front of the bottle.

But we must also look at the sunscreen ingredients because not every substance that provides for ultraviolet protection is good for the skin. For example, many of ingredients in older sunscreens have been found to be carcinogenic.

Two Actions

The ingredients in sunscreen act in two ways. When these two ways are combined, your skin has double layers of protection, so to speak.

The physical ingredients work by reflecting the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Your skin is then protected because it does not absorb the ultraviolet rays, thus, preventing the mutation in the cells. You will recognize these ingredients as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

The chemical ingredients absorb the ultraviolet rays. Your skin is protected since the cells do not absorb the harmful rays, as is the case in skin sans the sunscreen.

Chemical sun block ingredients include,

Octyl Dimethyl PABA,

Ethylhexyl p-Methoxycinnamate,

Glyceryl Aminobenzoate,

Homomenthyl Salicylate,


Octyl Methoxycinnamate,

Padimate A,



Para Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA),

Padimate O

and OCS Octyl Salicytate.

You will observe that these sunscreen ingredients come from aromatic substances combined with the carbonyl group of chemicals.

Harmful Effects

Unfortunately, many of the ingredients in commercially-produced sunscreens are harmful to human health in so many ways. The side effects of these ingredients include DNA damage, skin allergy, dry skin, hormonal imbalance, eczema, skin irritability and acne.

Even when the sunscreen is supposed to lessen the risks for skin cancer, the ingredients in the product can lead to said skin disorder. Again, this is because the ingredients have been proven to be carcinogenic.

Beneficial Ingredients

Said side effects are the exact reason why we always recommend the use of natural sunscreen or organic sunscreens. The ingredients in these sun protection products benefit the skin by protecting it against harmful ultraviolet rays while making the skin healthier.

A few of these natural and organic ingredients and their effects in safe sunscreen include:

Sunflower oil contains antioxidant vitamins A, D and E that provide excellent moisture to the skin especially for weathered, dry and aged skin.

Coconut oil is mild and gentle on the skin, thus, its popularity as a moisturizer and sunscreen ingredient

Jojoba oil conditions the skin

Lecithin and glycerine also moisturizes and conditions the skin

Shea butter acts as natural sunscreen ]

Other ingredients include green and black teas as well as eucalyptus oil. But the mainstays in natural sunscreens are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, both of which have proven to be safe and effective in ultraviolet protection for the skin.

So, the next time you purchase sun-protection-in-a-bottle, be sure to read the sunscreen ingredients . You will then be able to make the right decision for your health.

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