The Creation Wiki is made available by the NW Creation Network
Watch monthly live webcast - Like us on Facebook - Subscribe on YouTube


From CreationWiki, the encyclopedia of creation science
Jump to: navigation, search
Image of a tube of 15 SPF sunscreen lotion

Sunscreen is a product that utilizes and combines sun protecting ingredients in order to protect the human skin from the dangerous ultraviolet rays. All sunscreens are different and vary in their level of protection from the powerful UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen absorbs the sun’s rays, preventing them from reaching the skin. There is a difference between a chemical sunscreen and a physical sunblock. Sunscreen absorbs the rays, while sunblock reflects them. This product protects the human skin from skin cancer and includes many benefits. Sunscreen’s effectiveness is measured by a system called SPF, or the Sun Protecting Factor. Fifteen SPF protects against 94 percent of the sun’s rays and thirty SPF protects against about 96 percent of the sun’s rays.[1] [2]

Health Benefits and Effects

An image of a black, Melanoma skin cancer awareness ribbon

Benefits: Sunscreen has many short term and long term health benefits, especially in regards to the human skin. A person’s skin, or epidermis, is the largest organ in their body and is by far the most exposed. One of sunscreen's major benefits is its ability to prevent cancer, but especially skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers. Skin cancer effects more people than breast and lung cancer. Studies have shown that 1in 5 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States alone. A skin cancer called Melanoma is one of the worst forms of skin cancer and it has effected many lives. Sunscreen prevents skin cancer by defending against the dangerous radiation of the sun. It absorbs the powerful UV rays or ultraviolet radiation. Another benefit of applying sunscreen is its anti-aging properties. Sunscreen slows down the natural processes of aging by reducing the aging caused be overexposure to the sunlight. It also prevents the unflattering occurrence of wrinkled, leathery, and sagging skin. Sunscreen does not permanently prevent skin aging, but it can temporarily prevent or even reduce its effects. Sunscreen is also beneficial to people who take medication or have sensitive skin. By protecting and defending the skin from the sun, sunscreen increases a person’s skin health. Sunscreen protects significant proteins in the body, including keratin and collagen. These proteins are what keeps the skin firm and smooth. Sunscreen has titanium oxide within it, which gives sunscreen its skin health properties. Another benefit is that sunscreen is very inexpensive to purchase, which concludes that skin protection is very easy and affordable.[3]

Risks: Although sunscreen had more advantages than disadvantages, it still has some potential risks. The main concern is the potential deficiency of vitamin D with the long term use of sunscreen. Although sunscreen protects against the sun’s dangerous UV rays, it can reduce he intake of essential vitamin D rays. The lack of vitamin D can lead to bone diseases due to the fact that it is crucial for strong and healthy bones within the body. This concern can be dealt with receiving short and minimal intakes of sun exposure without sunscreen or even taking vitamin D supplements.[4]

The History and Origin of Sunscreen

An image of the Coppertone Sunscreen logo.

The product of sunscreen has been around for centuries, even in the ancient times. For example, many of the ancient Egyptians desired beautiful, light, and radiant skin. To achieve this was very challenging due to their hot, sunny, and dry climate. In an attempt to find a way to protect their skin from sunburns and tanning, the Egyptians utilized certain oils and extracts to ward of the sun’s powerful rays. They created special formulas which included many oils and extracts including, rice bran extracts, lupine extract, and even jasmine. Even though the ancient Egyptians utilized these ingredients centuries ago, modern scientists still use many of these extracts and oils in certain sunscreens today. Scientists have discovered that many of these extracts truly do have skin replenishing abilities. They assist to heal DNA at a cellular level, but at the same time mending skin damage.[5] Zinc oxide was also being used in the 1920’s as a sun blocker.[6]

In South Australia, a chemist with the name of HA Milton Blake, created a sunburn protecting cream in the 1930’s. A few years later, another chemist with the name of Eugene Schueller improved the invention to ultimately produce the first sunscreen. Within the same time period many other chemists began to explore and experiment with the invention of sunscreen. In 1938, a chemist named Franz Greiter, created a type of cream which was called Glacier Cream. This cream included the measurement of the SPF factor. Although this cream only included the SPF of two, it still was an important discovery in the history of sunscreen. One of the earliest sunscreen brands was the Coppertone brand. This brand was invented in the 1940’s by a pharmacist with the name of Benjamin Green. Coppertone is a very common a well-known sunscreen today. The iconic Little Miss Coppertone boosted sales and became the face of sunscreen. [7]

UV Rays in Sunlight

The depth to which the various types of Ultraviolet rays penetrate the atmosphere.

The sun emits very powerful and dangerous rays into the earth’s atmosphere. These rays are so powerful that they can cause genetic mutations within a person’s DNA. UV rays or ultraviolet rays is the radiation present in sunlight. UV rays are electromagnetic lights that reach the earth from the sun. The UV rays are the main reasons why sunscreen is needed. The two main types of UV Rays, UVA and UVB. These rays are strong enough to penetrate the earth’s atmosphere and potentially damage a person’s skin.

UVA: UVA rays make up over 95 percent of UV rays that reach the surface of the earth. People are exposed to them every day and throughout their lifetime. They are longer UV waves. UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays, but they penetrate deeper into the skin. Studies have shown that UVA rays damage skin cells where most skin cancer develops. These rays are the most used ray within tanning outside or in salons. Tanning Booths are by far the more dangerous than sunbathing in the outdoors. In a tanning booth, people are twice as likely to develop skin cancer and the UVA rays emitted in the tanning salons are that of twelve times the sun. They also increase a person’s melanoma risk by seventy-five percent.[8]

UVB: UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns and the damage of the skin. These rays are the most intense of the two and they are the most harmful. Although the UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, UVB rays are the main cause of skin cancer in sunburns. UVB rays have shorter wavelength, but are more powerful.[9]

Active ingredients

The effects and the benefits are very well known in regards to sunscreen, but what causes it function properly? Sunscreen is made up of many active ingredients that give it its ability to block the sun’s dangerous rays. The active ingredients produce a thin cover over the skin that causes the UV rays from entering the skin. The active ingredients include avobenzone, oxybenzone, and benzophene. These three main chemicals absorb the UV rays. Most chemical sunscreens only protect the skin from UVB rays, but there are many that provide protection from both rays. Physical sunscreens, or sunblock, gives protection from both the UVB and the UVA rays. Sunblock reflexes the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere by using ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Due to the varieties of sunscreens, there are some brands that use both chemical and physical ingredients.[10] [11]


Why Sunscreen is important.


  1. Unknown, Author. Sunscreen Skin Cancer Foundation. Web. May 1, 2016- last updated.
  2. Griffin, R. Morgan. What’s the best sunscreen WEB MD. Web. May 1, 2016- last updated.
  3. Daniel, Harri. The Benefits of Sunscreen Web. April 18, 2016- last updated.
  4. Unknown, Author. Sunscreen Web. April 18, 2016- last updated.
  5. Unknown, Author. History of Sunscreens The Human Touch of Chemistry. Web. May 1, 2016- last updated.
  6. Unknown, Author. Sunscreen Web. May 1, 2016- last updated.
  7. Unknown, Author. History of Sunscreens The Human Touch of Chemistry. Web. May 1, 2016- last updated.
  8. Epstein, John. UVA and UVB Skin Cancer Foundation. Web. April 18, 2016- last updated.
  9. Epstein, John. UVA and UVB Skin Cancer Foundation. Web. April 18, 2016- last updated.
  10. Barrymore, John. What are the active ingredients in sunscreen? How Stuff Works Health. Web. May 1, 2016- last updated.
  11. Griffin, R. Morgan. What’s the best sunscreen WEB MD. Web. May 1, 2016- last updated.