Ultraviolet radiation (UV)

Individual protection against UV

Does sunscreen offer good protection?

Sunscreens are a very effective way of protecting yourself against harmful effects from the sun. However, they should be used in combination with other methods such as sun avoidance and clothing. Remember that the aim of applying sunscreen is not to prolong your stay in the sun, but to protect the exposed parts of your body that are most at risk of getting damaged when you are out in the sun.

Sunscreens may contain physical or chemical barriers against the sun's rays. While physical barriers reflect or scatter the UV rays, chemical barriers act by absorbing the UV radiation before it hits the skin. Today's sunscreens filter UV radiation in the UVA and the UVB range. The common SPF label on the tube stands for sun protection factor, a measure of how much UVB the sunscreen can block. The numbers range from 2 upwards. Unfortunately, to date there is no international standard to label the degree of protection from UVA.