All About Suncreen 

 Originally Written: June 7, 2010

By  Hanna Trafford

Last Updated on June 7, 2010 by Hanna Trafford

We all know that it is a very good idea to be protected from potentially harmful sun rays. But sometimes you have to wonder what all that fine print on a bottle of sunscreen means. Reading it correctly can be very helpful so I found this quick guide for you:


The Sun Protection Factor gives you an indication of long it will take the sun’s rays to cause UVB-induced redness. The higher the number, the longer you are protected. But note – SPF doesn’t measure protection from UVA. So – bottom line – sun responsibly. Don’t use suncreen as a replacement for common sense. A suncressn with SPF 30 is not a licence to stay in the sun 30 times longer.


No product on the market totally blocks the sun’s rays. It is more accurate to call the stuff :sunscreen”

Broad Spectrum:

A bottle with broad spectrum will put up a good fight against both UVB and more harmful UVA rays.

Chemical Blocks:

Chemical ingredients protect the skin by absolrbing UV radiation. Some (homosalate, actinoxate and octisalate) shield you from UVB rays, and others (Parson 1789,Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL) from UVA. Many products comtain a  combination.


It’s more likely “Water-resistant”, taking up to 8- minutes to wash off. If youa re a permanent fixture in the pool, or tend to get seaty, reapply often.

Fruit and Nut Extracts:

Essence of mango may make you smell good, but it hans’t been proven to block the sun. And fruit or nut ingredients can lead to allergic reaction in some people.

Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide:

These are tiny metal particles that reflect and scatter UV light. They are not chemical suncressns and won’t penetrate your skin, so they are idea for kids or anyone with sensitive skin. The downside is that they make your skin look whitish.


You are not likely to find PABA – ro para-aminobenzoic acid – in your sunscreen these days. This ingredient was found to cause allergic skin reaction typically consisting of redness and irritation in some people, so many manufactirers avoid it now.

Expiry Date:

Sunscreen ingredients break down over time – possibly sooner if the sunscreen has been stored in a hot place. So if you keep your sunscreen in your beach bag or in your glove compartment, chances are it will loose its effectiveness very quickly.

Hope this information was helpful to you and as always – your comments are very welcomed and much appreciated

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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