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How does sunscreen work?

iStockphoto/ Getty Images, Londen

If you’re naturally light-skinned and go out in the sun, you will turn brown. The ultraviolet light (UV light) in rays of sunshine triggers the production of melanin in your skin. Melanin not only gives your skin a darker colour, it also protects the skin against sunlight.

Too much sunlight
You probably know that you shouldn’t stay out in the sun for too long. If you do, you will become sunburned, which hurts and is bad for your skin. So don’t spend too much time in the sun, and use plenty of sunscreen. Sunscreen is a mixture of various substances. It contains water and oil, a number of substances to make it into a cream, and a few additives.

But it also includes active ingredients – which are what really matter. These protect you from the sun. There are two different types. Some substances reflect sunlight, while other absorb it. Both prevent sunlight from reaching your skin and causing sunburn.