Eli5 explain how sunscreen works



Additionally, does sunscreen block the benefits from the sun? Can you still get a tan?

In: Chemistry

Basically, no, if the sunscreen is doing it’s job you can’t get a tan.

Tanning (and burning) is caused by ultraviolet light damaging your skin. Sunscreen works by being very reflective to ultraviolet…it’s basically ultraviolet paint. It’s just (mostly) transparent at colours we can see so it doesn’t look any different to us. If you see ultraviolet, like a bee, sunscreen would look like bright “white” stripes…it reflects almost all the UV.

Since the UV is reflected, not absorbed, it doesn’t damage your skin, doesn’t trigger a tanning response, and prevents sunburn.

Well you can still tan but high spf sun screens won’t let you. Basically they work one of two ways. The first is by reflecting uv (the type of light that causes tanning and burning) or by absorbing it and turning it into heat. The more effective the sunscreen the less I’ve gets through to hit you.