What Chemicals Are in Sunscreen?

What Chemicals Are in Sunscreen?
Sunscreens protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). Their ingredients vary according to how they work and whether they are natural or synthetic.

Reflect or Absorb?

There are two basic approaches for all sunscreens and sunblocks: They either absorb or reflect UV rays.


These sunscreens work by painting the skin with a solid smear that reflects all or nearly all of the UV rays from the skin. Examples of this are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.


Oxybenzone is an organic compound in many sunscreens that absorbs harmful rays.

Tinsorb M

Tinsorb M, also known as bisoctrizole, is primarily an absorber, but also has some reflective properties.


This is a little-known oral sunscreen made by combining gliadin with cantaloupe extract.

Padimate O

This is an organic compound used as an absorber, and is derived from 4-aminobenzoic acid.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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