An “over the counter” or OTC pharmaceutical product designed to protect users against excessive sun exposure. Sunscreens in America are regulated by the FDA which first introduced the SPF or Sun Protection Factor rating system for sunscreens in the early 1970s. The FDA also specifies a list of acceptable active ingredients in sunscreen – there are currently 16 ingredients on this list. Most active ingredients are chemical absorbers such as ocytl methoxycinnamate (OMC), homosalate or octocrylene which absorb UVB or oxybenzone or avobenzone which absorb UVA. Other active ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which are physical barriers to UV and so are called blockers or reflectors or diffusers.
A substance that helps to absorb, reflect, or scatter most of the sun's harmful rays. Recommended sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and have an SPF of at least 15. Using lotions or creams that contain sunscreens can help protect the skin from premature skin aging and damage that may lead to cancer.
A cream or lotion that is SPF rated. It reacts with the skin to create an invisible barrier against the sun. The strength of the barrier is determined by the SPF number. The lower the number the less protection. Using a sunscreen will not prevent you from tanning but it will lower your risk of getting burned. Sunscreens chemically absorb UV rays while sunblocks physically deflect them.