Why understanding the sunscreen label is important

Like a good hat and your fave pair of sunnies, sunscreen is one of the best defences against sun damage and skin cancer. It’s also an easy way to help preserve your skin and fight the signs of ageing – win-win!

In a nutshell, sunscreen is a solution that combines several active and supporting ingredients to protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. By getting to know your skin type, skin tone, location and lifestyle, and becoming familiar with sunscreen labels and the ingredients used in sunscreen, you can make sure you’re giving your beautiful skin the protection it deserves.

how does sunscreen work

Here’s what they had to say…

Skin Expert Robyn Hutch sat down with Miriam and Paloma, to talk all things sun protection and care.

What does the sunscreen label tell us?

A little baffled by the different terms dotted all over the sunscreen label? We’ve broken down some of the most frequently used terms so you know what to look out for.

Sun protection factor (SPF)

A sunscreen’s sun protection factor (SPF) tells you how long your protection can last outdoors before having to reapply. The sun can be harmful due to ultraviolet B (UVB) ray exposure, so the SPF component measures the level of UVB protection a sunscreen offers.

You’ve probably seen sunscreens carrying different SPF, like SPF15, SPF30 or SPF50+. A bigger number isn’t an indicator of a more powerful sunscreen. Instead, the higher the SPF, the longer you will remain protected. However, we recommend SPF50 for the best protection.  And regardless of the SPF, it’s always a good idea to reapply sunscreen every two hours – especially if you’re in large outdoor areas.


The sun can make your skin lose moisture, which makes it more vulnerable to sun damage. Luckily, sunscreen can help out! NIVEA sunscreens contain moisturising properties to combat the dryness that can result from being exposed to the sun. Not only does this keep your skin soft, smooth and radiant, but it can also increase the level of protection offered by a sunscreen – an extra dose of moisture helps maintain your skin’s protective barrier.

Common sunscreen ingredients

  • Homosalate – a frequently used UV filter
  • Octyl Salicylate – similar to homosalate, this ingredient filters out UV rays
  • Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane – this active ingredient absorbs UV rays and converts them to heat, which tends to be less harmful
  • Octocrylene – this ingredient is used to absorb UVA and UVB rays and is photostable, meaning it remains effective when exposed to sunlight
  • Bemotrizinol – this photostable ingredient also absorbs both UVA and UVB rays
  • Vitamin E, Glycerin or Panthenol – these nifty moisturising ingredients help protect your skin from dryness and keep it soft and supple

But wait…there’s more!

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