Sunscreen is part of our daily lives, an essential when travelling to the tropics and yet, what do we know about it? Here are 5 interesting facts that you didn’t know about sunscreen.
Fact #1: We used sun protection since antiquity
If you don’t have sunscreen, the best protection against sun damage is your clothing. Ancient people used to wear a wimple or cover in a cape, but they wanted more. These early innovators were the first to formulate salves as a means of curbing sun damage— you can say that they created the first sunscreen! They used extracts of rice, jasmine and lupine plants whose products are still used in skin care today.
Fact #2: “Top Secret” military research
Yes, the U.S. Army and Air Force were very interested in sunscreen and even made it “Top secret” military research. In 1940s, they asked the American Medical Association for advice about the most effective sunscreen for soldiers. Researchers examined the effectiveness of 12 compounds and concluded that red veterinary petrolatum can be an effective, waterproof sunscreen.
Fact #3: The Piz Buin company
It is a marketer of sunscreen products, named in honor of the mountain where in 1946, Swiss chemist Franz Greiter allegedly got the sunburn that inspired his concoction, what may have been the first effective modern sunscreen.
Fact #4: The first SPF sunscreen
Nowadays, all sunscreens have an SPF value , and physicians recommend SPF 30 And up. But what was the first SPF value given to a sunscreen?
In 1974, Greiter adapted earlier calculations from Friedrich Ellinger and Rudolf Schulze and introduced the “sun protection factor” (SPF), which has become a worldwide standard for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen, indicating how long a sunscreen protects the skin. It has been estimated that Gletscher Crème had an SPF of 2, yucks!
Fact #5: Active ingredients
Sunscreens are made with two types of active ingredients: mineral particles, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, or organic components, such as compounds like oxybenzone.
These particles in sunscreens provide the protection against UV rays by blocking or reflecting sunlight. Organic compounds absorb UV rays and release their energy as heat, providing chemical protection. We always recommend natural, mineral sunscreens as they are safer and in general hypoallergenic.
Sunscreens have a great and interesting history since ancient times till nowadays. We’ve been developing to improve our health and looks, but did you know these interesting myths we’ve busted about sunscreen?