Understanding the active ingredients in sunscreen is a bit like learning a foreign language that uses a different alphabet. Suffice it to say in short that sunscreens are made up of a combination of two types of ingredients: those that reflect ultraviolet (UV) rays and those that absorb UV rays. Although that might sound simple enough, there are also two types of rays: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVB causes sunburn at the outer layers of skin, but UVA causes sun damage that reach deeper layers of skin. Both UVA and UVB radiation can contribute to the development of skin cancer. Most sunscreen ingredients protect against UVB rays, but ectoin a natural molecule that was recently patented absorbs UVA radiation and is also very effective as a moisturizer. These two qualities make it a highly desirable ingredient in sunscreens because it can help skin retain moisture at the same time as protect skin from cancer-causing rays. There are currently only a few sunscreens available on the market that include ectoin, but those that do are providing a broad spectrum of sun protection, regardless of the SPF factor.

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