The sun. Whether it’s taking a stroll to the supermarket or a day out at the beach, our skin is constantly in contact with sun rays. That rosy glow is highly sought after by people all around the world, however, science warns us about the dangers of excessive exposure of sun on skin.

High-energy Ultraviolet rays (UV rays) are a form of ionizing radiation, meaning energy is powerful enough to remove an electron from an atom. This can damage the genome of cells, cause DNA to mutate, and cancer to develop. In simple terms, long term exposure under the sun can cause wrinkles and lines, contributing to the number one cause of skin aging and in the worst case scenario, skin cancer. 

What is UV and how does it harm us?

Sunlight consists of an array of rays in the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. A portion of rays emitted from the sun falls under the ultraviolet region, hence the short form, UV.

  •  Ultraviolet A (UVA, 320-400nm) has a longer wavelength and is more associated with skin aging and skin cancer.
  •   Ultraviolet B (UVB, 290-320nm) has a shorter wavelength and is more associated with sun burns in addition to skin aging and skin cancer.
  •   Ultraviolet C (UVC, 200-290nm) is the dangerous of all UV but generally filtered out by the ozone layer so it doesn’t have much of an effect.[5] It is therefore vital to ensure the sustainability of the ozone layer and to avoid using chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that could damage it.

It is important to note that you are not safe from UV rays on cloudy days! As long as there is visible light from the sun, UV rays remain as an invisible hazard. 

Fun fact:

  • UVA is able to penetrate almost anything that isn’t opaque.
  • Usually the shorter the wavelength, the higher the ionizing potential, and therefore the more dangerous it is.
  • UV rays from the sun consist of ~95% UVA and ~5% UVB, which significantly amplifies the detrimental effects of UVA over other UV types.

 1Source View:

 Due to the increase in global warming, UV rays are more prone, now than ever, to damaging our skin. To protect yourself against the sun’s harmful UV rays, it is important to put on some sunscreen… or carry an umbrella.

 The Albedo effect 

Why does it feel so hot? We’ve all felt the heat when wearing a black shirt during summer. It is commonly understood that white objects tend to reflect light while black objects tend to absorb light. Places like Los Angeles and California have utilized the principles of this effect and resorted to painting their roads white using CoolSeal “to reduce urban heat island effect”.[6]

1Source View:

Nowadays, there is a larger wave of awareness and conversation regarding the dangers of solar radiation. Clothing choices and skin products have a large impact on how much radiation affects our skin.

Everything You Need to Know about Sunscreen

What’s SPF?

We’ve all seen the plethora of brightly colored sunscreen products lined up against supermarket shelves. But what do those numbers mean?

The number is a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating commonly seen on sunscreen which tells you the duration you can stay in the sun by wearing that sunscreen relative to the duration you can stay in the sun without that sunscreen.

For example, if you were to get a sunburn after 10mins without sunscreen, wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30, that means you can stay 30x longer or 300mins (5hrs) before getting a sunburn.

1Source View

The SPF rating doesn’t indicate the “superior-ness” of a sunscreen, but just the duration you can go before reapplication. It is important that one should generally reapply sunscreen after every 1-2hrs and especially after sweating and swimming. UVA is the primary cause of skin aging, so it’s crucial to ensure proper protection against the Sun.

Different Types of Sunscreen

There are two major types of sunscreens – physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.[8]

Physical Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens are also sometimes called mineral sunscreens derived from compounds which occur naturally in nature:

  1. titanium dioxide (TiO2)
  2. zinc oxide (ZnO)

Fun fact, the natural white color of both these compounds give the white sheen we see on our skin after applying sunscreen. Physical sunscreens are generally classed as more “organic” and “natural” and may be more suitable to those with sensitive skin. It works like a mirror that reflects and scatters the sun’s rays.

1Source View

Don’t trust physical sunscreens that don’t appear white, since that means the concentration of physical sunscreen ingredients isn’t high enough to protect you from the sun.

Chemical Sunscreens

These usually work by absorbing the sun’s rays and then dissipating it away as heat. Chemical sunscreens may be more suitable for athletes and swimmers as physical sunscreens would quickly be washed off by sweat or water.

 An unfortunate side-effect of absorbing the sun’s rays is the possible formation of radicals and unwanted by-products. Recent studies have shown that they have an adverse effect on marine biology which is significant enough for some regions to ban certain ingredients:

Common ingredients found in chemical sunscreens include:

Vitamin D

However, the sun is not all bad as its rays are actually the main source of Vitamin D for us. Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth.

Furthermore, some sunlight, especially UVB, is required for the body to synthesize Vitamin D from cholecalciferol. Particularly in places where sunlight is limited, Vitamin D supplements should be taken to prevent Vitamin D deficiency that could result in rickets or osteoporosis.

Here’s some selections of Vitamin D supplements: https://1source.com/product-categories/708

1Source View

Contrary to the ongoing trend of taking supplements, our advice is not to take them unless you actually have a deficiency, or when advised by a medical professional. Excessive consumption of water-soluble vitamins (like Vitamin C, B) will only lead to very expensive urine as it is easily flushed out of the body. Excessive consumption of fat-soluble vitamins (like Vitamin A, D, E, K) is more likely to lead to more harm than good as our bodies store fat-soluble substances more easily.

 1Source Final Notes

1Source is here to break down cosmetic myths and provide 100% transparency on the products you find on supermarket shelves. Our experts aim to debunk myths, marketing hypes and trends to educate the public such that you can make the best decisions for the health and safety of you and your loved ones. If you have skin issues, do consult your doctor or dermatologist as they have the authority to recommend a suitable sunscreen based on your medical history and/ or skin conditions to prevent them from worsening. In the issue of protecting our skin from the sun, it is best to use opaque, physical sun blockers like clothes, umbrellas, UV-shades.

Written by Cybel Lihn, edited by Heather Ng

Here’s a reference of sunscreens for babies and young children: https://1source.com/product-categories/362

Here’s the reference for teens and adult: https://1source.com/product-categories/49 


[1] Induction of bystander effects by UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation in human fibroblasts and the implication of reactive oxygen species. (Free Radic. Biol. Med., 68, 278–287. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.12.021)

[2] http://climate.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Albedo-Enhancement-Localized-Climate-Change-Adaptation-with-Substantial-CoBenefits.pdf

[3] Sea Ice-Albedo Climate Feedback Mechanism. (J. Clim., 8(2), 240–247. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1995)008<0240:siacfm>2.0.co;2)

[4] Sunscreens. (Am. J. Clin. Dermatol., 3(3), 185–191. doi:10.2165/00128071-200203030-00005)

[5] Induction of bystander effects by UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation in human fibroblasts and the implication of reactive oxygen species. (Free Radic. Biol. Med., 68, 278–287. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.12.021)

[6] http://climate.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Albedo-Enhancement-Localized-Climate-Change-Adaptation-with-Substantial-CoBenefits.pdf

[7] Sea Ice-Albedo Climate Feedback Mechanism. (J. Clim., 8(2), 240–247. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1995)008<0240:siacfm>2.0.co;2)

[8] Sunscreens. (Am. J. Clin. Dermatol., 3(3), 185–191. doi:10.2165/00128071-200203030-00005)


Subtotal: $0.00 USD