How sunscreen works

Protect against sunburn & skin cancer

It’s important for everyone to spend some time in the sun. Our bodies need enough Vitamin D to help produce calcium for healthy bones.

However, regular or excessive exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sun will accelerate the ageing process and increases the chances of developing sun spots, moles & even skin cancer. So it is important to wear sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin from harmful UV rays, protect against sunburn and slow the ageing process.

Sun safety is a real concern to us: it’s why we invest heavily in skin research.

NIVEA’s scientific research team were the first to produce a sunscreen with UV filters, in 1933, and we have been innovating ever since. Learn more about our high quality sunscreens, and how to be sun smart, through our expert advice and informative articles below.

Sun Safety

NIVEA Sun has teamed up with American artist Thomas Leveritt, renowned for his ground breaking video ‘How the sun sees you’ that raised awareness of the importance of sun protection. Together, NIVEA and Leveritt have created a new video that uses a UV camera to show how sunscreen protects skin from UV rays, protecting against sunburn.

When using sunscreens, remember to always read the label and use only as directed.


What is sunburn? Is it a real burn?
Most definitely. Sunburn is a first-degree burn of the top layer of skin caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and radiation from the sun. The first sign is your skin turning red. You may also feel general fatigue and mild dizziness. When skin also blisters and swells, it could be called a second-degree burn.

Severe sunburn can cause a whole-body reaction including a fever, chills, nausea and headaches. Prevention is always better than cure, but if you accidentally get burnt, use our after sunburn treatment.
What's the difference between UVA & UVB?
UVA rays reach a deeper layer of your skin and over time can affect your skin’s structure, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. UVB rays impact the top layer of skin, causing sunburn which can lead to skin cancer.

Think A for ageing and B for burning. Broad-spectrum sunscreens like the NIVEA SUN Ultra Sport and Ultra Beach, protect you from both UVA and UVB sun rays.
What's the difference between SPF 30 & SPF 50+?
SPF is all about time, not strength. It stands for Sun Protection Factor – being the length of time your skin is protected from sunburn, depending on your skin type. If you have fair skin and start turning red within 3 minutes, then an SPF 30 sunscreen will protect you for 3 x 30 = 90 minutes. An SPF 50+ sunscreen will give you at least 3 x 50 = 150 minutes protection.
Why do I need moisturiser in my sunscreen?
Moisturising ingredients like Vitamin E help to maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier against the outside environment. Dry skin is more likely to crack, which not only makes it more susceptible to the sun’s UV rays, but makes it less able to retain moisture and keep that protective barrier strong. Use a moisturising sunscreen from the NIVEA Sun range to keep you protected.
What is the UV index?
The Ultraviolet index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at a particular place and time. The purpose of the UV Index is to help people effectively protect themselves from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

UV Index 0 - 2.9: "Low" danger from the sun's UV rays for the average person. Recommended protection: Wear sunglasses on bright days. Use sunscreen if there is snow on the ground, which reflects UV radiation, or if you have particularly fair skin.

UV Index 3 - 5.9: "Moderate" risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Recommended protection: Take precautions, such as covering up, if you will be outside. Stay in shade near midday when the sun is strongest.

UV Index 6 - 7.9: "High" risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Recommended protection: Wear sunglasses and use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, cover the body with sun protective clothing and a wide-brim hat, and reduce time in the sun within three hours of noon.

UV Index 8 - 10.9: "Very high" risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Recommended protection: Wear SPF 30 sunscreen or SPF 50+ sunscreen, a shirt, sunglasses, and a hat. Do not stay in the sun for too long.

UV Index 11+: "Extreme" risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Recommended protection: Take all precautions. Wear sunglasses and use a SPF 50+ sunscreen. Cover the body with a long-sleeve shirt and trousers, wear a very broad hat, and avoid the sun from three hours before until three hours after noon.

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