Harmful effects of sun rays on the skin

Autumn is in full swing, but that doesn’t mean we no longer need to protect our skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Although the chance of burning from UVB rays is virtually nil, UVA rays are abundant.

UV-A sun rays are more often present than UV-B light

The intensity of UV-B depends on the season, location in the world and time of day. Although less intense than UV-B, UV-A rays are 30 to 50 times more common. The UV-A rays can be up to 95 percent of all UV rays that hit the earth’s surface. UVA solar rays are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass.

UV strength is affected by:

  • Location and sun height: the closer you get to the equator and the higher the sun is, the stronger the UV strength.
  • Clouds: on a cloudless day, the UV rays are stronger than with clouds. But even on a cloudy day, 90% of the sun’s UV rays penetrate the clouds.
  • Altitude: The higher you go, the thinner the atmosphere, which means that less UV is absorbed. Every 1000 meters in height the UV strength increases by 10-12%.
  • Reflections: different ground surfaces influence the UV reflections. Sea foam reflects 25%, dry (yellow) beach sand 25% and snow reflects 80% of UV rays. Half a meter under seawater, 40% of the UV radiation is transmitted.
  • In the shade, there is a reduction of more than 50% UV radiation.

UV-A penetrates collagen and elastin

In the skin, UV-A (320-400 nm, UVA1: 340-400 nm and UVA2: 320-340 nm) penetrates the sun’s rays into the dermis (the deeper layers of the skin) where the elastin and collagen fibers, which are responsible for ensure the elasticity of the skin, are located. In the long term, UV-A sun rays can lead to skin aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, skin discolorations and even skin cancer.

UV-B remains in the epidermis and ensures vitamin D production

UV-B (280-320 nm) sun rays penetrate the skin no further than the superficial epidermis, and is responsible for our vitamin D production. Too much UV-B causes redness, sunburn and eventually skin aging and skin cancer. Unlike UV-A, UV-B does not penetrate glass.

UV-A and UV-B filters

There are two types of sunscreen filters: the mineral “physical” filter and the non-mineral “chemical” filter. Sunscreens often use a combination of both.

Physical filters, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, scatter sunlight and bounce it off your body.

  • Benefit: Physical filters are safe and are best suited for children and people with sensitive skin.
  • Cons: They can leave a white, dull glow on the area of ​​skin applied. One way to mitigate this is nanotechnology, where the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide particles are made so small (< 100 nanometers) that they do not leave white marks. This poses potential safety risks, and scientists differ on this. The latest studies indicate that nanoparticles are harmless and cannot penetrate the skin to enter your bloodstream, but if you inhale them (in the case of sunscreen sprays containing titanium dioxide nanoparticles) they may be carcinogenic.

Chemical filters absorb UV-A and UV-B radiation and then convert it into heat and infrared radiation.

  • Disadvantage: They can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.
  • There are also indications that some chemical filters penetrate the skin and end up in your bloodstream. Various animal experiments and laboratory studies show that some ingredients can disrupt the endocrine system.


Below is an overview of the various chemical filters, categorized by safe, hormone-disrupting/allergy-inducing and unknown:

Chemical sunscreens that absorb both UV-A and UV-B radiation

Indication of hormone disruption:

  • 2-Ethoxyethylp-methoxycinnamate(Cinoxate )
  • Benzophenone-3 (Oxybenzone)
  • Octocrylene
  • Benzophenone-8 (Dioxybenzone)

Indication for allergy:

  • Polysilicone-15 (Dimethicodiethylbenzalmalonate)


  • Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenol Triazine (Tinosorb S/Bemotrizinol)
  • Drometrizole Trisiloxane (Mexoryl XL)
  • Methylene Bis-Benztriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol (Tinosorb M)

Chemical sunscreens that absorb UV-A radiation:

Indication of hormone disruption:

  • Methyl Anthranilate

Indication for allergy:

  • Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzon/Parsol 1789)


  • Disodium Phenyl Dibenzimidazole Tetrasulfonate

No evidence of hormone disruption or allergy:

  • Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid (Mexoryl SX/Ecamsule)

What does SPF actually mean? The Sun Protection Factor…..

Sunscreens have different values. The height of such a figure is based on the degree of UV-B protection, but says nothing about UVA protection.

The positive effects of the sun

How much sun is needed to produce enough vitamin D?

Below you will find a global and cautious indication based on: skin types, UV index, season June-August, between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PMr.

The height of such a figure is based on the degree of UV-B protection, but says nothing about UVA protection.

The sun power in the Netherlands in the summer months is between 4-5 to 6-7. Also view the sun power indicator in the right navigation on BeautyJournaal every day. You can also read more explanation about sun power here.Uv Index Sun Power Skin Type Sun Rays

Daycream Uva Filter

Iconic Elements Daycream with natural UVA filter (50 ml) is suitable for daily use. The natural algae not only provide prevention against the harmful effects of UVA, but also work together with shea and macadamia butter to better hydrate the skin.

For more information go to: our products

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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