Chemical and physical UV filters

Original Article, Pol J Public Health, Vol. 132 (2022): 48-51

Barbara Nieradko-Iwanicka1, Klaudia Wysokińska2

1 Hygiene and Epidemiology Department, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
2 Students’ Scientific Association at the Hygiene and Epidemiology Department, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

DOI_disc_logo 10.2478/pjph-2022-0010

© 2022  Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


Introduction. The European Code Against Cancer recommends protection from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light to reduce the risk of developing skin cancers. The most harmful sub-range of UV is UVB.

Aim. The aim of the study was to collect information on the available means of protection against solar radiation, in particular UV filters, and the mechanism of their action.

Material and methods. Together 24 publications and 2 legal acts on UV filters were analyzed.

Results. Chemical filters are aromatic molecules, the carboxyl group of which under the influence of energy from absorbed radiation undergoes isomerization. The substances classified as chemical filters are para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), p-methox­ycinaminic acid derivatives and octocrylene. Physical or mineral filters include substances of mineral origin. Two types of prod­ucts are used: colored pigments with a particle size of 200-300 µm and „micronized” zinc oxide or titanium oxide pigments with a particle size of 20 to 80 nm. This group includes titanium oxide, zinc oxide, iron oxides and mica-titanium oxide system.

Conclusions. Chemical and physical UV filters differ in the way they work and range of possible side effects. Most often the sunscreens available on the market contain chemical UV filters or a mixture of chemical and physical ones.

Keywords: ultraviolet, sun protective factors, chemical filters, physical filters.

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