Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun damages the DNA of our skin cells which could potentially lead to development of skin cancer (Mahroos, Yaar, Phillps, Bhawan, & Gilchrest, 2002). Sunscreen is used to protect our skin from this damage. The two most commonly used sunscreens are physical and chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens, also referred to as mineral sunscreens, work by sitting on top of your skin and reflecting UV light, whereas chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin and absorb UV light. There are many different brands of these sunscreens in the market. We hypothesized that the physical sunscreens would serve as better protection than the chemical sunscreens due to their high cost and natural ingredients. Brands that we used that represent physical sunscreens were Badger and Goddess Garden. Brands of chemical sunscreens were Aveeno, Hawaiian Tropic, and Up & Up Target Sports. All the sunscreens were creamy and had an SPF of 30. On average, the physical sunscreens were two times more expensive than chemical sunscreens. To test our hypothesis, we used the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) as a model organism and exposed it to UV light while using the various sunscreens for protection. We then counted the survival rate of the E.coli colonies that were exposed. Our results demonstrated that there was no statistical significance in sunscreen protection. We concluded that physical sunscreens are not worth their price.
Lynn University Arts and Sciences Student Symposium
Boca Raton, Florida
College of Arts and Sciences
Torres, A., Jimenez Martin, L., & Korte, C.S., (2018, April). The Effectiveness of Different Types of Sunscreen against UV Light on Escherichia coli. Poster presentation given at the Lynn University Arts and Sciences Student Symposium, Boca Raton, FL.