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Does Sunscreen Keep You Cool?

Sunscreen is like an old, dependable friend you are familiar with who can still surprise you occasionally. You’ve probably been using sunscreen for a long time since you know it can protect you from the sun’s UV rays, which may possibly cause sunburn and even skin cancer. But what about keeping you cool – can it do that?

Sunscreen can keep you cool. According to a study performed by the American Physiological Society, sunscreen helps prevent the skin’s nitric oxide levels from dropping. Low nitric oxide levels can lead to less blood flow to the skin, which in turn could lead to a rise in body heat. 

The rest of this article will discuss how this process works and why keeping your skin cool is important. To learn more, read on. 

How does sunscreen keep the skin cool?

As mentioned above, sunscreen prevents nitric oxide levels from dropping too low. Nitric oxide is a compound in your body that aids the skin’s blood vessels to relax and to grow wide for proper blood flow.

However, when your skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, the amount of nitric oxide in the skin is reduced. As the nitric oxide grows less, the blood flow to the skin grows less as well. And if the blood flow is reduced, what happens is that the body temperature spikes up.

The researchers found out that both sunscreen and sweat can prevent a drop in the levels of nitric oxide and blood flow. However, they discovered that sunscreen has an advantage over sweat because it also increases the levels of both!

Here is an excerpt from the abstract of the research paper: “Sunscreen protects against both inflammatory and heating‐induced endothelial dysfunction.”

Does Sunscreen Keep You Cool?

Don’t be intimidated by the complicated scientific terms!

To put things simply, sunscreen plays a crucial role in preventing and minimizing the UV damage to the nitric oxide levels and blood vessel function of your skin. By doing so, it also prevents and minimizes the possibility of a rise in your body temperature.

In short, sunscreen does not just protect your skin from skin cancer and sunburn; it also protects you from potential fever and heat stroke.

While sunscreen is useful for everyone, its special benefits make it doubly important for people who are regularly exposed to the sun for a long period. 

For instance, sunscreen is especially helpful for professionals who work outdoors, athletic people who love to participate in outdoor sports, beach lovers who spend hours hanging out in the sun, tourists and backpackers who trek all over the world, and so much more.

Why is it important that sunscreen keeps the skin cool?

Does it really matter that sunscreen keeps the skin cool even during sweltering weather? 

The answer is yes! 

Here are three reasons why it’s important that sunscreen keeps the skin cool:

It Improves Your Health and Safety

While the rise of body temperature could simply lead to mild discomfort, there is also a possibility that it could lead to something more serious. In extreme cases, overheating can potentially result in fainting, stroke, or even death. A basic preventative measure, such as using sunscreen when going outdoors, could go a long way to protect your safety and health in the long run.


It Makes Going Outside Less of a Hassle

Even if you don’t encounter serious health problems caused by heatstroke, you may experience other health issues such as dizziness and weakness. While these aren’t life-threatening, they’ll definitely hamper your daily routine and activities. It’s easy to avoid the inconvenience of these minor ailments by slathering on some sunscreen.

It Makes Going Outside More Comfortable

Last but not least, why would you want to feel hot and sticky when you could feel cool and fresh instead? A little effort in putting on sunscreen goes a long way to ensure your comfort even when the rising temperature is less than comfortable.


  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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