Science is why we do this

Science is in our DNA. Not only the science of how the sun damages our skin but also the science required to develop world class products. Both give us purpose. We started with science to create our high performance range of skincare and clothing. We built our brand on this principal and we’re proud of it.

Explore this section to learn why the science is so important to us.

Watch this short clip to learn some elementary physics on the passage of ultraviolet light from the sun all the way down to us on earth.

In this clip, learn a bit about the biology of your skin and the impact ultraviolet light can have on it.

In the final clip in the series, discover the chemistry behind sunscreens and how they work.

This table shows the different sun protection standards and labelling ‘systems’ used across the world.

For each system, we show the corresponding score for LifeJacket’s skincare range. We set out to score maximum points across all global standards. That’s what we achieved and we’re proud of it.

Regions not listed use one or a combination of these major systems. For example, Australia adopts the European approach.

When it comes to cosmetic products, there can be a lot of jargon. Marketing can drive us into buying a product because of a certain claim or ingredient.

But how accurate are these claims and how important are they when it comes to your health and safety?

Being able to differentiate between what’s important and what’s marketing is difficult. In sun protection, only one thing matters: trust in the protection the product is providing.

If helpful, here’s our sun protection glossary so you can better understand what matters and what things mean. We’re happy to answer your questions or if you think any terms are missing, please just message us. 


Animal testingUsing animals to test the safety and hypoallergenic properties of human cosmetic products. Applies to both finished products and raw materials. Banned in the EU.
Anti-ageingA product claiming to protect the skin from harmful UVA rays and guard against the signs of ageing, e.g. wrinkles.
Anti-pollutionA product designed to prevent or reduce pollution, either in its manufacture or disposal, e.g. recyclable packaging.
Broad spectrumA product that offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
Remember: SPF relates to UVB protection only.
Chemical sunscreenAbsorbed into the skin, it absorbs UV rays, converting them into heat and releasing them from the body.
DermisA thick layer of living tissue below the epidermis that contains blood capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands and hair follicles.
EpidermisThe skin’s outer protective layer, made up of four separate layers. Contains the pigment melanin, which protects against harmful UV rays. Exposure to sunlight causes the skin to produce more melanin and darken, producing a tan. The epidermis is highly waterproof and an effective barrier against germs. It can also regenerate and grow back.
HypoallergenicProducts that claim to cause fewer allergic reactions than others.
Infrared-A (IR-A)Making up around 50% of the sun’s rays, infrared-A (IR-A) light also damages the skin and causes ageing. Traditional sunscreens don’t usually protect against IR-A.
Inorganic filtersSee definition for physical protection
Non-comedogenicA skincare product designed to not block the pores.
OctinoxateAn organic compound used in some sunscreens to protect against UVB rays.
Organic filtersSee definition for chemical sunscreen
Organic/naturalPopular terms suggesting a product is pure and has no added chemicals. However, a lack of regulations means that, even if it’s been chemically modified, a product can be described as ‘natural’ if its main ingredient comes from a natural source. Some products are also water-based, so if a shampoo is 90% water, a company can truthfully claim it’s ‘90% organic’, despite any added ingredients.
OxybenzoneA pale yellow organic compound used as a UV filter in sunscreen.
Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD)This is a scientific method of measuring the UVA protection factor. Similar in concept to SPF (which relates to UVB), PPD involves a panel of UVA protected and unprotected people being exposed to UVA light and comparing the time it will take to tan for these two groups to tan. A PPD of 10 implies it takes 10 times longer to tan than it would if unprotected.
Physical sunscreenOften referred to as ‘sun block’, this solution uses mineral-based ingredients, such as titanium dioxide, that sit on top of the skin to block UV rays and deflect damage.
Star ratingIntroduced by the UK chemist, Boots, this system has been widely adopted across the UK and Ireland. Ranging from 0 to 5, the stars represent the ratio of UVA protection to UVB protection. High SPFs with high star ratings (4 or 5) ensure sufficient protection against both UVA and UVB
Note: A low SPF may have a high number of stars, not because it provides adequate UVA protection, but because the ratio of UVA to UVB protection is roughly the same.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)Sun protection factor (SPF) indicates how much protection a sunscreen provides from UVB rays. For example, if your skin burns after 10 minutes with no protection, an SPF 15 product would allow you to stay in the sun for around 15 times longer, i.e. 150 minutes.
Note: SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98%.
SunblockA product that sits on top of the skin, acting as a physical barrier against UV rays by reflecting them away from the skin.
SunscreenReserved for products that offer chemical protection, i.e. are absorbed into the skin and in turn absorb harmful UVA rays before they reach the skin’s dermis layer.
Ultraviolet (UV)Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun. Accounting for 10% of the sun’s total light output, a small amount is essential for the production of Vitamin D. However, overexposure can harm the skin and eyes.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)Life SPF for cosmetics, UPF is the rating given to clothing to indicate how effectively the fabric blocks UV light. A UPF rating of 50 means that only 1/50th (or 2%) of UV rays can penetrate the fabric.
UV filtersIndividual compounds or mixtures used in sunscreeen to block or absorb ultraviolet (UV) light.
UVAUVA rays make up 95% of all UV rays that reach Earth. Present during all hours of daylight, they can penetrate clouds and glass and are the main cause of ageing and wrinkles. They also contribute to the development of skin cancer.
UVA (EC circle)This symbol indicates that a product offers the minimum UVA protection factor recommended by the EU. This should be at least a third of the SPF on the label.
UVBLess common than UVA rays, but significantly more intense, UVB rays are the main cause of reddened and burned skin and play a key role in the development of skin cancer
UVCUVC is the most damaging UV ray, but luckily it’s filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere and isn’t a daily risk.
Vitamin DProduced by the human body when exposed to UVB rays, it helps us absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet, minerals that are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
WaterproofA sunscreen that repels water and sweat to work effectively. Must pass independent tests to prove it retains its stated SPF during swimming or sweating.
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