As the summer months approach us all here in the Valley of the Sun, it is absolutely crucial that we apply sunscreen. Hopefully you apply it everyday before you leave your house, but do you ever wonder how sunscreen evolved?
The history of the age defying sunscreen.
Before I delve into the meat of it, let’s set some misconceptions straight.
According to the New York Times, “There are two kinds of solar rays: short ones called UVB that cause burning and skin cancer and long ones called UVA that cause skin cancer and wrinkling. SPF ratings — the letters stand for sun protection factor — reflect only the extent of protection against UVB. The higher the rating, the longer one can stay in the sun before burning.”
With that said, sunscreen was first introduced to the world in 1878 by Otto Veiel of Austria. Otto Veiel published one of the first reports of an unknown substance being used to protect the skin from these harmful rays. This unknown substance was revealed to be Tanning and worked to be some kind of sunscreen but in time turned to be very limited in effectiveness.
Next up were two fine gentlemen, Karl Eilham Hausser and Wilhelm Vahle in 1992. They created the first commercially available sunscreen in 1928 but failed.
As the decades have passed, many scientists and doctors have snowballed off each other with advances in this vital cream.
The man who gets the main prize is Franz Grieter’s reemergence by developing a way to measure a product’s ability to block ultra violet rays, known as the SPF. Shortly after, sun protection in all its entirety became quite a player in the business.
Racking up more than $500 million it’s first year on the market, sunscreen has truly proven its importance.
So, next time you leave the house in the morning, don’t forget to lather up your skin with sunscreen. You future self will thank you.