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Determining the effectiveness of different sunscreen products in blocking ultraviolet (UV) radiationFeatured science projectScience project video


The hypothesis that sunscreen lotion with higher SPF values will block a larger amount of UV radiation , is proven to be true for SPF 15 and SPF 30 sunscreen. However, there was no difference in UV levels when sunscreen products containing SPF 30 and SPF 50 were used.

UV light is responsible for causing the skin to age faster and increasing the risk of skin cancer. The use of proper sunscreen can help to protect our skin from the damage caused by UV light. An SPF 15 lotion  blocks 94% of the UV light while  SPF 30 lotion blocks 97% of UV light, and SPF 45 blocks 98% of the UV light.

Also consider

What would happen if this  science fair project were to be repeated at different times of the day?

The experiment can be also repeated indoors by using a UV lamp.
How about our computer monitors? or televisions? Do they emit UV radiation? Compare the difference in UV radiation emitted, if any, by old CRT (cathode ray television) screens and LCD (liquid crystal display) screens.


About forecasts for UV protection -

Why measure UV? -

How to measure the UV index using the UV meter? -

High SPF sunscreens – are they better? -

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
The set up and preparation of the test and control groups will require approximately one hour, while observations and recording of data will require one day.
Material availability:
May be purchased from a hardware store
Safety concerns:

Be extremely careful when handling glass. Adult assistance is required. You should also protect all participants from exposure to the sun. Use sunscreen/umbrellas and ensure that you are properly hydrated