Understanding your cosmetics

What makes sunscreen work?

Woman applying sunscreen creme on tanned shoulder. Skincare. Body Sun protection suncream. Bikini hat woman applying moisturizing sunscreen lotion on back.

Two main types of UV rays from the sun damage our skin: UVA and UVB. They contribute to skin ageing and cause sunburn. Enough skin damage built up over time can lead to skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself against both types of UV rays.

You can protect your skin from the sun by staying in the shade, covering your skin with clothing and using sunscreen products. Essential sunscreen ingredients called UV filters help reduce the UV rays reaching the skin. They do this in one of two ways: absorb the UV-light by ‘soaking it up’; or reflect it away from the skin.

Because UV filters are effective against specific UV rays, most sunscreen products include several UV filters to protect against the whole range of UV rays.


Cosmetics matter to people and play an important role in our everyday life. On average European consumers use over seven different cosmetics daily. You too? It’s only natural that you want to know more about the ingredients in those products.

In the digital world we live in, there’s a deluge of information on cosmetics. However, it can be difficult to know which sources are reliable. COSMILE Europe is a European cosmetic ingredient database that offers reliable, verified and scientifically supported information on almost 30,000 ingredients used in cosmetics.

This database will help you understand why certain ingredients are in your cosmetic products; which properties they have and much more. The database is currently available in fourteen languages with more to come.

Search the Database

Why our information is reliable

All information in COSMILE Europe comes from verified sources and is based on independent expert knowledge.

The list of ingredients and what they do comes from the European Commission’s CosIng database, an official source of information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Learn more by clicking here.

More detailed information on ingredient properties, whether they are man-made and/or of natural origin, in which types of products the ingredients can be found, etc… comes from independent experts and scientific assessments published by European and national expert bodies.