What’s the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens? There is a lot of debate about which is the best choice to keep you sun safe so we decided to do a comparison.
What is a chemical sunscreen?
A chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs the UV rays. Once absorbed, it transforms the rays into heat and expels them from your body. Essentially, chemical sunscreens contain chemical ingredients like Avobenzone and Octinoxate. This type of sunscreen is often preferred because it has a thinner consistency and spreads nicely all over the skin. One thing we can’t ignore in the recent news is that chemical sunscreens are being banned in certain places for posing a risk to the coral reefs when people wear them while swimming in the ocean. Also, you need to wait at least 10 minutes for the sunscreen to absorb before heading out into the sun.
What is a physical sunscreen?
A physical (mineral) sunscreen creates a protective layer on the top of the skin and reflects the sunrays. Physical sunscreens have Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the main active ingredients. This type of sunscreen offers the same UVA and UVB protection with some additional benefits. It protects from the sun as soon as it’s applied, it lasts longer than a chemical sunscreen when exposed to UV light and it’s great for blemish-prone and sensitive skin because of the ingredients. It does however, easily rub off so needs to be applied more frequently if you are doing a lot of activity. Also, since the main ingredient is Zinc, some people find it leaves a chalky look on the skin.
Which one should you choose?
Although we recommend using a physical sunscreen, we know that all skincare products don’t suit all skin types. The best sunscreen for you to choose is the one the works well with your skin and keeps you protected from the sun, whether or not it’s Physical or Chemical.
Our favourite sunscreen is from AlumierMD. They have 6 different choices to suit all skin types. All of their sunscreens are physical sunscreens and the best part; they have different shades to choose from so you don’t leave feeling chalky! (retail $46-48).