There are so many sunscreen options out there on the market it can often be a minefield to understand exactly which ones you should be using and what the difference is between all of them. It can be a real trial finding which one’s best work for you. We are all different and all have different skins that react differently to different products. Let’s face it, no one wants to use a sunscreen that makes them look like Casper the ghost!
Nonetheless, choosing the right sunscreen for you doesn’t have to be an ordeal, if you know what to look for and how to shop smarter. This starts with understanding the difference between the two main types of sunscreen, chemical and physical – otherwise known as mineral.
Below we break down what exactly chemical and physical sunscreens are, what each type does best and how they work. Hopefully this will make your sunscreen shopping far easier in the future.
PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN: HOW DOES IT WORK?
Physical sunscreens (mineral) are called physical, because there literally form a physical barrier that sits on your skin and deflects the sun’s harmful UV rays to prevent your skin burning. The reason they are sometimes referred to as mineral is because they are formulated with mineral based ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are really good at reflecting and scattering the harmful rays from the sun. If you don’t see any other active ingredients on your sunscreen other than titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, then it is a mineral sunscreen.
THE PROS: Generally, physical sunscreen or mineral sunscreen is seen as a safer option. This is because it sits on top of the skin rather than being absorbed into it. This is especially the case for children and pregnant woman. It’s also a great option for those who need to just quickly, slap on some sunscreen and get out the door. It starts working right away, unlike chemical sunscreen, which can take up to half an hour to give you effective sun protection. If your skin is sensitive, this should also be your go to.
THE CONS: The most common one? Casper the ghost…. No real talk… most often physical sunscreens get the complaint that the ingredient’s leave a white, ghost like (Casper) cast on the person applying the sunscreen. Whilst they are generally recognised as safe, effective and more reliable for blocking UV light, they are thicker and more difficult to apply. Thankfully, in recent years advancements in technology and tinted formulas have led to the consumer having more and more options that don’t necessarily make you look like a walking ghost. Check out some of our favourites below.
CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN: HOW DOES IT WORK?
Unlike physical sunscreens that sit on the surface of the skin, chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and form a chemical reaction which then helps to prevent UV damage. Common ingredients in chemical sunscreens are oxybenzone, dioxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, avobenzone, octinoxate and other chemicals, which absorb into the skin and release it from damaging UV rays. If you’re looking at the ingredient list in your sunscreen and thinking what they hell is this, physical or chemical…. As a rule of thumb, If it contains anything more than zinc oxide or titanium dioxide it’s a chemical sunscreen. Note – there are some hybrid formulas out there on the market which contain both physical and chemical.
THE PROS: The main one, you don’t end up like Casper… and they’re generally easier to apply. Due to the fact they’re often lighter, they are preferred for oily skin types.
THE CONS: believe it or not there are some.. the fact that they are partially absorbed means some of it gets into the bloodstream and the potential side effects of this are still under study. Nonetheless, they are generally considered safe. Another con, and for us it’s a big one, is a lot of the chemicals used in chemical sunscreens is really harmful to Coral Reefs. There are brands who are working really hard to combat this like Supergoop. If you can try and find a sun screen that is reef safe. We all know how important coral reefs are to the eco-system of the ocean. They can also be irritating for sensitive skins.
- Protects against UVA and UVB Light
- Brush on before or after makep
- Coral Reef safe
Award winning photo stabilizer Solastay® S1 reduces sensitivity issues often associated with UV absorbers. New age antioxidants Lipochroman-6 (TM) and Preventhelia prevent damage to DNA proteins caused by UV exposure. This light lotion contains grape stem cell culture extract to enhance photo protection and delay cell senescence. Fast absorbing with an elegant feel, this is designed for daily use.
- Protects against UVA, UVB, visible light and infrared-A with SPF50 and PA++++
- Supercharged anti-oxidant Fernblock® protects skin health
- DNA repair enzymes
- Additional anti-oxidants Vitamins C & E plus green tea extract