We always talk about the importance of wearing sunscreen on our faces every single day. If there is one preventive measure we can take against aging, it is wearing sunscreen! If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I mention it at least once in almost every blog. Anyway, just like anything else in the skincare world, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation when it comes to buying the right product for you. Sunscreen is no different, unfortunately, and today I want to talk a little bit about the pros and cons between two specific sunscreen types: physical and chemical. Our number one priority is healthy skin, so let’s see which one can rack up the most brownie points with us.
Photo Courtesy of ZO Health
Physical sunscreens are those that contain active mineral ingredients. The two main mineral ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They work to protect the skin from sun damage by sitting atop the skin. In other words, they are like a skin shield that deflects the UV rays from penetrating the skin. They can protect against both UVA and UVB rays, and they work immediately upon application. These types of physical sunscreen can also just be referred to as mineral or natural sunscreens.
Seems pretty good to me! Another added bonus to the physical sunscreen is that they are less likely to clog the pores, but they tend to feel heavier on the skin when you wear them.
Now, chemical sunscreens are composed of different ingredients, as you would imagine. Many of the active ingredients in these are organic compounds like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone. They work by creating chemical reactions with the UV rays and convert them into heat. That heat is then released from the skin. So, they work almost completely opposite of physical sunscreens. They absorb rather than deflecting, and they are also usually thinner on the skin than physical. However, it does mean that less protection is need because there is no risk of leaving any open spaces. The chemical reaction works just the same!
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Both seem like great options to me, and honestly, can we even choose which one is better? No! It is recommended to actually use a combination of both physical and chemical sunscreens (as long as your skin is not irritated by something in either option) to get the best bang for your buck! You’ll get protection inside and outside your skin molecules, which is the best way to prevent those wrinkles!