The Difference Between Chemical and Physical Sunscreen

DMK Skin care July 15, 2019

If you want your skin to look as bright and youthful as ever, you need to make sure it’s protected from the sun’s ultraviolet rays at all times. Sun protection is essential, which is why you should look for sunscreens that have a minimum SPF of 30. It’s also important to look out for sunscreens that are paraben-free, oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (so it won’t clog pores) and protects against UVA and UVB rays. Now the question remains, should you choose a chemical sunscreen or a physical one? This guide is here to narrow down your choice and find the perfect sunblock solution for you!

What is Chemical Sunscreen?

Chemical refers to the spray form of sunscreen. It’s absorbed directly into the skin, allowing any UV rays that follow from sun exposure to convert into heat before being released from the body. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate.

The Pros and Cons of Chemical Sunscreen

This is the best solution if you’re going swimming in the sun or will constantly be in the water, chemical sunscreen is formulated to be both water and sweatproof. Because it’s absorbed into the skin quickly, you don’t need much to get the best protection. This option has a thin consistency that makes it easy to apply to the skin and comfortable for all-day wear. It’s also easy to add other skincare ingredients like peptides and enzymes to further benefit your skin.

Even though chemical sunscreen is quickly absorbed into the skin, you’ll need to wait about ten minutes for the spray to effectively dry and work its magic before going outside. It also has the potential to increase discoloration and spotting when your skin’s internal temperature gets too hot. If you have dry or sensitive skin, there’s a higher chance of skin irritation, especially when you get higher in SPF formulations. You’ll need to reapply this option more frequently, as the protection dwindles down faster, and if sweat mixes with the sunscreen and enters your eyes, expect it to sting a bit.

What is Physical Sunscreen?

Also known as the physical sun blocker, this form of sunscreen is the traditional creamy consistency that sits on top of the skin and works to reflect the sun’s UV rays. The main ingredients in any reliable physical sunscreen include the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
The Pros and Cons of Physical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreen is good for sensitive skin types, as it’s less irritable and provides more moisture. This option also protects against UVA and UVB rays as soon as it’s applied, and lasts longer in direct ultraviolet light, until sweat and water are introduced. Physical sunscreen is better for heat-activated skin, like rosacea or redness, as it deflects heat away from the skin, preventing redness. It has a long shelf life and is less likely to clog pores or cause blemishes for acne prone skin.

Because it’s a thick formula, physical sunscreen can feel heavy on the skin, making it more difficult to blend in completely while also being easy to rub off entirely. If you have a darker skin tone, then this option might leave a white cast on your skin. That cast will be more noticeable as you sweat since cream sunscreens create an unpleasant film. It’s less protective if a generous amount isn’t applied, but it can feel uncomfortable under makeup.

At European Beauty, we’re dedicated to helping our Yorkville customers obtain healthy and bright skin. With skincare services that include DMK organic enzyme facials, skin tightening, non-surgical facelifts, radiofrequency face lifting and more, contact us today to book an appointment.

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