Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen: What’s the Difference?
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Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen: What’s the Difference

Sunscreen plays a critical role in the health of your skin. Every time you venture outdoors, you put your skin at risk. Harmful ultraviolet rays are associated with premature skin aging. 

Over time, exposure to the sun without protection can cause age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. By slathering on a quality sunscreen, you can help protect your skin and slow down this aging process. 

There are two main types of sunscreen to choose from: physical and chemical. While one may not necessarily be better than the other, each type delivers different functions that help protect skin.

What Is Physical Sunscreen?

Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These active ingredients work by creating a barrier on top of the skin that deflects and scatters UV rays away from the skin. 

Physical sunscreens provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays, making it a broad-spectrum product. It also becomes effective from the moment you apply it. There’s no need to wait before going outdoors. 

In addition, physical sunscreens last longer than their chemical counterparts and are less likely to cause irritation which makes them a good choice for sensitive skin.

What Is Chemical Sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreens contain organic or carbon-based compounds, such as avobenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, or oxybenzone. These ingredients create a chemical reaction by changing UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin. This means that the harmful UV rays are not absorbed by the skin. 

Chemical sunscreens are favored for daily use as they are thin and can be worn under makeup. However, they must be applied at least 10 minutes before going outside to be truly effective. With chemical sunscreens, there is also a greater chance of skin irritation. 

Choosing a Protective Sunscreen

While chemical sunscreen is widely available, physical sunscreen is known for being more natural and skin-friendly. When choosing a sunscreen, look for a product that offers a range of skin benefits. Our selections include:

  • Clear Defense SPF 45 with Broad Spectrum – This lightweight formula contains a blend of active ingredients that protect against UVA and UVB rays, as well as infrared radiation. It has also been found helpful in improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as blotchiness, redness, and hyperpigmentation. Clear Defense leaves no reside and can help boost firmness and elasticity for younger-looking skin.
  • Sheer Defense Tinted SPF 46 with Broad Spectrum – Sheer Defense is an oil-free formula that is rich in antioxidants and other skin-soothing ingredients. In addition to protecting skin from ultraviolet rays, the fast-absorbing SPF also reduces redness and blotchiness and combats free radicals. You can find Sheer Defense in a universal tint that matches most skin types.

When choosing a sunscreen, consider what types of activities you plan to do outdoors and how long you’ll be in the sun. However, no matter which you choose, be sure that you apply some type of sunscreen to your skin every time you go outdoors. 

To purchase the products mentioned above, visit this page.

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