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Physical Vs. Chemical Sunscreen: Which Is Better For You

Here is a guide to help you in deciding whether physical (mineral) or chemical sunscreen is the best choice for you.
Published -25 Aug 2022, 17:46 ISTUpdated -25 Aug 2022, 17:55 IST
physical and chemical sunscreen

Sunscreen is an essential skin care product that helps in protecting the skin from the damaging effects of solar UV radiation. It offers protection from both UV A and UV B radiation by reflecting, absorbing, and scattering both types of radiation. Its additional benefits include protection against premature ageing and damage that may even lead to skin cancer. 

There are many different types of sunscreens available on the market, including chemical and physical (mineral) sunscreen. If you are unclear about their differences or which one is best for you, read on.

Physical Sunscreen

Physical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreens or mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and act as a shield by  reflecting harmful UV radiation away from your skin.

Additionally, mineral sunscreens can help in blocking UVA rays that enter through windows and can result in pigmentation and collagen breakdown. This is the reasoning behind why it's important to use sunscreen every day, even if you don't plan on going outside, claims Healthline.

It consists of active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people with sensitive skin should use physical sunscreens (mineral sunscreen).

For people who apply sunscreen to their face and neck every day, mineral sunscreens are highly recommended as they provide the broadest protection.  However, a drawback of mineral sunscreens is that they can be chalky, difficult to spread, and, most notable, as they often leave a visible white cast on the skin.

Additionally, mineral sunscreens aren't necessarily as water-resistant as chemical ones, so while reapplying, you need to be more careful.

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge that uses active ingredients to absorb the sun rays, turn them into heat, and then release the heat through the skin. They contain one or more of the following active ingredients: avobenzone, ensulizole, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, or oxybenzone, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Chemical sunscreens are often simpler to wear on a wider range of skin tones since they typically do not leave a visible film layer on the skin.  They are lighter, more sheer than physical sunscreens, and that is why they are generally more favoured by consumers. But for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin, the active ingredients present in most chemical sunscreens can be rather irritating.

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Which Sunscreen Is Better For Your Skin?

Which Sunscreen Is Better For Your Skin

There is no obvious winner in the sunscreen battle between chemical and physical sunscreens. You can use sunscreen according to your needs. However, people with sensitive skin are advised to use mineral sunscreens to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

What remains important is that you wear sunscreen consistently.

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Your skin and body like you are unique. While we have taken all measures to ensure that the information provided in this article and on our social media channels is credible and expert verified, we recommend you consult a doctor or your dermatologist before trying a home remedy, quick hack or exercise regime. For any feedback or complaint, reach out to us at compliant_gro@jagrannewmedia.com