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Chemical Vs. Physical (Mineral) Sunscreen

You need daily sun protection to keep your skin healthy and youthful. But, which type of sunscreen should you choose?
Sun protection generally falls into one of two categories: chemical and physical (mineral).

Sunscreen is essential to keep skin protected from the dangers of sun exposure, including sunburn, sun damage and melanoma. It's also beneficial in minimizing the aging effects of UV rays, such as fine lines and wrinkles, rough skin and hyper-pigmentation.

The two categories of sunscreen are chemical and physical. While both provide protection, chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen differ in their active ingredients as well as the way they protect against UV exposure. Here, we've compiled the key points you need to know about each type.                             

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens are often referred to as 'absorbers'. Their active ingredients are organic (carbon-based) compounds that absorb UV rays. Through a chemical reaction, these compounds convert UV rays into heat, then release that heat from the skin.

Physical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreens are "reflectors." Their active ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which act as physical blockers. These minerals form a protective barrier on the skin and reflect harmful UV rays before they make contact with the skin's surface.

Mineral Sunscreen Benefits

If you aren't yet convinced by zinc's superpowers, here are a few more reasons to add a mineral sunscreen to your daily routine.

Suitable For All Skin Types

Mineral sunscreens are hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. With their anti-inflammatory properties, they are gentle enough for the most sensitive skin types. And, they are free of pore-clogging silicons, making them a better option for those prone to blemishes.


Mineral sunscreens are also reef-safe; zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not pose a threat to our planet's delicate coral reefs. They are an ideal, environmentally-friendly choice for beach-goers and destination travelers who visit ocean side resorts.

Broad Spectrum Protection

Mineral sunscreens reflect both UVB and UVA rays from the skin's surface. UVB rays cause sunburn and uncomfortable symptoms such as redness, dryness and itchiness. UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are responsible for premature aging and play a key role in the development of melanoma.

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