Chemical and Physical Sunscreens


What works best for your skin health against sun exposure….

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing (or sometimes scattering) UV rays. Physical (or mineral) is when the UV is reflected off the skin, and doesn’t absorb into the skin at all.

Chemical sunscreen is far easier to find and use than physical, and is probably what you’re using currently.

Chemical sunscreens must go directly onto clean skin, and take 20 minutes to work. They are reputed to be better at the UVA (ageing) protection, while physicals are better at UVB (burning) protection, but as long as you’re using broad spectrum, you’re covered.

Because chemical sunscreens are resistant to sweat and water (unlike physical sunscreens) they are best for a day of swimming, or the beach or when sweating. But, since the sun can break down their effectiveness (some up to 90% in one hour!) you MUST re-apply often.

And then there is physical or mineral sun protection, which relies on zinc oxide or/and titanium dioxide to physically block the UV from getting to the skin.

Physical sunscreens are unlikely to cause irritation, (think of them as the mineral makeup of sun care) which is why all of the organic sun care brands are physical. If they do make you break out, it’s likely the titanium dioxide, not the zinc oxide.

Physical sunscreens go on TOP of all your other skin care, just before makeup. They start to work immediately and require no re application, unless water or sweat or tears interferes with your

original application. You can layer physical on top of chemical or use one that has both!


Leave a Reply