Not all sunscreens are created equal. Besides sun protection factor, you can also choose from chemical or physical sunscreen as well as hybrid formulas that contain both chemical and physical active ingredients. What is the difference and which is best for you?
Chemical sunscreen contains synthetic chemicals such as Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octorylene or Mexoryl. These are the ingredients that absorb UV rays and radiation. Chemical sunscreen first absorbs into the skin and then works to absorb the energy from the UV rays in sunlight and evenly dispersing this energy throughout the skin. Chemical sunscreen is effective in preventing sunburn, however, the sun’s energy is still able to enter the skin and cause hyperpigmentation and photo damage . If you chose to wear a chemical sunscreen, make sure that it also contains broad spectrum protection which works to prevent the absorption of damaging rays which can break down elastin and collagen in the skin and cause premature aging.
Physical Sunscreen, also known as sunblock contains ingredients such as Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide which acts as a physical shield from ultra violet radiation and provides broad spectrum protection from both UVB and UVA rays. When a physical sunscreen is applied to the skin, it forms a layer (sometimes a visible white residue) that sits directly on the skin.
So which type of sunscreen is better, Chemical or Physical? It really depends on your personal preference and how much you plan to be in the sun. For a day in the sun with full protection, a physical sunscreen is best. If you are off to run errands, a good chemical sunscreen or a hybrid sunscreen that combines both chemical and physical protection properties. The key is to find a formula that works best for your skin, but whichever you choose, be sure to wear it daily.
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense: This groundbreaking, weightless, 100% physical sunscreen provides water-resistant broad spectrum protection with transparent titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Enhanced with artemia salina, a plankton extract, this lightweight sunscreen increases skin defences and resistance to UV and heat stress. Colour-infused technology enhances natural skin tone and boosts daily radiance.
Environ Sunscreen SPF 25: This sunscreen minimizes short-term negative effects of UVA/UVB rays. Suitable for all skin types. Non-greasy formula – Paraben free.
Elta MD UV Sport SPF 50 (Face & Body): This sunscreen is great for swimmers, skiers, runners, golfers and other athletes – or for those who just love to be outdoors! UV Sport is water-resistant so it won’t rinse off in water or drip into your eyes and sting when you sweat. EltaMD sunscreens are formulated with transparent zinc oxide and are noncomedogenic, sensitivity-free, fragrance-free and paraben-free.
Alyria Age Renewal SPF 25: Age Renewal SPF 25 is formulated with Survixyl IS™ and PhytoCellTec™, a blend of peptides, including Matrixyl™ 3000 and retinol in a time release MicroDelivery™ system to help prevent the visible signs of aging, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and increase skin hydration. It also contains a SPF 25 to protect the harmful effects of the sun. Regular use will provide a younger-looking complexion.
Consonant The Perfect Sunscreen SPF 30 (Natural): The Perfect Sunscreen is unlike other 100% natural sunscreens as it is a smooth, non-greasy formula that leaves no white residue. It delivers optimal SPF 30 protection using uniquely micronized (non-nano particle) Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide minerals to block the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. The newly developed formula has light, hydrating benefits with aloe vera, grape seed and rice bran oil, and evens skin tone with a touch of natural mica tint. Like all Consonant Skincare products, this product is fragrance free.
TIP: if you are planning on taking photographs or “selfies”, you may want to avoid physical sunscreen containing Titanium Oxide or Zinc Oxide because your face may appear unnaturally white as the flash or light will reflect off your skin.