It goes without saying that protection from the sun's rays is essential, especially in summer. That's why it's important to have a thorough understanding of the sunscreens available and their differences, because our skin is at stake.
What is physical sun protection?
Do you know the difference between physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen? Physical sunscreen, also known as a mineral filter, is a sunscreen that forms a physical barrier reflecting UV rays away from the skin. Dermatologists recommend them especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin. The main representatives of this category are mineral active ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Unlike chemical filters, these mineral active ingredients remain on the surface and do not penetrate the skin, thus avoiding any kind of irritation or pore clogging.
In addition, zinc oxide is so soothing that it is the main ingredient in baby creams. These are also the only two filters that can be part of an organic cosmetic, making them an ideal option for those looking for environmentally-friendly products.
What is a chemical sunscreen?
On the other hand, chemical sunscreens use active ingredients to absorb the sun's rays, convert them into heat and release that heat through the skin. They're just as effective, but the way they block UV rays is different from that of physical sunscreens.
These synthetic filters are often lighter and more transparent, making them popular for their tactile feel. However, some people criticize these sunscreens for irritating sensitive skin or promoting acne.
Physical and chemical differences
Now that you know what physical and chemical sunscreens are, it's important to know the differences between these two types of products:
Physical products sit on the skin and block surface rays thanks to ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while chemical products absorb rays like a sponge thanks to non-theoretical ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate or octinoxate.
Physical filters also have their drawbacks. They can be stickier and discolor the skin more, which can affect cosmetic comfort.
In any case, from the age of three, a combined use of both types of sunscreen is recommended for optimum protection.