Physical vs Chemical Sunscreens

Summer is finally upon us, here’s to hanging out at the beach and relaxing in the sun. Most of us know that we have to apply a minimum of SPF 30 and should be reapplying every 2 hours, however did you know there are 2 types of sunscreens? Chemical and Physical. What is the difference? Which one is best for me? are commonly asked questions, so we have put together some information to help you decide which sunscreen is best suited to you!

The sun exposes you to two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB.

  • UVA penetrates deeply into the skin and can cause wrinkles and age spots.
  • UVB causes skin reddening and is the main cause of sunburn.

Both rays can cause skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen is an important part of your defense against these damaging rays.

Physical Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin. They are often referred to as physical blockers and sun protection is immediate from application. Some physical sunscreens can leave a white cast, so if possible try before you buy. Mineral sunscreen is great for sensitive skins and is also recommended for the first few days post any skin treatment as it won't cause skin irritation.

Aspect Gold Hydra Shield $85.10


Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens are the most common ones found on the market and contain organic compounds which create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin. They are often referred to as chemical or organic absorbers and must be applied at least 20 minutes prior to sun exposure for effective sun protection. Chemical sunscreens have more UVA protection than physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens are best suited to those that are more active e.g. swimming, running or physically working in the sun as its sweat-proof and waterproof.

Aspect Gold Envirostat $29.90


Our top tips:

  • Always check the expiration date as the ingredients can become inactive once its expired. If there is no expiry and you have had it for more than 2 years then its safe to say it's time for a new one! 
  • Always store in a cool place away from sunlight
  • Don’t forget to apply to your ears and lips
  • Reapply every 2 hours

If you need help choosing the best sunscreen for you, come in and see us for a chat and test out our amazing chemical and mineral based sunscreens.