The Difference Between a Physical & Chemical Sun Screen and Which One Is Better?

by Lisa DMello on February 28, 2023

When it comes to protecting our skin from the sun's harmful UV rays, sunscreen is a crucial tool in our arsenal. However, not all sunscreens are created equal. In fact, there are two distinct types of sunscreens: physical and chemical. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two types of sunscreens and how they work.

Physical Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens are also known as mineral sunscreens because they contain minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These minerals work by creating a physical barrier on the surface of the skin that reflects and scatters UV rays. Physical sunscreens are typically opaque and leave a white cast on the skin.

One of the main benefits of physical sunscreens is that they provide broad-spectrum protection, meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. They are also gentle on the skin and less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions, making them a great option for those with sensitive skin.

However, physical sunscreens can be less cosmetically elegant than chemical sunscreens, as they can feel heavy on the skin and leave a white cast. They may also rub off more easily, requiring more frequent reapplication.

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat, which is then released from the skin. Chemical sunscreens typically contain a combination of ingredients such as avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone.

One of the benefits of chemical sunscreens is that they are often more lightweight and cosmetically elegant than physical sunscreens, with a thinner texture that blends easily into the skin. This is specifically beneficial when it comes to Indian weather or hotter climates. This makes them a popular choice for daily use and for wearing under makeup.

However, some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to the chemicals in these sunscreens. 

Which Sunscreen is Best?

Ultimately, the best sunscreen for you will depend on your skin type, personal preferences, and how you plan to use it. If you have sensitive skin, a physical sunscreen may be a better choice for you but may leave a white cast and make you feel hot and greasy. If you are looking for a sunscreen that is easy to apply and blends seamlessly into the skin, a chemical sunscreen may be a better option.

Regardless of which sunscreen you choose, it is important to apply it liberally and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Sunscreen is a crucial tool in protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays, and choosing the right one for your needs can make all the difference.

Our Daily Moisture Sun Protection Lotion with SPF 25 is a chemical SPF that is lightweight and blends right into your skin with soothing and natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Ashwagandha, Almond oil and Lodhra.