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The Difference Between Chemical and Physical Sunscreen

The Difference Between Chemical and Physical Sunscreen

Want to be sun-kissed this spring? First, for your own health and beauty, it's best to know the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens.

Stunned by the array of sunscreens on the drugstore shelf? It’s important to know the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens so that shopper’s confusion disappears, leaving you confident as to what’s best for you. Trust us to fill you in on the right info as to which is better for your skin!

Spring arrives in March, the sun is out, our skin is hungry for solar-derived vitamin D — because of this, SPF is a must. Yet what kind of sunscreen is the best? Allow us to help guide you on the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens. SPOILER ALERT: physical wins every time in our book!

Physical sunscreen needs to be in your handbag, so that you can fish it out anytime you wish!


What is a physical sunscreen?

Two kinds of sunscreens exist in the world today: physical (or mineral) and chemical. PROs would vow before a jury that physical sunscreens are better for your precious skin, safer, and more of a protective guard against high-energy visible light (or blue light) which electronic devices emit. This is because physical sunscreens are packed with zinc oxide: a micro-fine mineral that broad-spectrum protects you from the danger of both UVB and UVA rays.


How does sun damage the skin?

Ninety percent of skin aging is explained by lifelong sun damage, our PROs assert. Getting into specifics, UVA rays erode the skin’s fibroblast cells, halting them from producing elastin and collagen, as well as body fluid hydration. The sun’s rays also damage melanocyte cells, which causes them to overproduce skin pigment. In laywoman’s terms, this means dehydration, wrinkles, poorer texture, sunspots and uneven skin tone. Yikes!

Why choose physical over chemical?

Zinc oxide physically blocks the sun’s rays from penetrating the skin by sitting on top of it. Your face and overall skin need physical sunscreen because the skin is sensitive to natural light. Physical sunscreens are more photostable, which means they retain their integrity despite being exposed to light. Plus, they’re reef-safe! Chemical formulas, in turn, can cause irritation and skin congestion, which is bad news you shouldn’t stand.


Can you reverse skin damage?

Taking care to apply SPF daily from now on is our PROs’ best advice on this matter. This way, you block further damage while allowing your body to repair deeper skin cell layers. The SPR helps against other skin ailments, as well! If you’re a rosacea sufferer, for example, dabbing on some sunscreen allows your body to work on healing itself rather than absorbing continual trauma from the sun.

Do physical sunscreens have a chalky effect on the skin?

This was certainly the case back in the day, but science has vastly improved the skin-saving product. Today, minerals are micronized so fine, physical sunscreens no longer deposit a chalky-white residue on the skin. Even on brown or black skin tones, no white or ashy cast is visible on the skin when used. What a scientific miracle.


It’s wonderful to know the difference between chemical or physical sunscreens. Just a minute or two of dabbing it on, can have you looking fresh and young for years. This marvel of science can be applied to the skin even when you’re on the go!

Our health and beauty PROs can enhance your skin’s beauty via massaging, makeup applications, facials and body wraps. Download the MOBILESTYLES App today to treat yourself to a deluxe beauty appointment!


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