We all know that wearing sunscreen every day is an important part of healthy skin care, but how do you choose the right one? With so many products available, it can be confusing to figure out which type of sunscreen will protect you best. There are actually two types of sunscreens - physical and chemical sunscreens - and they work differently.
This article explains the differences between physical and chemical sunscreens and how they work, and what their pros and con, how. So if you're wondering which kind of sunscreen you should use, this article is for you!
Here are some critical differences between mineral and chemical formulas:
The benefits of mineral sunscreen
Physical sunscreen, also called mineral sunscreen, sits on top of the skin. Most mineral sunscreens leave a white or tinted residue on the skin. Still, newer formulas like Pure Mineral Sun cream have been made ultra-sheer to help prevent a chalky effect. To identify this type of sunscreen, look for the words "mineral" or "physical," as well as active ingredients like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.
- It helps protect against UVA and UVB rays.
- Protects as soon as it's applied – there's no need to wait before exposing skin to daylight.
- It is generally comfortable, less irritating, and a better fit for sensitive skin.
The benefits of chemical sunscreen
Chemical sunscreens use ingredients that absorb into the skin and transform UV rays into heat. This type of sunscreen tends to be popular because it feels light and looks unnoticeable.
- It helps protect against UVA and UVB rays
- Needs time to absorb – 15 to 30 minutes – before exposing skin to daylight
- It is generally comfortable for most skin types and conditions
- It tends to be more water- and sweat-resistant
Are Mineral Sunscreens Safe For Children And Babies?
It's best to avoid using any sunscreen on babies younger than six months. If you're planning an outdoor outing with a baby, you can take other protective measures. Experts often recommend mineral sunscreens for older babies and children because they're less likely to irritate sensitive skin than chemical sunscreens.
What Is The Best Sunscreen?
Ultimately, the best sunscreen is one that you'll use often and as recommended. Whether you choose a mineral or chemical sunscreen, keep the following guidelines in mind when purchasing and applying it:
- Broad-spectrum: Choose a sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum." It keeps out both types of rays – UVB (associated with sunburn) and UVA (associated with premature aging).
- SPF: Look for a sunscreen that offers at least SPF 30, which stands for "sun protection factor." When used correctly, this strength protects against 97 percent of UVB rays.
- Amount: Most people use half or less of the amount of sunscreen they need to cover exposed skin fully. An adult generally needs to use enough to fill a shot glass.
- Reapply: Sunscreen is considered ineffective after two hours of wear or if it's worn off earlier by swimming, sweating, or rubbing – even if it's water-resistant. Be sure to reapply as directed by the sunscreen label.
What Else Can I Do To Protect Myself And My Family From The Sun?
Sunscreen is essential for outdoor activities, but you can also take other steps to safeguard your skin, such as:
- Stay in the shade whenever possible.
- Avoid going out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when sunlight is strongest.
- Wear full-coverage clothing with built-in sun protection.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.