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The difference between Physical and Chemical sunscreens ...and why you absolutely need to use one!

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Spring time is approaching in such a beautiful way this year. Here on the east coast there has been a lot of rain as of lately. There is a saying, April showers bring May flowers and I for one am ready for all of the flowers and some fun in the sun. We are currently still combating the pandemic so outdoor, Social Distancing safe fun is the most we can really enjoy and participate in.

In an effort to cut to the chase, I’m going to address the myth and let you know that we do need a sun protectant and let you know how to identify which of the two types would be best for you based on your individual skin’s skin concerns and needs. A Sunscreen is a chemical topical cream (most common form of it made available) that is used as a sun protectant. A sunblock is a physical cream (also most common form made available). The difference between the physical and chemical sun protectants are the active ingredients that make up the product.

In order for the sun protectant to be a physical one it must contain mineral ingredients. Examples are Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide. They work by sitting on top of the skin and “blocking out” damaging UV sun rays, and other harsh environmental irritants. They also protect against UVA and UVB rays. They will go right to work as soon as they’re used on the skin and are generally referred to as Natural Sunblocks and/or Mineral Sunblocks. Physical Sunblocks are best suited for Sensitive Skin, Normal Skin, and Dry Skin types. These types of sunblocks are often heavier in consistency and can be more comfortable for these skin types. That doesn’t mean other skin types can’t or shouldn’t use a physical sunblock, it just means ideally the makeup of the product could be irritating to someone who may have an acneic or oily skin type.

Chemical Sunscreens have different active ingredients than their Physical opposites. You can tell a Chemical Sunscreen by its use of oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, or octinoxate just to name a few. The difference with Chemical, it is meant to be absorbed into the skin and then absorbs the UV rays for it to be released from the body. Chemical Sunscreens offer more protection than the Physical options but the downside is the ingredients can often be irritating to those who have a more sensitive or reactive skin type. Chemical Sunscreens are generally ideal for more a more oily and/or acneic skin type. Both Chemical and Physical sun protectants can be used for each skin type. It is a matter of what is ideal based on your skins needs and specific concerns at the time. Below is a list of some great Physical and Chemical Sun Protecting products that you can check out and research on your own. Whichever you choose I hope you do choose something. Using a SPF is better than not using one at all. Physical Sunblock: Supergoop Mattescreen SPF 40: La Roche-Posay Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50: Chemical Sunscreens:

MaryKay TimeWise Age Minimize 3D Day Cream SPF 30 La Roche-Posay Melt-In Sunscreen SPF 60: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40:

As always, I wish you health, wealth, and safety during these interesting and trying times. I also hope this helps you narrow down your beauty arsenal selection and sets you up for selection success 😎.

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