Are They Created Equally?


Simply put, no. There are two types of sunscreen: physical and chemical. Both are effective when applied correctly and are safe to use.

Let’s breakdown the differences.

Physical sunscreen contains active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which works by layering on top of the skin. It’s known as a blocker since it deflects and scatters the sun’s damaging rays away from the skin.

Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, gets absorbed into the skin and contains active ingredients, such as avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone. These ingredients create a chemical reaction that coverts rays into heat and then releases the heat from the body.

Is one better than the other?

If you ask skin-care experts which one they prefer, most will reply that they are happy as long as their clients are consistently (as in on a daily basis) using either with a SPF of at least 30. So, which one should you invest in? This depends on your specific skin type and situation. Physical sunscreen tends to be less irritating, so ideal for those with sensitive skin, however, can also feel heavy since it is very moisturizing (think: slight white-cast on the skin). Chemical sunscreen is generally preferred for outdoor activities such as swimming since it doesn’t rub off; however, due to its compound makeup, can trigger pigment (make brown sports darker or inflame rosacea) and is therefor considered more irritant than its sister product. Since we all react differently to skincare products, it’s best to experiment with both to see which type works best for your skin and lifestyle.

Next time you are slathering on the good stuff, flip the bottle and check for these ingredients to find out which one you are using – titanium dioxide, zinc oxide OR avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone.

Unsure of where to start with sun care?

Our doctors are happy to speak with you regarding which type of sunscreen best fits your needs. We carry award winning sun care products by Skinceuticals.

Want to know another cosmeceutical secret? Sunscreen is proven to be four times more effective when layered on top of an antioxidant serum. We offer the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic serum which contains powerful antioxidants found in the cell walls of plants, complemented by vitamins C and E. These last two steps in a skincare regiment are arguably the most important.

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