Physical vs Chemical Sunscreens: Which One Should You Use?

Physical vs Chemical Sunscreens Which One Should You Use - Featured

Sunscreens are broadly categorised into physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. While the term “chemical” often throws people off, the difference is really the method in which the ingredients protect the skin.

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Physical sunscreens (sometimes called mineral sunscreens) often contain ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which form a protective barrier to reflect ultraviolet rays. The downside is that sunscreen containing these ingredients often leave a white cast, making them unpleasant or difficult to apply.


Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are made with ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate, which absorb the sun’s rays. This forms a chemical reaction which generates a small amount of heat and while this is not harmful to skin, those with skin sensitivity might experience redness as a result.