Chemical Vs Physical Sunscreen – Which One Should You Use

Applying sunscreen is a must in the daily routine to avoid the abrasive effects of the sun on our skin. Prolonged exposure without protection causes premature aging of the skin characterized by wrinkles and fine lines, sun spots, and the appearance of moles that over time can transform into malignant lesions (melanomas).


Therefore, including face sunscreen means taking care of your skin and your health. We will help you to know the characteristics that differentiate them and how to know which one is indicated for your skin type and needs.

1. Differences between Physical and Chemical sunscreens 

Physical or mineral sunscreens protect the skin by forming a protective layer that reflects UVA/UVB rays, causing the rebound of solar radiation and preventing its penetration into the skin.

Physical sunscreen is:


Suitable for sensitive skin.

More moisturizing (they are usually made up of creamy and unctuous ingredients).

Difficult to absorb.

Insurance to apply to babies and pregnant women.

They contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (ingredients that give a white cast effect on the skin). They are ingredients that protect the skin by blocking, bouncing, and scattering UVA and UVB rays, preventing them from penetrating the dermis.

 Rhonda Allison Daytime Defense SPF 30 An ultra-refined, broad spectrum sunscreen that protects skin from environmental pollution and free radical damage.

IMAGE Skincare PREVENTION daily ultimate protection moisturizer SPF 50 Formulated with Digital Aging Defense, a form of dual protection against blue light and environmental skin stressors that cause dryness, discoloration and other signs of aging.

Skin Script Rx Sheer Protection SPF 30 - light cream, natural sunblock with zinc oxide that offers broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB exposure.


Chemical sunscreen have the property of absorbing UV rays while protecting the skin from solar aggressions.


Chemical sunscreen is:

Lighter and easier to apply.


Easier to absorb.

They contain substances that interact with the sun, such as salicylates, cinnamates, and 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), which block UVB rays, and substances such as Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and Homosalate, responsible for blocking UVA rays.

In short, physical or mineral sunscreens reflect while chemical ones absorb the sun's rays.

Face Reality Daily SPF 30  This sunscreen combines physical sun protectants (titanium dioxide) and chemical ingredients (avobenzone) to provide excellent sun protection in a moisturizing formula. Ideal for those with normal to dry skin.

2. What is your BEST OPTION?

Choosing which one suits you best will depend on your preferences and skin type. If you have dry skin, you need a sunscreen moisturizer, look for active ingredients such as vitamin E, Aloe Vera, and Centella Asiatica. Or if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, you need a soothing, breakout-free formula on your face.

Due to the mechanism of action of chemical sunscreen (absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat), they can cause irritation and allergies, including redness, rash, and burning. So, if you have sensitive skin, your best option is a physical protection filter, which will not generate any type of reaction on your skin.

But if you have oily skin and prefer to avoid a comedogenic product, chemical sunscreen is for you. They are usually more fluid and easier to apply than the physical ones, in addition, they will not leave your skin with a "white cast" effect and you will be able to make perfect and natural makeup for the day.


Now, how to differentiate them?

Since the information does not come on the label along with the name of the brand (physical or chemical sunscreen), you have to do a little research to make a decision.

It is often believed that an easy way to get an idea of what type of sunscreen is the texture. Chemical sunscreens usually come in spray or fluid presentation, with very liquid formulas, while physical sunscreens usually come in creams, with the white formulas that we have always known. BUT this is not always the rule. Both come in all kinds of presentations, textures, and formulas.

To tell them apart, the easiest way is to read the list of ingredients on the back of the product.

If you see the words “zinc” or “titanium”, it is a physical sunscreen.

If you see the words “salicylate”, “benzoate”, “hydroxybenzoyl” or “oxybenzone”, then it is a chemical. (Here the trick is to look for scientific and complex names).


Regardless of what type of sunscreen you prefer, remember that the most important thing is:

- Use it every day and reapply it every 2-3 hours.

- Choose a (SPF)  sun protection factor 30 - 50.

- It must indicate that it is a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect from UVA/UVB rays.


Face sunscreen -what better?


June 30, 2022