Here comes the sun — and the most crucial time of year to protect yourself from it. Sunscreens, as most people know, are important for guarding against burns, skin cancer and premature aging.
PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
There are two types of sunscreen actives available: physical (often also referred to as “mineral”) and chemical. Physical sunscreens use UV filters that reflect, scatter and block the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens use active ingredients that absorb UV radiation, preventing them from penetrating the skin. Over time, some chemical filters slowly break down and release heat. While all physical UV filters block from both UVA and UVB rays, most chemical UV filters protect one or the other, not both. Some widely available sunscreens contain both physical and chemical ingredients to provide broad spectrum protection.
Pros of physical sunscreens:
• Offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays and is naturally broad spectrum
• Protects from the sun as soon as it’s applied, no wait needed
• Lasts longer when in direct UV light (but NOT when doing physical activities that cause the skin to get wet or sweat)
• Less likely to cause a stinging irritation on the skin, making it better for sensitive skin
• Better for those with heat-activated skin (like those with rosacea and redness) since it deflects the heat and energy given off by the sun away from the skin
• Less likely to be pore-clogging, making it ideal for blemish-prone skin types
• Longer shelf life
Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin. They are often referred to as physical blockers.
Pros of chemical sunscreens:
• Tends to be thinner and, therefore, spreads more easily on the skin, making it more wearable for daily use
• Less is needed to protect the skin because there is no risk of no spaces between the sunscreen molecules after application
• Formula is easier to add additional treatment ingredients, such as peptides and enzymes, which offer other skin benefits
Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds, such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone, which create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin. They are often referred to as chemical or organic absorbers.
It’s important to remember that sunscreen is an excellent addition to your everyday skincare ritual—even on overcast and cold days because the sun’s rays are still present. Don’t forget to apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially those often overlooked such as the back of the neck, ears, neck and décolleté, which are particularly susceptible to sun damage. Keeping track of your sun exposure, and reapplying sunscreen as often as needed depending on how long you are outdoors, is your first line of defense against UV radiation.
Additionally, simple lifestyle changes such as wearing a hat, opting enjoying the shade and wearing long sleeves also help your skin stay healthy
Need expert advice from our Licensed Aesthetician? Call us at 830-625-6258 to schedule your complimentary skin consultation today!