Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen: All that you Need to Know

Sunscreens are an integral part of skincare routine; may it be summer or winter. Isn’t it? If you are dicy about this fact, my earnest request would be to relook into your skincare game and definitely incorporate sunscreen into it right-away! Now why do I say so? Why is sunscreen so important? The answer is quite simple! Sunscreens are formulated such that they block the harmful UV rays of sun from affecting our skin and thus protecting the skin from sun damage. It is in true sense a preventive health care habit which should be maintained all thought the year. It also helps maintain an even skin tone and prevents premature ageing of the skin. Thus, may you be an oily skin type or a normal skin type or even a sensitive skin type, it is utterly necessary to choose the right formulation of sunscreen for yourself and use that generously.

Now the market being flooded with sunscreens, often we, the consumers hear two terms “physical sunscreen” and “chemical sunscreen”. What are these two categories? How are they different? Which one is better over the other? These are the things which I am going to enlighten you today on. 

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreen: 

Chemical sunscreens are those which gets absorbed into the skin, thereafter absorbs the harmful rays of the sun, converts those into heat and releases it. Oxybenzone is one of the active ingredients in chemical sunscreen. 

On the other hand, physical sunscreens are those which forms a layer on the skin, sits on top and reflects sun’s rays directly. Zinc oxide is generally the main ingredient in physical sunscreen. 

Now let’s dig in a little more and find out bigger details about each of it:

Scientifically it is a proven data that there are pros and cons of both these two grades of sunscreen. It is just that we have to figure out which becomes out bff and use that consistently.

Pros and Cons of a Chemical Sunscreen:

  • Gets absorbed into skin quickly
  • Has a wide variants available in market which is matte, doesn’t leave a white cast and isn’t even greasy or heavy on skin,
  • This variant also has water resistant formulations and hence is effective for people who sweat a lot.
  • Need to give it a standing time (around 30 min) before sun exposure so as to work effectively
  • Can sometimes be ittitating on skin and hence be a concern for sensitive skin type

Pros and Cons of Physical Sunscreen:

  • Less irritating on skin
  • Good fit for sensitive skin
  • Need not give it a sitting time (i.e. need not be applied 30 min prior to sun exposure) to work effectively
  • Generally more moisturizing and hence can feel heavy on skin,
  • Normally, difficult to blend and leaves a white cast. But then now there are various brands which offer physical sunscreen which have a less white cast and gives a smooth finish.

Final Verdict: which one is best for you?

Physical sunscreen is recommended over chemical ones if you have sensitive skin or your skin is prone to break outs. On the other hand, physical sunscreens might be a little tough with its blend ability. Thus, there is no straight forward answer to which is the best one, both are equally, scientifically good. Only thing is that you have to try out and figure out which suits the best and stick to its regular application!

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