Types of sunscreen

sunscreen by Awaken Aesthetics in Hammonton, NJ

The main difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens can be found in their ingredient lists.

Chemical sunscreen

  • A chemical sunscreen is one whose active ingredients are non-natural, chemical compounds.
  • Some examples are Oxybenzone and Avobenzone.
  • The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are effective because they absorb the sun’s UV rays. Then, through a chemical reaction, the sunscreen dissipates the UV rays. This means that your skin is protected because the UV rays never actually hit your body.

However, before these chemicals can offer any UV protection, your skin has to absorb them. This can cause irritation and discomfort, especially for individuals with sensitive skin or children.

Mineral sunscreen

  • A mineral sunscreen is a sunscreen that uses minerals as its active ingredients. The minerals most often used are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both of these ingredients occur naturally, although they can also be created synthetically.
  • Mineral sunscreens are sometimes called physical sunscreens because they provide a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s rays. You can picture these minerals as millions of tiny mirrors resting on the surface of your skin, bouncing away harmful UV rays. Because of this physical factor, these sunscreens tend to be heavier and thicker and harder to rub in on the skin.

Broad-spectrum sunscreen helps to block both UVB rays that are traditionally the cause of skin cancer, as well as UVA rays that cause early aging. 


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