We spoke to Emma Hobson, the Education Manager at respected skincare brand Dermalogica, to find out what the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen is, and which one is actually better for your skin and sun protection.
What is chemical sunscreen?
“Chemical sunscreens typically absorb UV rays and include ingredients such as avobenzone, oxybenzone and homosalate, among others,” says Emma.
What is physical sunscreen?
“Physical - or mineral - sunscreens include the physical compounds zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These physical sunscreens sit on the skin and scatter or reflect UV rays.”
What are the main differences between the two?
“Chemical sunscreens were developed to provide versatility in formulations, allowing for invisible coverage with a light texture,” says Emma. “Physical sunscreens are preferred by those with skin sensitivity, especially if you suffer from Rosacea or Eczema. The negative of physical sunscreens is that some sunscreens using physical agents can sit on the skins surface and feel a little ‘heavy’.”
Which is better?
“There are lots of options for sunscreens, and most formulations will use a combination of physical and chemical sunscreens. One option isn’t better than the other, as they both do their job well, it’s mostly down to personal preference as to which you prefer to use.”
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Want some advice on applying sunscreen? Watch the video below.