Physical Vs. Chemical Sunblock – Which One Should You Use

While the sun is a joy for many people throughout the summer months, it can cause significant damage to unprotected skin. We have known for some time that sunblock can protect your skin against UV rays, but statistics show that one in three people will still get sunburnt.

This can happen because people use the wrong kind of sunblock. Most people know of topical products applied to the skin, but few know that they come in physical and chemical versions. While looking similar, there are some notable differences between the two. In this blog, you will learn more about both types to get the appropriate protection.

Understanding Physical Sunblock

Physical (or “mineral”) sunblock is a product that creates a protective physical barrier. This barrier will shield your skin, reflecting the UV rays away by using broad-spectrum protection. They can help protect against UVB rays that cause most sunburn symptoms and UVA that trigger premature skin aging.

Most of the time, physical sunscreen is made from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which form a type of “film” over the skin. The formula works right as you apply it, sitting on the top of your skin and becoming more or less a “second layer.” As the product does not penetrate the skin, it is often the better option for those with sensitive skin or for children.

The sunblock must be applied every two to four hours, depending on whether or not you have contact with water. As these types of sunblock leave a chalky white cast on the skin, they can also look unappealing on dark tones. However, tinted formulas can prevent the white film from becoming noticeable, so choosing the right sunblock could make a great difference.

How Are Chemical Sunscreens Different?

Unlike physical sunblock that sits on the skin, the chemical formula will seep through the top layers.

Chemical sunblock has a more complex formula, including ingredients like avobenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. These chemicals will absorb the UV rays, converting them into heat and releasing them back through your skin. This can cause irritation in individuals who just had a facial treatment. Excessive heat is caused due to the chemical reaction on the skin, increasing the risk of hyperpigmentation (discoloration and dark spots) as well as irritation. 

Which One Offers Better Protection?

Both types of sunblock can be very effective at offering your skin the protection that it needs. That said, while chemical sunblocks can often last longer in some environments, physical ones are gentler. Since they do not contain as many harsh chemicals, they can be used by individuals with sensitive or acne-prone skin, reducing the risks of a reaction.

One great advantage is that, unlike chemical formulas that take time to absorb, physical sunblock has an immediate effect. This makes it a better choice when you’re out in the sun and need to reapply it. Since the physical sunblock features fewer chemicals, it is also less harmful to the environment, allowing you to reduce your carbon footprint.

Choose the Right Sunblock for You!

Sunblock can effectively keep the sun rays from damaging your skin, blocking the harmful compounds from disrupting your skin barrier. The most important thing is to choose a block that fits your lifestyle and needs so that you can get the ultimate protection. Schedule an appointment at Artistry Skin & Laser and get your best protection!

To learn more about the efficiency of both sunblock types and find the best option for your needs, please contact Artistry Skin & Laser at 720-593-1816. We can offer you the necessary advice to make the right choice. As an alternative, please use the online contact form to set up an appointment, and we will get in touch with you shortly. 

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