The Sun-Savvy Guide to Choosing between Chemical and Mineral Sunscreen for Optimal Skin Protection

Let’s break down the 411 on sunscreens so you can make the right choice instead of just settling for inadequate protection or something that “smells like summer.”

There are two types of sunscreen ingredients: chemical and mineral (aka physical). Chemical sunscreens penetrate the top layers of the skin to absorb UV rays, while a mineral sunscreen forms a barrier on the skin’s surface that helps reflect. 

So what? Both are FDA approved to be effective and safe. Here are the pros and cons of Chemical vs. Mineral: 

Chemical Sunscreen:

  • Ingredients include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate
  • Broad Spectrum coverage (UVA/UVB rays)
  • Typically less thick and can be easier to rub into the skin and not leave a white film
  • Can be irritating to sensitive skin

Mineral Sunscreen: 

  • Ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
  • Broad Spectrum coverage (UVA/UVB rays)
  • Usually thicker and whiter
  • Can be less irritating to sensitive skin
  • Reef safe

What’s SPF got to do with it? 

All the Botox and Filler in the world won’t cover up sun-damaged skin. Sunscreen is the essential step in your skincare routine, but not just any SPF will do. The AAD recommends an SPF of 30 or higher to reduce your chance of skin cancer, sunburns, and sun damage. Just as you thought, the 10 SPF you’ve been using isn’t doing much; time to step it up.

Now you’re ready to conquer that sunscreen aisle with information to choose the right sunscreen to protect your beautiful skin! 

OH! Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours!