Mineral Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen: Which is Better?
Michigan is experiencing one of the hottest summers on record! And, by now, we all know how important sunscreen is to preventing skin cancer and keeping skin youthful and wrinkle-free. But with such a wide variety of sunscreen options available to consumers, it’s hard to know which one to choose. There are sunscreen lotion, sprays, and creams – as well as so many different brands – and varying degrees of SPF (Sun Protection Factor).
In this article the skin care experts at AMAE Med Spa in the Troy, MI area have put together what you need to know to understand the different types of sunscreens and how to choose the best options for your skin!
Types of Sunscreens
Sunscreens work by combining both organic and inorganic ingredients and chemicals to block UV rays from damaging the skin. The SPF – which stands for Sun Protection Factor – is a measurement of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin. (Learn More About SPF HERE).
There are also two main types of sunblock available: physical (mineral) sunscreen and chemical sunscreen. Since the two types of sunblock are made with different ingredients, it is important to understand the way they are made and how it impacts your skin type.
Chemical sunscreens work by transforming the sun’s UV rays into heat and dispersing it across the skin. Mineral sunscreens, also called physical sunscreens, sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, quite literally physically block the sun’s UV rays from penetrating and damaging the skin.
The Problem with Chemical Sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens typically only protect against either UVA or UVB rays, not both. Through use of organic active ingredients, chemical sunscreens can create a chemical reaction that helps to protect against sun damage. According to the American Academy of Dermatology avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and octinoxate are all examples of chemical sunscreens.
These three different types of chemical sunscreens can be damaging. Here’s why:
- Avobenzone is problematic in sunscreen due to its quick degradation in sunlight. When Avobenzone breaks down, free radicals are released into the body which may put users at risk of premature aging and even illnesses such as cancer.
- Octisalate is an ingredient that causes issues when paired with other substances such as avobenzone, and can lead to toxicity concerns.
- Octinoxate can adversely affect both hormones and the nervous system, if used in high doses.
- Oxybenzone can cause a variety of side effects such as eye irritation, and issues with product of testosterone and estrogen for men and women.
Chemical sunscreen can also be problematic because of timing factors. To work properly, chemical sunscreen should be applied at least twenty minutes prior to sun exposure. And when chemical sunscreens are worn in direct sunlight, it is used up more quickly and requires frequent reapplication. Chemical sunscreens also contain chemical ingredients that can irritate the skin.
Since chemical sunscreens convert UV rays into heat, an increased risk of redness is also present. This is especially true for those with skin that may already be sensitive or those who have existing skin conditions such as rosacea or those with acne prone skin.
Why Mineral (Physical) Sunscreens Are Better
Most physical sunscreens contain either Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide, or in some cases a combination of the two. These ingredients are the only FDA approved UV filters – which means they block-out the harmful UV rays from ever reaching the skin. They are also the least likely to irritate skin and a great choice for those with sensitive skin who are seeking a hypoallergenic option.
Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral and is found in many everyday products. In its purest form, it is a fine powder with a white pigment. When used in sunscreens, it helps to absorb UV rays and creates a physical barrier to prevent skin damage.
Zinc oxide is also an excellent ingredient for sunscreens as it is useful in protecting against both UVA and UVB sun rays. Zinc oxide does not break down under sunlight – and is also water resistant so holds up to sweat.
Mineral sunscreens are most beneficial because they:
- Are less likely to clog pores
- Are less irritating to skin
- Do not cause hormone problems or serious illness
- Can be applied immediately before sun exposure
- Provide an actual physical barrier to UV rays
- Do not break down in sunlight
- Are water-resistant
- Last longer than chemical sunscreens
Best Brands of Mineral Sunscreen | Troy, MI
While both physical and chemical sunscreens are useful for blocking UV rays, it is important to recognize that chemical sunscreens come with a variety of concerning side effects and skin concerns. However, sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide allow for protection against the sun, while being less likely to cause problems for the skin.
Your skin health is so important, to your appearance and your well-being. So, it is essential to choose a mineral sunscreen whenever possible!
Our skin experts at AMAE Med Spa in the Troy, MI offer multiple brands of premium mineral sunscreen products to provide protection from both UVA and UVB sun rays, while keeping skin from damaging chemicals. We are one of the only Med Spas in the Troy, MI area to carry EltaMD, Alastin and ZO Skin Health sunscreens.
Contact us today for help selecting from EltaMD, Alastin and ZO Skin Health products to protect and nourish your skin. Our experts at AMAE Med Spa can help you understand the products that will work best for you!
Buy Mineral Sunscreen, Troy, MI Area: 248.335.7200