Sun Protection Revealed: Physical and Chemical Sunscreen

Urban Body Blog, Skin Care, Staff Picks, urban body laser

If you’ve ever perused the sunscreen aisle in the drug store, then you understand just how confusing it can be. With row upon row of countless brands, the options seem endless: waterproof, water-resistant, sweat-proof, sport, mist, lotion, face, and body are just some of the variations you have to navigate. Then you have to decide which SPF level, which can go from 4 all the way up to 90. Who knew trying to protect your skin could be so daunting?

chemical vs physical sunscreen

The truth is there are really only two types of sun protection that you need to know about: physical and chemical.

Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreen protects your skin from the sun by deflecting or blocking the sun’s rays. It uses non-toxic, mineral-based ingredients like titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral) and zinc to block the sun’s entire spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. Once applied, it sits on top of the skin and works to reflect the sun immediately upon application. Though you may think sunscreen should be white, in reality the pure forms are not. Physical sunscreens like the ones we carry can be mixed into a moisturizer or in mineral products like Colorescience and are completely unnoticeable.

physical vs chemical sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens are typically what you’ll see at the drug store and are made up of more than 12 different chemicals, many of which have not been FDA approved. These are then absorbed into the skin and can interfere with the normal function of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid. Dr. Oz published this article explaining the dangers of chemical sunscreens and how they are linked to abnormal development in fetuses and growing children, as well as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.

While chemical-laden sunscreens require you to slap on layer upon layer, clogging your pores and eventually causing breakouts, physical versions are so pure that a little goes a long way. A small dab is plenty to guard from the sun’s rays without congesting your skin, allowing you to reap the benefits of a clear, smooth, and protected appearance.

Given the negative effects and dangers to your health, it’s clear why we prefer physical sunscreen. Our favourite products include the Osmosis Shade and anything from the Colorescience Sunforgettables. Not only do we carry these at Urban Body Laser and our online store, we also wear them every day (yes, even when it’s raining!).

physical and chemical sunscreen

Designed for daily use, the Osmosis Shade is so pure that you only need a pea size or less for your entire face. If it feels “cakey” and has a thick white appearance then you know you’ve used too much. This high-performance, luxurious sunscreen/moisturizer is ideal for all skin types and can be applied in the morning before your make-up.

Other must-haves are the Sunforgettable products from Colorescience. These act to both protect your skin from UVA/UVB rays as well as a make-up line. We love the Retractable Brush Mineral Powders that are available in a variety of shades to best match your skin tone. You can also choose from a Lip Shine, Primer, and Setting Mist all made with SPF 30 or higher.

physical and chemical sunscreens

Sun protection isn’t just something to concern yourself with during Spring and Summer; it should become a part of your daily skin regime 365 days a year. To find the right products for you, contact our medical estheticians for more information.

physical and chemical sunscreen physical and chemical sunscreen