Mineral vs. chemical sunscreen — what’s the difference?
The best SPF is one you’ll wear every day — it’s the most important part of your skin care routine, and it’ll have the greatest impact on your complexion in the long run. But when it comes to choosing a daily sunscreen, you have options!
In today’s episode of Complexion Class, Skin Pharm Dallas provider and nurse practitioner Hannah Vance breaks down the two categories all sunscreens fall into — mineral (physical) and chemical — so you have all the information you need when it’s time to restock.
Watch the full episode here or read on for the recap!
First things first — how can you differentiate a mineral sunscreen from a chemical one?
Not every sunscreen will be clearly labeled as “mineral” or “chemical,” but you can peek at the ingredient list to find out which category it falls under. If you recognize the ingredients, such as zinc and titanium, it’s a mineral sunscreen. If you see ingredients you’re less familiar with, such as octinoxate, it’s a chemical sunscreen.
Got it. So, what’s the actual difference between the two?
Both mineral and chemical sunscreens effectively protect your skin. The difference is in how they protect your skin!
Mineral sunscreen (also called physical sunscreen) acts as a physical barrier between the sun and your skin. It reflects UV rays away from the skin’s surface to prevent burns and sun damage. You can find tinted and non-tinted options, but we’re partial to our 100% Mineral Tinted SPF. It’s smooth, hydrating and layers nicely under makeup — but offers enough coverage to wear on its own, too!
The name “chemical” may sound a little intense, but there’s nothing scary about chemical sunscreen! Instead of reflecting light away from the skin, chemical sunscreen works by converting that light to heat through a chemical reaction. This isn’t toxic or harmful to your body — it’s just a different way to create a protective barrier for your skin. Sheer Defense SPF is our go-to chemical sunscreen. Lightweight, lightly tinted and moisturizing, it’ll leave your skin primed, prepped and protected all day.