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Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen: The ultimate guide to sun protection

sunscreen application

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen: The ultimate guide to sun protection

Summer is just around the corner! The sun is shining and you feel like going out, right? But, wait a  second. We have a little reminder for you; sun protection is a must-have in  your daily routine, regardless of location or time of the year.  

Today we’re going to talk about two types of protection that exist on the market, Chemical protection and Mineral protection. Are you up for learning more about both? 

What is chemical sun protection?  

Chemical sunscreens are synthetic products with components that absorb UV rays before they can penetrate the skin. They usually contain ingredients such as  avobenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, and oxybenzone.  

This last chemical, according to the FDA, can remain in the blood for at least three  weeks and could be linked to hormonal and reproductive issues.  

Benefits of chemical sun protection

Invisible once applied

This is a great aesthetic advantage of chemical sunscreens. Usually, these types of products give a uniform appearance, as they are easily absorbed and will not leave a white trace on your skin or stain your clothes.

Easy Application

Its formula is not as dense as mineral protectors. This more liquid and lighter texture will allow you to spread the cream on your body quickly and with little effort.

Resistance

Chemical creams tend to be more resistant to sweat and water, so they will last longer if you go to the beach, the pool, or practice high-intensity sports.

As you can see, these types of sunscreens do their job. They are light and easy to spread, but you  should also be aware of the following: 

  • Since they have to be absorbed by the skin, they take an average of 20  minutes to begin to be effective.  
  • They are not easily degradable. Experts from the University of Central Florida  highlight the impact that the chemicals used in chemical sunscreens have on the environment. In particular,  countries such as Hawaii have banned their use because of the harmful effects  on coral reefs. 
  • Special caution should be taken when using them on sensitive skin. There is an  increased likelihood of reaction, and some ingredients may aggravate  conditions such as rosacea

What is mineral sunscreen?  

Mineral sunscreen is a chemical-free alternative that uses mineral ingredients such as  titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. 

These components make the formula thicker. This can lead to clogged pores in oily  skin, so it is essential to remove the product thoroughly at night. This will prevent  problems, such as seborrhoea, from appearing in the long term. 

Another fact to have in mind is that this type of product can lose effectiveness as the  hours go by. For this reason, it is highly recommended to reapply them frequently to  ensure good protection. 

Benefits of mineral sun protection  

Complete protection  

Mineral sunscreen protects against both UVB & UVA rays. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength with higher energy levels  which are the main cause of skin burns, blistering and linked to causing some skin cancers. UVA rays, which are longer wavelength and lower energy levels penetrate into the deepest layers and promote premature aging. 

In addition, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, regular use of  sunscreen reduces the chances of skin cancer and absorption of both UVA |& UVB rays.

Recommendation for sensitive skin  

Its chemical-free formula remains on the skin without being absorbed. This reduces  the chances of causing irritation on delicate skin or skin conditions such as rosaceapsoriasis or eczema

Immediate Effect  

These creams create a barrier that deflects the sun’s rays and begins to protect you  immediately after application, without the need to wait for your skin to absorb them. 

Reduced environmental impact  

As they contain biodegradable elements, there is no evidence that these products  cause damage to the marine ecosystem. By using them, you contribute to preventing negative effects on coral reefs. 

In any case, remember that wearing any type of sunscreen, mineral or chemical is better than wearing none at all. However if you are looking for immediate protection and also avoid absorption of harsh chemicals that may adversely affect your skin in the future, we recommend sticking to mineral (non-chemical) sunscreens. 

The sun’s rays are always there, even if we don’t see them. Protect yourself daily  and your skin will thank you in the future. 

References:

Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use. (2019). Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Ana Zangroniz. Sunscreen and Coral Reefs. (2020). University of Florida. 

Skin cancer. (2021). American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD). 

Matta, M. K., PhD. (2020). Effect of Sunscreen Application on Plasma

Concentration of Sunscreen Active Ingredients: A Randomized Clinical. Jama Network. 

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