Sunscreen is an essential part of any good quality skincare routine. When shopping for skincare its important to note the similarities and differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens. Both chemical and mineral sunscreen offer UVA/UVB protection but in different ways.  

Sunscreen should be applied daily and consistently even in winter months and especially when in direct sunlight. Sun damage is unfavorable as it can lead to skin cancers, redness, and changes in skin elasticity and appearance. Let’s take a look at the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens.   

Chemical Sunscreens 

Chemical sunscreens get their name by utilizing specific chemicals to absorb light and stop UV rays from damaging skin.  

Chemical sunscreens often contain ingredients like avobenzone, octisalate, oxybenzone, and octinoxate to combat the suns UVB rays. These chemicals soak up the suns rays before damaging your skin cells. Chemical sunscreens are often easier to blend into skin and require more application during the day than a mineral based one.  

Mineral Sunscreens  

Mineral sunscreens protect your skin by creating a barrier that deflects UV rays and prevents the radiation from coming into contact with your skin. Mineral sunscreens are often zinc oxide or titanium dioxide based. Often times mineral sunscreens are tinted in an effort to mask the “white cast” associated with zinc oxide on different skin tones.  

Mineral sunscreens are commonly referred to as physical sunscreens because they physically deflect the light off your skin.   

Daily Sunscreen Use  

Daily sunscreen use is vital to a successful skincare regiment. Each morning, whether its chemical or mineral sunscreen, it is important to apply it. Using a generous amount, applying sunscreen to your face and neck can aid in avoiding skin cancers, hyperpigmentation, and even wrinkles. Reapplication throughout the day is also necessary.  

The barrier sunscreen gives our skin can protect us from daily exposure to UVA/UVB radiation. Sunscreen options are abundant in the beauty marketplace and its important to note the difference between what is accessible. Sunscreen is imperative part of your skincare routine. If you have questions about sunscreen, your Skintap board certified dermatologist can also answer or refer you to which one best suits your individual needs.