Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreens

chemical vs mineral sunscreenSunscreen is the most important step that many people miss in their daily skincare routines. Sunscreen protects us from UVA rays (aging rays), UVB rays (burning rays) and most importantly, skin cancer. There are two common types of sunscreens….mineral and chemical sunscreens.

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens are typically made of either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of both. Mineral sunscreen literally sits on top of your skin and blocks UV rays.

Zinc oxide is really great for sensitive skin and blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide is great for individuals with sensitive skin because it is a natural antiseptic. Zinc oxide is commonly used to treat diaper rash, chapped skin, and minor burns. Titanium dioxide will protect your skin from UVB rays but not UVA rays like zinc oxide does.

Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only two FDA-approved ingredients found in sunscreen that are 100% safe for not only you, but for the environment. These two sunscreen ingredients start working as soon as they are applied but do wipe off easily.  It’s still important to always look at the instructions to see the recommended wait time to expect before your sunscreen starts working.

Mineral sunscreen reflects the sunlight off our skin. If you are going to have pictures taken, you may experience some flashback. Flashback means that the lights from the flash will reflect off of the zinc oxide. Purchasing a mineral sunscreen that is tinted can prevent this from happening and it will also help avoid the “white cast” after application.

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens contain a few key ingredients…oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two ingredients can be bad for the environment and human safety. Some additional cons that come from chemically formulated sunscreens are that they can be more irritating and tend to have more of a chemical smell.

Unlike mineral sunscreens, chemical sunscreens do not leave a “white cast” behind. Since chemical sunscreens do not reflect light, the UV rays are actually being absorbed and release heat from the skin instead.

We always recommend looking for a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide because it is a physical blocker that protects you from both aging and burning rays. Aging rays can cause premature wrinkles and dark spots.

All of the medical grade sunscreens we carry at both Utah Facial Plastics offices contain zinc oxide. We offer a wide variety of options from EltaMD, SkinCeuticals and SkinMedica. Call us at (801) 776-2220 or visit us at one of locations in either Layton ro Draper, Utah.

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