Did you know that sunscreens can either be ‘Chemical’ or ‘Physical’ ?


The ingredients used in sun screens can distinguish them from being chemical or physical sun screens. It’s important to understand that sunscreens can  offer protection from UVA  (responsible for aging the skin) & UVB  (responsible for burning the skin) rays, but some more than others. However most drug store sunscreen, especially in Australia, offer broad spectrum protection. Essentially this means that the sun screen will protect you from both UVA & UVB rays. Broad spectrum is not always available, so it is important to know what kind of protection you’re going to receive: either UVA or UVB.

Physical Sunscreen

  • Function: physically forms a layer on top of your skin, that deflects the sun’s rays.
  • Wait Time: Once a physical sunscreen is applied your ready to go!
  • Common Physical Sunscreen Ingredients:
  1. Titanium Dioxide: Protects against UVB
  2. Zinc Oxide: Broad Spectrum Protection

Chemical Sunscreen

  • Function: Forms a layer on your skin, where sun rays will be absorbed.
  • Wait Time: Chemical sunscreens need  20 minutes  before being exposed to the sun
  • Common Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients: 
  1. Avobenzone: Protects against UVA rays 
  2. Homosalate: Protects against UVB
  3. Octinoxate: Protects against UVB
  4. Octisalate: Protects against UVB
  5. Octocrylene Protects against UVB (some UVA)
  6. Oxybenzone: Protects against UVB (some UVA)
  7. Helioplex: Broad Spectrum Protection (this is a special sun screen ingredient created by Nutrogena. It its a mixture of both UVA + UVB ingredients.)

This was only a small summary about physical & chemical sunscreens, but if you require more information SmartSkinCare and Skinacea addresses each ingredient simply!


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