mineral vs chemical sunscreen

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen

Spending a day in the sun sounds amazing; however, too much sunshine may cause serious issues for your skin. You may experience blisters, burns, peeling, and even develop cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., with almost 20% of Americans passing away because of melanoma every day. 

The top cause of melanoma is the natural and artificial exposure to UV – ultraviolet – light. UV rays are produced by the sun and tanning beds. 

There's good news, though. You can reduce the negative effects of sun exposure by using sunscreen. Using sunscreen regularly will help reduce the likelihood of melanoma for adults of all ages. 

While sunscreen is something you need to help protect your skin, not all sunscreens are created equal

There are two main options to choose from for sunscreen – mineral, and chemical. Learn more about these and which one is right for you here. 

Read more: Best Skincare Routine for Oily Skin

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen is a formula that utilizes chemical filters to protect your skin from the damaging UV rays produced by the sun. While several chemicals provide sun protection, the most common chemical SPF ingredients used for U.S. products include:

  • Octisalate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Avobenzone

These ingredients absorb UV radiation before it makes it to your skin. When talking about them, most people refer to chemical sunscreens, and it's estimated that over 96% of sunscreens available for purchase in the U.S. use SPF ingredients rather than mineral ones

If you plan to use chemical sunscreens, find one with broad-spectrum protection and water resistance. 

Benefits of Choosing Chemical Sunscreens 

Most chemical sunscreens absorb quickly and are invisible when they dry, which makes them a smart option for anyone searching for a sunscreen they can wear every day. 

These are lightweight and have a non-chalky finish, making them an appealing option for those with light and dark sunscreens. 

Potential Drawbacks of Chemical Sunscreens 

Using chemical sunscreen may cause skin reactions in some users. They can cause allergic reactions and worsen cases of rosacea and melasma. 

Melasma is a condition that causes brown patches to appear on the neck, forearms, and face, while rosacea causes small pimples and red patches to appear on the forehead, nose, and cheeks. 

Are you ready to get the best possible skincare products for the health and well-being of your skin? If so, we have you covered and will even help you build a custom skincare routine

Read More: DIY Exfoliating Masks and Scrubs

Mineral Sunscreen

While chemical sunscreens use chemicals to help filter away the UV rays from the sun, mineral sunscreen provides a physical block for UV radiation thanks to ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Because of this, many people call mineral sunscreen sunblock or physical sunscreen. While it is just as effective as chemical sunscreen, mineral SPF products only make up about 3.4% of the U.S. sunscreen market. 

Benefits of Choosing Mineral Sunscreens 

Even though chemical sunscreens are easier to find and provide several benefits, they aren't right for everyone. Some chemical sunscreens can irritate some users, especially if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin. On the other hand, mineral sunscreen is gentler, making it the perfect option for anyone with problem skin. It's also the way that most baby-safe sunscreens are made. 

It's also believed that the active ingredients in mineral sunscreen are more eco-friendly than chemical products. This is especially true for the aquatic ecosystems you will likely wear the sunscreen in. 

Mineral sunscreens provide immediate protection, unlike chemical sunscreens that take 20 to 30 minutes to absorb into your skin. You don't have to wait. You can also apply mineral sunscreen over makeup and other skincare products. 

Potential Drawbacks of Mineral Sunscreens 

Mineral sunscreen is thick. It also sits on top of your skin. Because of this, it can cause breakouts in those who have acne-prone skin. Combination or acne-prone skin may benefit from using chemical and mineral ingredients. If you choose this route, try to find combination sunscreen products that include anti-acne additives such as niacinamide

It's also more difficult to apply mineral sunscreens, and they may leave a white film on your skin. This is caused by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These must also be applied more often than the more popular chemical sunscreens. 

While this is true, most mineral sunscreens had come far from when they were first introduced. Because of this, you can find options that won't create a white film on your face. Sometimes it's a case of trial and error to find one that you like and that works for you. 

Safety Considerations for Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreen 

The FDA regulates sunscreen products in the U.S. To date, the FDA has not labeled either product unsafe. However, there are some proposed regulatory requirements that all sunscreens sold in the U.S. must meet. 

Additional safety information on the 12 active ingredients included in chemical products is part of this. 

Some organizations and groups warn against the use of chemical sunscreens. For example, the Environmental Working Group states you should avoid any sunscreen that uses oxybenzone since it can impact your hormones and cause allergic skin reactions. 

Also, chemical sunscreen may negatively affect aquatic ecosystems, including coral reefs.

Choosing Between Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreen 

If you are trying to choose between mineral and chemical sunscreen, there's no question that mineral-based products are the healthier option. You can look at mineral sunscreens as the equivalent of a home-cooked meal, while chemical sunscreens are what you would pick up at a fast-food restaurant. While they fill you up, the home-cooked meal is just better overall. The same applies to mineral sunscreens. 

While mineral sunscreens will take longer to apply and must be reapplied more often, they are considered the safer option for long-term use. 

While this is true, using some sunscreen is better than none. If you don't have mineral sunscreen, wearing chemical sunscreen is better than nothing to protect your skin. 

Are you ready to take your skincare routine to a new level? If so, check out our story to learn more. Read more: Soak Up the Sun, Not the Damage

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