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Knowing the Different Types of Sunscreen and Choosing Wisely

Knowing the Different Types of Sunscreen and Choosing Wisely

Do you know there are two different types of sunscreen and that they both protect your skin differently?

We know by now the importance of sunscreen right? It protects our skin from harmful UV rays and is the cheapest, most effective tool on the skincare market to date. It's imperative we apply sunscreen every single day (rain or shine) and to reapply SPF every couple hours while in the active sun and every 40 minutes while swimming or heavily sweating to prevent premature aging, sun damage and skin cancer. But what type of sunscreen is best? Let's find out...

There are two main types of sunscreen, mineral sunscreen and chemical sunscreen. Both protect the skin against UV rays and help prevent sun damage yet both sunscreens work entirely differently to do so. 

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreen creates an invisible, physical block on the surface of the skin for harmful UV rays to bounce off of. Think of the way light reflects off the surface of a mirror. Mineral SPF creates a shield to protect the skin from the sun's rays and reflects both UVA and UVB damage. Because it is not absorbed into the layers of the skin, mineral SPF is acne safe and preferred for breakout prone skin. Mineral sunscreen starts working immediately and is also reef safe.

Mineral sunscreen REFLECTS the sun. 

*When deciphering the difference in UV rays, remember the A in UVA stands for aging. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and are responsible for 'aging' the skin. The B in UVB stands for burning. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and are responsible for causing sunburns. 

*Chemical-based sunscreen, especially those with a higher SPF rating, are less effective at blocking UVA (aging) light than mineral-based sunscreen.

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen sinks into your skin and absorbs UV rays like a sponge to convert UV radiation into heat which is then released by the skin. Chemical sunscreen takes 20-30 minutes to become active because it needs to be absorbed into the skin's layers before it can get to work at protecting the skin. Chemical SPF can also be absorbed by the bloodstream which is something to note if you are sensitive to ingredients that can be hormone disruptors. Chemical sunscreen ABSORBS the sun. 

Chemical sunscreens include one or more of the following ingredients: 

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Octocrylene
  • Avobenzone
  • Ooctisalate 
  • Homosalate
In Conclusion
Chemical sunscreens are ABSORBERS and mineral sunscreens are REFLECTORS.
I love this info graphic from Éminence Organic Skin Care that visibly shows the difference between both types of sunscreen. 
When it comes to choosing a sunscreen that will protect your skin, choose a mineral based, broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen with ingredients tailored to your specific skin type. Shop all mineral sunscreens here
If you don't know what type of moisturizer or sunscreen your skin needs and/or need help tailoring your skincare routine, schedule a consultation with one of our licensed estheticians. Consultations can be done in-person or virtually and are a great opportunity for us to look at your skin, go over what your current skincare routine looks like (if any) and recommend the best plan of action that aligns with your budget, time frame and skincare goals. Appointments can be scheduled here.  
Until next time, remember that SPF is you BFF and mineral SPF is your ride or die. 

xo Tiffanie


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