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SPF is your BFF

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Both chemical sunscreens and physical block sunscreens are good options for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun, but they work in different ways.

1. Chemical Sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation and converting it into heat, which is then released from the skin. These sunscreens contain organic compounds such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, or octinoxate, which create a chemical reaction when exposed to UV rays. Chemical sunscreens are typically lightweight and easier to apply evenly on the skin. They offer the following benefits:

  • Broad-spectrum protection: Chemical sunscreens can protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which are responsible for skin aging, sunburns, and increased risk of skin cancer.

  • Higher SPF options: Chemical sunscreens often come in a wide range of SPF (sun protection factor) options, providing more flexibility to choose a higher level of protection.

  • Transparency: Chemical sunscreens tend to be transparent and don't leave a visible residue on the skin. No white pasty look. (This makes them often the more comfortable option for melanin rich skin!)

2. Physical Block Sunscreens: Physical block sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, work by reflecting and scattering UV radiation away from the skin. They contain active mineral ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Physical sunscreens offer the following benefits:

  • Broad-spectrum protection: Similar to chemical sunscreens, physical sunscreens provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

  • Immediate effectiveness: Physical sunscreens start working as soon as they are applied to the skin. There's no need to wait for them to be absorbed before sun exposure.

  • Gentle on sensitive skin: Physical sunscreens are generally well-tolerated by individuals with sensitive or reactive skin because they are less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions.

  • Longer shelf life: Mineral sunscreens tend to have a longer shelf life compared to chemical sunscreens, as the mineral ingredients are more stable.

It's worth noting that both types of sunscreens have their pros and cons. Chemical sunscreens may contain ingredients that some individuals prefer to avoid due to potential concerns or sensitivities. Physical sunscreens, while effective, can sometimes feel heavy, or leave a visible white cast on the skin, especially with higher SPF formulations. Ultimately, the choice between chemical and physical sunscreens depends on personal preference, skin type, and specific needs. It's important to prioritize consistent sunscreen use and select a product that suits your skin and lifestyle. The best sunscreen for you is the one you'll USE EVERY DAY!

SPF really is your BFF.


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