Sunscreen: The Different Types

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Skin’s biggest enemy? The sun. With the summer months approaching us in The Woodlands, TX it is important to understand a little bit more about skin care protection from the sun. And although the truth is that you should be wearing SPF all year long, summertime means more fun in the “direct” sun, and that translates into really taking your protection seriously. Let’s break down the different types of sunscreen.

Physical (also known as Mineral) Sunscreen VS. Chemical Sunscreen

Physical/Mineral SPF

Physical sunscreens work very well because they tend to sit on top of the skin and scatter UV rays away from the skin. They are actively “blocking” the rays out. These sunscreens typically have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which are natural minerals and is why sometimes these are referred to as mineral sunscreens. Physical sunscreens are considered broad spectrum and offer protection as soon as they are applied, there’s no wait time necessary. They typically last longer on the skin if you’re not sweating or getting wet. These are better for sensitive skin so they’re especially great for kids, and people with skin conditions like rosacea, and lastly less likely to clog pores which makes them a great option for acne-prone skin. The downside of mineral sunscreens is that they give off a white cast, so they might not be the best to wear under makeup. If you are doing activities where you are sweating or getting wet, you need to reapply much more frequently.

Chemical SPF

Chemical sunscreens work by converting UV rays into heat and then releasing that heat away from the skin. This process prevents those UV rays from being absorbed by the skin and causing damage. This type of sunscreen is thinner and spreads more easily, which makes it a much better option for daily use, even under makeup. It’s great for water-based activities if you wait 10 minutes to allow the sunscreen to create the protective film. Since chemical sunscreen is more sheer, it’s important to reapply as suggested. It can be irritating to sensitive skin because of the chemical reaction needed in order to provide broad spectrum protection. You cannot wear chemical SPF’s in places where coral reef is preserved because some of the chemicals found in these sunscreens have been widely thought to damage the natural wildlife. It’s also more likely to clog pores which is something to consider for daily use if you are suffering from constant breakouts.

Bottom line: Both physical and chemical sunscreens do a fantastic job at protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, but which one is better for you? The simple answer is, the one that feels the most comfortable on your skin for daily use. We have a variety in the office and would be more than happy to help you find the one that works best for your skin AND your lifestyle. At Gordon Plastic Surgery in The Woodlands, TX we carry top of the line sunscreen protection by ZO Skincare and Skinceuticals. Call our office today to learn more about these products and to find the right protection for you.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.