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What's The Difference Between Physical And Chemical Sunscreen?

What's The Difference Between Physical And Chemical Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is bae, yeah. But how do you choose one in this world of overwhelming choices? And then there are some of us who swear that sunscreen is their skin's enemy. And then when you finally decide to take the plunge you hear words like physical or chemical sunscreen and you're stumped again. Don't worry we got you. I'm going to give you a quick and easy breakdown on the two broad types of sunscreen available in the market i.e physical and chemical sunscreen. If you're wondering what's the difference between these two, keep reading!


Physical Sunscreen


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Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and the way they work is by sitting on top of your skin creating a 'physical layer' that deflects UV rays. They are like reflectors, they reflect the harmful sun rays away. 


Since the physical sunscreens 'sit' on top of your skin, they don't cause any irritation. But they're usually known to be thick and greasy. With a little bit of effort, you can find a good physical sunscreen too, check with your dermatologist!


The physical sunscreen has a longer shelf life and is less likely to be pore clogging making them ideal for sensitive skin types. However, some of them tend to leave a white cast on the skin making them unusable for people with darker skin. 


Chemical Sunscreen


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Chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that get absorbed into your skin and absorb the sun rays and change them into infrared rays and release heat. They are known to have ingredients like octocrylene, avobenzone and octinoxate. 


Since chemical sunscreens work by getting absorbed into your skin they are notorious for causing skin irritation and breakouts. They are also more easily available in the market. The consistency of chemical sunscreens is thinner and more user-friendly. Since they don't form a layer on your skin and get absorbed easily, you can pick one in a variety of finishes that you can also wear easily under makeup too. 


So what's the final verdict? 


With sunscreen it's always tricky, it definitely needs trial and error to find the right one. Some people don't respond well to chemical sunscreen so they have no choice but to opt for a physical sunscreen. We suggest you buy smaller tubes and take them for a test run before committing to a full sized product. 


Meanwhile, here are some sunscreen's that are perfect for sensitive skin and oily skin


Images: Shutterstock

Published on Jul 14, 2018
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