Sunscreens come in two forms — chemical, which are absorbed by your skin, and mineral (also known as physical), which sit on your skin’s surface. I used to be quite confused about the differences and for some reason did not think mineral sunscreens were much better, until I decided to dig into this topic a little bit deeper. Today’s post is about what you need to know about mineral sunscreens.
Mineral sunscreen is formulated with the minerals zinc oxide or titanium oxide (or both). They provide the UV protection setting on your skin and acting like microscopic mirrors, reflecting harmful rays. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by absorbing UV rays, converting them into heat, which is later released by the skin.
Why are mineral sunscreens a better option?
They do not get absorbed by the skin and are less likely to clog pores. That’s why experts recommend them for acne-prone and sensitive skin types. They are also better for children.
They protect against the full spectrum of UV rays.
They are immediately effective against sun’s rays. Most chemical sunscreens take about 20 to 30 minutes to become effective.
Chemicals in chemical sunscreens have been linked to hormonal issues. One more reason to choose physical sunscreen instead.
Mineral sunscreens can be applied on top of other products.
They are recognised as safe for the oceanic environment. Oxybenzone found in chemical sunscreens is believed to bleach and damage coral reefs.
Chemical sunscreens can cause allergic reaction and worsen conditions like melasma and rosacea, which is not the case with mineral sunscreen.
The cons of mineral/physical sunscreen.
Can be harder to apply over the skin.
Tend to leave a white film on the skin, but have improved a lot over the years.
Need to be applied more regularly than chemical sunscreen.
What sunscreen am I using this season?
Since I educated myself more on this topic, I decided to purchase mineral sunscreen for the whole family. Got two products from Clinique – Sun SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion For Body and Sun SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid For Face. Both products are actually not as hard to apply as I thought. They also wouldn’t leave a white film on skin until you go for a swim. I noticed that a delicate white film appears after my skin was in contact with water. What I love about them – they are fragrance-free and are effective at hydrating skin.
I also got also one product from Bioderma – Photoderm Mineral for children. However, I am using it only on my 6-years-old son, as I was also reading that it is not advised to apply sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old. Instead, they should stay away from sun exposure. The product, however, tends to leave white marks more than the Clinique ones.