Which sunscreens are better, chemical or physical ones?

This is a recurring question from many members of our community, and one we can answer without hesitation: whenever possible, choose a physical sunscreen.

Let us explain the differences between physical and chemical sunscreens.

Chemical sunscreens are made of molecules such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Avobenzone, Homosalate, among others, which are absorbed by your skin, convert UV rays into heat and release them from your body.

They are the most widely used sunscreens in the market – in fact it is very likely that the sunscreen you currently use is a chemical one. 

These sunscreens have come into question in recent years given how they bleach fragile coral ecosystems around the world – in fact, over 40,000 tons of chemical sunscreen are thought to wash into our oceans every year. Places such as Hawaii have already banned the use of Chemical Sunscreens in their territory, ushering a new era of reef-safe alternatives. 

Another shortfall of chemical options is how long they take to start working; they only begin protecting your skin 20-30 minutes after being applied (By the time you realize this you might already be sunburnt)

Furthermore, skins with certain conditions such as acne, rosacea or eczema might be too sensitive for these chemical alternatives.

On the positive side, these tend to be lighter, so they usually blend in better and layer well with other skincare products.

Physical sunscreens are mineral based, using Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide to create a natural shield against UV rays, sitting on top of your skin, without being absorbed into your bloodstream.

These sunscreens are usually reef-safe, and have become a widely used alternative at popular seaside destinations in their efforts to protect coral reef ecosystems.

Another advantage of this alternative is that they start providing protection right away, so you can apply and go without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays.

Because Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide don’t get absorbed by your skin, they are the preferred choice for people with sensitive skin or other conditions such as acne, rosacea or eczema.

Most physical sunscreens are thicker than their chemical counterparts; however, there are dermatological lines offering sheer physical alternatives that blend in well.

The winner? Physical Sunscreens.

In this short clip extracted from one of his popular PURA Skin Chats, Dr. Lodha settles the debate between using Chemical vs. Physical sunscreens and invites you to make a better choice for your health and for the environment.

Before we forget - make sure you use sunscreens that are enhanced with antioxidants such as Vitamins C, E and A, Resveratrol, Green Tea Polyphenols and Niacinamide, which supply a second line of protection when the natural antioxidant defenses of your skin weakens.

You can find a great selection of high quality clinical-grade Physical Sunscreens SPF 50+ by visiting https://puraskinlab.com/category/sunscreens/. Our sunscreens provide a high broad-spectrum UVA/UVB physical shield and are enhanced with advanced antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients for additional protection. Choose the one that fits you unique skin needs:

- Antioxidant Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ (Sheer and Tinted):

Pure physical stabilized broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 50+ protection plus potent antioxidant agents in a light, transparent finish formula that is gentle on all skin types, including sensitive skin. Works well for Acne-prone skin and Hyperpigmentation. Tinted version provides a healthy touch of color for all skin tones.

- Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 (Sheer and Tinted):

Mineral-based stable broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with the moisturizing power of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help brighten and even skin tone in a lightweight formula. Works well for all skin types. Recommended for patients with Dry skin or Rosacea. Tinted version provides a healthy touch of color for all skin tones.

- Antioxidant Essential Mineral Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50+:

A great option to complement your routine whenever you need sunscreen on-the-go. Brush powder applicator delivers a gentle broad-spectrum UVA/UVB 30 formula with antioxidant protection and oil control, in a light-translucent matte color that blends in sheer with most skin tones.

You can also take our PURA Skin Diagnostic to create a full personalized skincare routine to complement your sunscreen – to get your results just complete a 3-minute quiz about your skin, lifestyle, and the environment around you: https://puraskinlab.com/quizdiagnostic/ 

At PURA we believe in using only the highest quality ingredients, with higher concentrations of the active molecules that actually make a difference on your skin. Our formulas are backed by thousands of peer reviewed clinical studies and medical journal publications.

For questions email us at info@puraskinlab.com

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