by Samantha Pozza, NP
Everyone KNOWS they need to apply sunscreen to keep their skin safe from UV harm, but do you know that the type of product used can make a massive difference in your overall skin’s health? Read on for a crash-course on all things SPF.
What’s the difference between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreen?
What’s better for your FACE?
It’s imperative to know that all sunscreens are NOT created equal.
There are two main types:  MINERAL and CHEMICAL—both work very differently.
Mineral sunscreen also known as Physical Sunscreen contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are small particles that sit on the surface of the skin and PHYSICALLY protect UV rays from penetrating the skin.
Chemical sunscreens on the other hand, will allow UV light into the skin. Light is absorbed into the skin, and the chemicals in the sunscreen (ingredients usually include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate) create a chemical reaction causing the UV light to be converted to heat, and then heat dissipates from the skin.
Cons of Chemical Sunscreen: Chemical sunscreens can cause skin reactions in certain people, especially those with more sensitive skin, inflammatory and allergy prone skin, acne prone, and can worsen rosacea and melasma.  Melasma is a condition which causes hyperpigmentation/brown spots to the face that can be very difficult to treat because it’s typically caused by hormones, genetics, medications, etc. The heat dissipation of chemical sunscreens can exacerbate melasma.
Pros of Mineral Sunscreen: Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are actually the only sunscreen ingredients generally recognized as safe and effective by the FDA.
Therefore, when you are using sunscreen every day, MINERAL SUNSCREEN is much safer for people who are concerned about long-term exposure to chemical ingredients, or who have sensitive, reactive skin. And unlike chemical sunscreens which can take about 20-30 minutes to absorb into the skin, mineral sunscreens offer IMMEDIATE protection with no waiting needed.
Bottom Line: MINERAL sunscreen Is Best, but whether it’s chemical or mineral—Something Is Better Than Nothing!
In our practice, the clear favorite Mineral Sunscreens are SkinBetter’s Smarttone SPF 75, their tinted compact mineral SPF, and SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense SPF. (All available through our online store.)

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