Not All Sunscreen is the Same

First and foremost, everyone should be wearing sunscreen everyday! Whether you are watching the day go by on the beach or simply walking across the parking lot to your car, the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun are upon you. Skin cancer and skin damage are the result of a culmination of sun exposure. One of the simplest routines you can get yourself into involves protecting your skin against the elements. Now, so many of our daily moisturizers, foundations, powders, and lipsticks contain an SPF of at least 15. Even men’s products are evolving to contain some level of sun protection. There is no excuse!

As with a lot of things in our “too many choices” society, it is wise to educate yourself on the best options for sun protection. Is it better to go mineral based or chemical based when choosing a sunscreen?  On a side note, while “chemical based sunscreen” is a label widely used in the industry, it should be noted that all matter is made of chemicals and this classification doesn’t allude to the idea that chemicals are necessarily bad. What is the difference between the two types? What are the pros and cons?

Mineral-Based Sun Protection (What it is, Pros, and Cons)

Mineral based sun protection products have the active ingredient of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or sometimes both).  Mineral sunscreens shield and repel the harmful UV rays of the sun from the skin. Because they create a barrier verses being absorbed into the skin (unless in nanoparticle form), this is a great option for people with sensitive skin.

Pros of Mineral-Based Sun Protection (often referred to as physical sunscreen)

  • Protects again UVA and UVB rays
  • Offers immediate protection once it is applied
  • Last longer on skin (unless doing physical activities where you sweat a lot)
  • Better for sensitive or acne prone skin
  • Doesn’t cause free radicals

Cons of Mineral-Based Sun Protection

  • Typically rubs or rinses off easier; more frequent applications are usually needed when engaging in physical activities where sweat and or water is involved
  • Until recently, most mineral based sunscreens left behind a white cast on the skin, making it visible on medium to darker colored skin
  • Titanium dioxide doesn’t protect against the full spectrum of UVA rays
  • Thicker and might be harder to apply to larger areas of the body
  • Oftentimes, more expensive

Chemical-Based Sun Protection (What it is, Pros, and Cons)

Chemical-based sun protection products contain carbon-based compounds like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octylcrylene, hemosalate, heliplex, 4-MBC, Mexoryl SX and XL, Tinosorb S and M, Uvinul T150, Uvinual A plus, and avobenzone. This type of sun protection works by absorbing the UV rays and converting them into heat, which is then released from the skin.

Pros of Chemical-Based Sun Protection (often referred to as organic sunscreen)

  • Less is needed in order to provide adequate sun protection
  • Oftentimes more cost effective option
  • Typically thinner than mineral sunscreen, so it goes on easier
  • Often filters more UVA and UVB rays, but this is dependent on the specific sunscreen
  • Colorless

Cons of Chemical-Based Sun Protection

  • Must wait 20 minutes after applying to the skin for it to be fully effective
  • Some chemicals can generate free radicals
  • Several UV filters have not been approved by the FDA in the United States
  • Can irritate skin and eyes
  • Can cause and increase the appearance of brown spots

As the ozone layer is becoming thinner, skin cancer is becoming more prevalent, and the quest for the fountain of youth is becoming more incessant, sunscreen and sun protection products are also evolving. There is an abundance of information and scientific documentation pleading the case for both types of sunscreen. What is most important, right now, is that you are using some sort of protection. Parker Dentistry Facial Rejuvenation and Wellness carries a great line of mineral based products and anti-aging solutions. Next week, we will share with you some of the wonderful options available for your skin that you can pick up at your next visit.

Example of a Sun Protection Regiment: As a surfer and unintentional sun worshipper, it is vital that I am protected at all times! On a daily basis, I use the MDSolar Sciences 30 SPF tinted mineral-based sunscreen on my face, neck, chest, and hands. This doubles as my foundation and creates an even and flawless look, as well. When I am surfing or in the ocean, I use a combination of mineral and chemical-based sunscreens. Typically on the bigger areas of my body (back, arms, and legs) I use SunBum 70SPF. I use the MD Solar Sciences SPF 30 on my face, neck, and chest and  SunBum SPF 50 zinc oxide on my lips and nose for added protection. I always have a Colorscience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen brush in my purse and car for when I am on the go and need a quick sunscreen and makeup refresh.

What’s your daily sun protection routine? 


Thanks for sharing a smile with us this week! 

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