The Difference in Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens
Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens
Maybe you've heard of the term 'Mineral Sunscreen' or 'Physical Sunscreen' Basically, they are sunscreens which work like a shield by reflecting and scattering UV rays to prevent them from penetrating or damaging the skin.
The term 'chemical-free sunscreens' is commonly used to describe 'physical' or 'mineral' sunscreens, those that use the minerals zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as their only active ingredients. Conversely 'chemical sunscreens' use only non-mineral, or chemical, active ingredients such as oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, and octisalate.
How does zinc oxide work as a sunscreen?
Zinc oxide is a powdered mineral that sits on top of the skin, scattering, reflecting, and absorbing UVA & UVB rays.
Zinc oxide is one of only 17 active ingredients currently approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens. Upon application, zinc oxide particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, the stratum corneum, where they scatter, absorb, and reflect ultraviolet radiation, protecting your living skin below. Zinc oxide is unique among sunscreen ingredients in that it is truly a broad-spectrum blocker, protecting from UVA, UVB, and even UVC. Titanium dioxide is another mineral active ingredient you may see in other brands' sunscreens. While it protects from UVB rays very well it does not protect from UVA as well as zinc oxide does.