The Difference Between Physical and Chemical Sunscreens
There is a lot of talk out there about sunscreens and the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens. While we all know how important it is to wear SPF daily, we don’t all know which type is the best personal option. The first step is to understand the basic difference between them. Chemical sunscreens basically work as a sponge absorbing UV rays, whereas physical sunscreens work like a shield reflecting dangerous UV rays. They both encompass different UV filters as well. In the physical type, the active ingredients that protect your skin are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. When we look at chemical types the list is much more daunting. It’s possible you will find: Octylcrylene, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Helioplex, 4-MBC, Mexoryl SX and XL, Tinosorb S and M, Uvinul T 150 and Uvinul A Plus.
Many of you reading this are already thinking chemical=bad. Are you right to think this? Absolutely. While titanium dioxide can be problematic for a very small group of people, zinc oxide is generally safe. It can be used on delicate skin and is a main ingredient in diaper rash creams. Chemical filters can be much more problematic and irritating for your skin. While others may react instantly, some may develop an allergy over time. Chemical filters can also generate free radicals which can cause skin damage, irritation, and premature aging. Fortunately, physical sunscreens can avoid this.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Want to add additional antioxidants to your skin? Check out our Powerful Antioxidant Serum.
One of the main complaints of sunscreen is the white, pasty look it leaves on your skin and while we all understand the importance of SPF some of us just aren’t ready to accept pasty white skin into our lives. Fortunately, Dermaworks has considered all of the information above when designing Nature’s Veil, our specially formulated physical serum that offers SPF 30, and antioxidants. This broad spectrum physical SPF serum contains micronized titanium and zinc oxides, excluding all chemicals, fragrance, and parabens. (Click here to learn more about parabens.) This fabulous serum is tinted to avoid any pasty look and is fortified with vitamin C, E, and Ferulic acid. This must have product is available for purchase in store.
Still not sure what sunscreen is best for you? Book your consultation with our physician to discuss this topic further.