Save Yourself the Sunburn: Chemical vs Physical Sunscreen & Sunscreen Tips

What makes our skin age?

The sun is responsible for about 90% of skin aging and those who use sunscreen daily can minimize this damage by about 24%. However, not all sunscreens are created equal. Read on to learn the differences between chemical vs physical sunscreens, which you should choose for your skincare needs, and our tips for sun protection.

Physical vs Chemical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreens protect the skin by providing a physical barrier that scatters or blocks UV rays. Formulas usually contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, the minerals that provide the reflective barrier.

Physical sunscreens are typically thicker in texture and some formulas may leave a whitish cast on the skin. Some sunscreen formulas include a tint to blend in to your skin seamlessly and even give your skin a natural, sun-kissed glow.

Chemical sunscreens use carbon-based compounds like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate to absorb UV rays and disperse them as heat. These sunscreens are far more common, but the active ingredients are more likely to cause irritation in people with sensitive skin. The chemical ingredients in chemical sunscreen may not react well with everyone’s skin so reading the ingredients is crucial.

Pros and Cons of Chemical Sunscreens

Since they are more common, most people are already familiar with chemical sunscreens. They are thinner in texture and easy to apply. Plus, many formulas are water and sweat-resistant. However, chemical sunscreens can clog pores, must be reapplied as the protection is used up, and must be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure. Additionally, the active ingredients in chemical sunscreen can irritate sensitive skin, particularly at higher SPFs meaning you may have to sacrifice a high SPF to prevent a skin reaction.

Pros and Cons of Physical Sunscreens

Physical sunblock, on the other hand, is much gentler than most chemical sunscreens. It is less likely to irritate sensitive skin and can even be used on babies and pregnant women. It also doesn’t clog pores, which is great news for those with acne. Plus, the ingredients are gentle enough to use each day without damaging your skin and many formulas even offer nourishing benefits for your skin.

As a physical barrier, it offers protection as soon as it is applied so there is no need to apply in advance. The protection doesn’t get “used up” or wear off as easily as chemical sunscreens so it doesn’t need to be reapplied as frequently. However, physical sunscreen can sweat or rub off so users must be aware of this and reapply as required.

Applying Physical Sunscreen

If you’re used to chemical sunscreens, physical sunscreens will feel a bit different. First, choose a transparent formula or a color that fits with your skin tone for an even complexion (bonus: it can cover blemishes too!).

To ensure full coverage, physical sunscreens must be applied generously. It can feel a little heavy on your skin at first but don’t overdo rubbing it to work it in. This can rub the product off and leave your skin vulnerable to the sun.

For the best protection, it is recommended to use sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30 and be sure to reapply as needed.

Sun Protection for the Win

Tired of breakouts and skin irritations after using chemical sunscreens? Why not try one of our specially formulated broad-spectrum physical sunscreens that effectively protect your skin from the sun without irritating it and causing other problems.

We’ve all been warned about the effects of the sun and re-applying sunblock throughout the day, but it’s easy to forget when you’re having fun in the sun. Once you get a sunburn, it can be painful and ruin your vacation. We’ve included a few tips that will help your sunburn, and several tips so this won’t happen again (hopefully!)

Sunscreen Tips for Perfectly Protected Skin

  • First and foremost, get out of the sun at the first sign of redness or burning! If you do burn, pure Aloe Vera gel can be helpful because it helps vent some of the retained heat and also lessens thermal injury.
  • Take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications because it can reduce some of the chemical injury that occurs due to inflammation, and make sure you drink a lot of water.
  • A classic error in sunscreen application is not using enough- to be truly protected we need to use a lot of sunscreen – about 2-4 ounces to cover your face and body.
  • Reapply every 3-4 hours and immediately after heavy perspiration or swimming.
  • There are no questions that sunscreen is certainly the number one defense when it comes to bare skin exposed to UVA and UVB rays. However, just because you are in the sun doesn’t mean your skin has to be.  Make sure you wear an adequate clothing cover-up.
  • Try to find thicker, denser material that covers larger areas of the body. UV rays can penetrate clothing, so make sure you pick smart apparel.
  • Sunglasses are recommended because they can protect your eyes from the suns rays. Look for sunglasses that are labeled as having some sort of “UV Protection.”
  •  Sunscreen should be applied 365 days a year. The key is finding a sunscreen you love, so that you will continue to reapply it throughout the day. Sunscreen is meant for any time you are in the sun, not just in the warmer months.

Now are you looking to take action and follow our tips right away? Try our line of physical sunscreens right from the derm himself for the ultimate protection:

  • Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40: An illuminating, color-correcting and skin-blending tinted moisturizer that provides a flawless complexion while defending skin against harmful free radicals and UVA/UVB rays with broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection.
  • Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50: An all-physical sunscreen that helps prevent damage from UVA and UVB rays and aging photo-damage while reducing the appearance of dark spots, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles.
  • All-Physical Microfine Body Spray SPF 30: Achieve a sheer, matte finish that protects your skin from the harsh sun with this sunscreen spray for body. Made with aloe, green tea, and licorice extract, this body sunscreen protects your skin and soothes your skin.

Shop the Dr. Dennis Gross line of bestselling skincare today!

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