Physical VS Chemical Sunscreen: Which Option is Right for You?

Summer weather is upon us! If you haven’t already, you’ll want to invest in a quality sunscreen to get you through these sunny months ahead. But before you buy, do some research to understand which sun protection options are best for your unique needs. (Below, Mint & Needle has done your homework for you!)

What are Physical Sunscreens?

physical sunscreen

Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide). The formula sits on top of the skin to deflect damaging UVA and UVB rays. These sunscreens are also known as “mineral” or “natural” options. 

This type of sunscreen offers protection from the sun as soon as it is applied to the skin. It’s also less likely to clog pores. 

However, some brands of physical sunscreen may feel thick and heavy on the skin. They can also sweat or rub off more easily, which means regular reapplication is critical for continued protection. And while some physical brands are known to leave a pasty/white film on the skin, there are a number of sheer options available.

What are Chemical Sunscreens?

chemical sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen contains organic, carbon-based compounds that create a chemical reaction. They work by absorbing UV rays like a sponge, converting rays into heat, and then releasing the heat from your skin. 

This type of sunscreen tends to be a thinner formula, making it easier to spread on the skin. Due to this, it tends to be more water- and sweat-resistant, making it a favorable choice for those days when you’ll be physically active in the sun. However, chemical sunscreen needs time to absorb, so be sure to apply at least 15 to 30 minutes before exposing skin to sunlight.


Which Sunscreen is Right for You?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. For acne-prone skin, physical sunscreens are a good go-to, but be sure you’re using a lightweight, oil-free product. And while a common complaint with physical sunscreens used to be that “pasty” residue, they’ve come a long way, now offering sheer or tinted options. . 

Mint & Needle offers two physical sunscreen options for our sun-loving beauties. 

  • OIL-FREE UV DEFENSE SPF 45: A lightweight SPF 45, which contains an innovative blend of active anti-aging ingredients that protect skin from multiple extrinsic factors known to cause premature aging, including UVA, UVB, and Infrared Radiation. It also includes niacinamide, an antioxidant that helps with redness.
  • HYDRATING UV DEFENSE SPF 44 (TINTED): Designed to provide you the best chemical-free sun protection while also restoring a youthful appearance with the hydrating power of Hyaluronic Acid. With a sheer, universal tint, Hydrating UV Defense is a great option for even the most sensitive skin types of any complexion. This SPF includes anti-aging ingredients and is the safe and preferred option for post-procedural skin. 

No matter which you choose, keep an eye on the clock. Reapply every two hours or after swimming/sweating. Even those water resistant options won’t last all day. And remember: even though we love to talk about sunscreen in the summer months, healthy skin comes from year-round UV protection.