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What Does Sunscreen Mean?
July 18, 2014


Do you know the difference between the different types of sunscreen available? As skin care experts, we wanted to explain the difference between physical and chemical sunscreens.

When it comes to sunscreens, UV filters are the substances in your sunscreen that provide protection for your skin. For physical sunscreens, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are two types of UV Filters. Zinc Oxide is a soft white mineral used for its astringent, healing, and soothing absorbent properties, while Titanium Dioxide is an inorganic oxide occurring in nature. A micronized version of both forms a mineral sunscreen.

Amongst the different types of UV filters classified as chemical sunscreens are Octylcrylene, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone Homosalate, 4-MBC, Mexoryl SX and XL, Tinosorb S and M, Uvinul T 150, and Uvinul A Plus.

In terms of how they work, physical sunscreens protect your skin from the sun by blocking the UV rays, while chemical sunscreens protect the skin by absorbing the sun’s rays. Both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide protect against a wide range of UVB and UVA rays. Zinc Oxide can be is found in our Biolight™ Brightening Daytime Protection Cream, Hydra Medic® Mattifying Moisturizer, and Opti-Firm® Lift Cream, and Titanium Dioxide can be found in our Hydra 4® Day Protection Cream and Perfect Skin Liquid Foundation.

The range of coverage varies depending on the type of UV filter that is in a chemical sunscreen.  Once applied, physical sunscreens will work immediately to provide protection, but chemical sunscreens can take 20 minutes to become effective.

How does your skin react to these different types of sunscreens? This can vary as well. Zinc Oxide is FDA approved, and is known for being delicate on the skin, while UV Filters found in chemical sunscreens can be more irritating to the skin, and may cause allergic reactions.

Now that you know the difference between physical and chemical sunscreens, make sure to practice safe sun this summer and protect your skin!

*This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your doctor or health provider with any questions or concerns you may have about a medical condition.

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