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What Is the Difference Between Chemical and Mineral Sunscreen?

By May 14, 2019May 11th, 2023Skin Care

With summer around the corner and things already heating up down south, many of our patients are preparing to spend more time outdoors. We advise our patients on the potential harm that can come from too much exposure to the sun. Not only can sunlight do cosmetic damage to the skin, but it is also one of the leading causes of skin cancer. Thankfully, those who want to enjoy the sunshine can do so in moderation with the help of a good sunscreen. Our patients often ask us what the difference is between the two main types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral. Here we provide a brief overview of the differences and relative benefits of the two.

Chemical Sunscreen Vs. Mineral Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen is made with carbon-based compounds like octisalate and avobenzone. These chemicals convert UV rays into heat that is then radiated away from the body. This reaction with the skin makes the sunscreen spread more easily and creates a protective barrier even if it’s applied unevenly. Mineral sunscreen, on the other hand, uses titanium oxide or zinc oxide that forms a barrier layer on top of the skin to deflect sunlight. This physical layer has to be applied evenly without missing any spots to give full protection.

The Best Choice for Your Skin

From a sun-blocking perspective, anything with an SPF of at least 30 will do the job, whether it’s chemical or mineral-based. That said, the best option depends on an individual’s skin type and what kind of outdoor activity they’re doing. Chemical sunscreens are a good option for people who will be swimming or sweating a lot as it is more water resistant. On the other hand, its absorption into the skin means that it may irritate delicate or sensitive skin and can also clog pores. Mineral sunscreen tends to last longer and is better for delicate skin, but requires regular reapplication and is harder to blend in, giving the skin a whitish tone.

The Dermatology Clinic specializes in helping you care for your skin throughout your life. We carry both mineral and chemical sun protection products. We specialize in skin rejuvenation, offering a range of both dermatology services and cosmetic treatments. To learn more, call us at (225) 769-7546 or schedule your appointment online today.