NATURAL PHYSICAL vs CHEMICAL
Natural sunscreens are a physical barrier of protection for the skin. They can contain ingredients such as Zinc Oxide that helps reflect the suns harmful rays. This is different to chemical sunscreens, which absorb and filter UV rays. Natural physical sunscreen particles sit on top of the skin acting as a reflective UV layer.
Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays through the superficial layer of skin before it can penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin and therefore cause long term damage. Chemical based sunscreens are typically a combination of active ingredients such as; octocrylene; oxybenzone; avobenzone; octisalate; homosalate and octinoxate. There is controversy around chemical sunscreens, as some of these ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Some of the chemicals found in these sunscreens, and in many other skin care products, have been shown to cause hormone disruption once in the bloodstream.
In our industry, we recommend as a general rule that you apply chemical sunscreens around 20 minutes before sun exposure so that they are fully absorbed by the skin.
Where as physical sunscreens, can be applied as the last step in your skin care routine and will begin deflecting the sun’s rays immediately.
The SPF factor is all about the longevity of protection. If you would typically start to burn after 10 minutes of exposure, then an SPF of 15 will allow you 15 times longer in the sun. Keep in mind though, your SPF is not cumulative. Wearing a 50 + sunscreen and 15+ makeup over the top, does not mean you have 65+ protection. Its only as strong as the strongest spf.
FROM MY EXPERIENCE:
Physical sunblock tends to be:
Less irritating and preferred by sensitive skin
More moisturising, which can feel heavy on oily skin
Quiet occlusive on the skin which can cause more breakouts for acne prone skin.
Chemical sunscreen is a better option if you:
Have quite oily skin.
Want a sunscreen to soak in when swimming/ beach day/ playing sport.
Break out easily with sunscreens
WHAT TO LOOK FOR AS A GENERAL RULE
Broad spectrum (protects from both UVA and UVB rays)
Noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores)
SPF of at least 30 or higher
(The following information is a combination of the manufacturers information advertised and my personal opinion from use.)
Skinstitut Age Defence SPF 50+
Advanced chemical and physical hybrid moisturiser
Non comedogenic and water resistant.
Can feel quite heavy on the skin
Only need a pea size amount and pat on skin - do not rub in as it becomes pasty.
Lightweight mineral shield, physical protection
Broad Spectrum – High UVA & UVB protection,
1 hour water resistant, Suitable for sensitive Skin.
Non-Comedogenic, Paraben & Fragrance Free, Vegan Sunscreen, Cruelty Free, Rubs in easily, Australian Made
Heavy at first, soaks in light weight - fine for oily skin
Rationale Beautiful Superfluids:
Physical Sunscreen Actives (Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide + Iron Oxide)
Broad-spectrum combination of Solar Constant filters
Actually super light weight and mild coverage from tint
Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 50+
Sheabutter ingredient may break out
Paraben Free. Synthetic Fragrance Free.
Non greasy, fine for oily or dry skin.
Dermalogica Super sensitive shield spf30.
Formulated specifically for sensitised skin using only natural mineral UV protectors (non chemical sunscreen).
Sheer formula hydrates while reinforcing barrier lipids.
Antioxidants and botanical extracts guard against premature aging and irritation.
Non greasy on skin
Moo Goo- natural spf 40+ face tint.
People that are sensitive to sunscreen with UV filters.
Natural moisturisers, minerals to add a natural tan coloured tint, and Zinc for sun protection
People that want a Zinc only based sunscreen that is not greasy.
An oily skin that hates sunscreen: Rationale Beautiful super fluids
A skin easily irritated by sunscreen: Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield spf30 +
A dry, dehydrated skin: I can't go past Skinstitut spf50+
Pick of the bunch for everyone: Moogoo Natural Spf 40+ face tint. For about the quarter of the price, 40+ natural protection. Its worth purchasing to trial without wasting your money.