skin health

2 min read

Physical vs chemical sunscreen

Ponder the great debate between these two sunscreen types and get the facts to choose the option for you + your skin.

physical and chemical sunscreens

Story highlights:

Here are facts you need so you can choose the best sunscreen for your skin.

  • Physical sunscreen uses minerals that sit on top of skin and reflect away UV rays.
  • Chemical sunscreen uses ingredients that absorb and transform UV rays into heat.


the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen

There are two main types of sunscreen: physical and chemical. Both have their own unique properties and benefits, and both help protect skin from UV rays.
physical sunscreen vs. chemical sunscreen

the benefits of physical sunscreen

Physical sunscreen, also called mineral sunscreen, sits on top of skin. Most physical sunscreens leave a white or tinted residue on skin, so it takes a moment for them to sink in and become invisible. A few we recommend trying:

To identify this type of sunscreen, look for the words “mineral” or “physical,” as well as active ingredients like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.


    the benefits of chemical sunscreen

    Chemical sunscreens use ingredients that absorb into skin and transform UV rays into heat. This type of sunscreen tends to be popular, not only because it feels light, but it’s less noticeable.

    A couple we recommend:

    Chemical sunscreen:

    • Helps protect against UVA and UVB rays
    • Needs time to absorb – 15 to 30 minutes – before exposing skin to daylight
    • Is generally comfortable for most skin types and conditions
    • Tends to be more water- and sweat-resistant


    what sunscreen to use

    At Dermalogica, we believe any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen to help protect your skin from UV damage. So, really, it all comes down to which formula you prefer. That’s exactly why we offer a broad range of SPF moisturizers and sunscreens to suit different preferences and lifestyles. To find out which formula is right for you, chat with one of our professional skin therapists, and shop all SPF products here.