Why it is important to wear sunscreen

Maybe you’re already wearing sunscreen regularly or you might just use it during the summer months. Research is pretty clear on the fact that by using sunscreen daily we can prevent skin damage and premature aging because UVB rays can cause sunburn and hyperpigmentation. UVA rays penetrate the skin even deeper damaging existing collagen and reducing collagen production which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin.
Are you looking for a good anti-aging cream? If you’re not using a good sunscreen on a regular basis you might want to buy one since it prevents skin from sun damage.
The question left could be what kind of sunscreen you should buy? A mineral or a chemical sunscreen? Hopefully this little comparison of mineral vs. chemical sunscreen can help you!

What’s the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen?

There are two main differences between mineral and chemical sunscreen. The first difference can be found in their ingredient lists. Mineral sunscreen contains two natural minerals –zinc oxide and titanium dioxide– as active ingredients. Chemical sunscreen has non-natural, chemical compounds as active ingredients.
The second difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen is the way they work to protect the skin from harmful UV-rays.

Chemical sunscreen

A chemical sunscreen uses non-natural, chemical compounds to protect the skin from harmful UV-rays. Some of the ingredients commonly found in a chemical sunscreen are:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene

Although the FDA has approved all of these, research shows potentional risk for several of them:

  • Octinoxate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octocrylene
  • Padimate O

Some of them may mimic hormones and also suncreen related skin irritation and allergies seem to be on the rise. Additionally you absorb some amounts of the chemical compounds through your skin where they enter your blood stream. A study in Europe found trace amounts of the chemicals used in sunscreen in the breastmilk of 76.5 % of the women they tested. Other studies showed that some of the chemical compounds could disrupt hormones.

How does a chemical sunscreen work?

The chemical compounds in the sunscreen penetrate the top layers of the skin. There they absorb harmful UV-rays and turn them into heat. That means the UV-rays never hit the body. However your skin has to absorb the chemicals compounds to get protection which can cause irritation, especially for children or people with sensitive skin.


  • Will protect your skin against UV-rays if applied correctly
  • Usually no white cast
  • Lotions tend to be thinner, which make them more easily spreadable


  • Some of the chemical compounds seem to be hormone disruptors
  • Chemical compounds get absorbed into the skin and enter the bloodstream
  • Questionable safety, since the FDA didn’t test them thoroughly before approving them
  • Can cause skin irritation, especially for children and people with sensitive skin
  • Oxybenzone and octinoxate kill the coral reef

Mineral sunscreen

A mineral sunscreen uses minerals as active compounds. Mostly the minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are being used. These minerals occur naturally but they  can also be created synthetically.

How does a mineral sunscreen work?

A mineral sunscreen doesn’t get absorbed by your skin. It sits on top of your skin and reflects the harmful UV-rays away from your skin. The minerals are like tiny little mirrors reflecting the UV-rays. Mineral sunscreen are sometimes called physical sunscreen because they create a physical barrier between your skin and harmful UV-rays. Some mineral sunscreens have nano particle minerals in them. This leads to the question if these nano particles do get absorbed into the skin because of their size. However studies have shown that nanoparticles in sunscreen don’t penetrate the skin. Nanoparticles can in fact cause lung damage when inhaled but when in a sunscreen lotion this risk is practically non existent.


  • Will protect your skin against UV-rays if applied correctly
  • Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered safe
  • Usually don’t cause skin irritation
  • Not hormonal disrupting
  • Don’t get absorbed into the skin and enter the blood stream
  • Reef safe, so won’t kill the coral reef


  • Lotions can be thicker which can make them harder to apply on the skin
  • Mineral sunscreens can leave a white cast


Now that you’ve read the mineral vs. chemical sunscreen comparison, which team are you on? Team mineral sunscreen or chemical sunscreen? Do you use a
sunscreen year round or just during the summer months?





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