Chemical VS Physical Sunscreen: What's the Difference?

If you are reading this and looking to learn more about SPF, you probably already know how important it is to wear sunscreen every day, and know of the impact UV rays have on our skin. But with so many SPF products to choose from, what kind of sunscreen should you be wearing? 

Turns out there are types of sunscreen —  chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens. While both formulas keep harmful UV rays from damaging your skin, they use different methods to do it. So what’s the difference, and which kind should you be applying every day?

SLMD Dual Defender

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays and convert them into heat that is then released from the skin. They usually include active ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone. Because they are soaked up by the skin, they are generally easier to rub in. Dual Defender SPF 30 is a moisturizer and chemical sunscreen in one! It leaves no residue and combines ultra-hydrating ingredients with antioxidants like vitamin C, grapefruit extract, and green tea extract to brighten your complexion while also protecting your skin from external stressors. It was also formulated by Dr. Sandra Lee to be safe for all skin types, especially those that are acne-prone!

Physical Sunscreen 

Physical sunscreens act as an all-over skin shield, sitting on the skin’s surface to deflect the sun’s rays. Their active ingredients usually include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. With no wait time to activate, a natural broad spectrum sunscreen in a powdered form is a great option for those who wear makeup, and need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day.

Which one should I use?

Because chemical sunscreen absorbs quickly into the skin, they may be a better option if you need a water-resistant formula for swimming or sweating. For people with sensitive skin, physical sunscreen can be less irritating because it doesn’t permeate the surface of the skin. However, because many sunscreens are specially formulated for acne-prone and sensitive skin, choosing them doesn’t have to be so scary. Go for the one that best suits your skin, with a texture and feel that will make you the most likely to apply SPF every day!


Shop the Article