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Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreens: What's the difference?

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The 101 Guide To Sun Care

Sunscreen is one of the simplest and most effortless ways to protect your skin and maintain its youthful appearance. Maintaining a healthy habit of applying sunscreen on a regular basis can do wonders for your skin! Not only does it protect your skin barrier from harmful sun exposure, lowering the risk to skin damage, it is also vital in preventing signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots!

Types of sun exposure

When it comes to sun exposure, you probably think of ultraviolet or UV rays. But did you know that there are two specific types of ultraviolet rays that are responsible for causing sun damage? UVB rays are responsible for producing sunburn and is one of the main contributors in causing skin cancers including the deadly black mole form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. Similarly, UVA rays also play a role in skin cancer formation however, UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin, causing visible skin aging changes such as the formation of wrinkles. 

Types of sunscreen

Cleansing and moisturizing aside, wearing sunscreen daily is arguably the most effective method in maintaining healthy, glowing skin and it should be a key step in your daily skincare regimens! You wouldn't want to put your hard work and expensive skincare products to waste by skipping your final step of your morning routine! With the consistent advancement of technology and science, applying sunscreen has never been easier! There are so many different types of sunscreens in the skincare market ranging from sun sticks, lotions, essences, serums, creams, powders, and more! With so many options, there is bound to be one that fits your skin!

Most sunscreens can be grouped by two different categories, physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, and chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens act like a shield, deflecting harmful rays away from your skin while chemical sunscreens absorb the sun's harmful rays into your skin and through active ingredients, it creates a reaction with the rays, converting them into heat and releasing them from the body. 

Which type best suits you?

Most people skip sunscreen because they think that sunscreen is inconvenient and a hassle because it leaves an uncomfortable feeling on the skin or a white cast. Mineral-based sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are most likely to leave a white residue on your skin however don't worry! Technological innovations have advanced tremendously and they are not as heavy and are designed to be just as invisible as chemical sunscreens now! 

There are many benefits of mineral sunscreens such as the absence of harsh synthetic chemicals and since they aren't absorbed into your skin, they're safer for sensitive skin and are less likely to clog pores and create acne! They are also safer for marine life, including fish and coral reef! Their main ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have long been proven safe for cosmetics and are non-irritating, better suited for sensitive skin! They also provide a higher range of protection because they work to reflect the harmful UV rays before they hit your skin! Look for labels such as "full spectrum" or "broad spectrum" to make sure that your'e using a mineral sunscreen! 

Mineral Sunscreen Recommendations:
Elta MD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF44- Tinted

Image via EltaMD Instagram

Round Lab 365 Derma Relief Sunscreen SPF 50+

Image via Masksheets Website

Chemical sunscreens are popular due to their lightweight consistency and quick absorption! They feel like skincare and can be easily applied without a white cast! They are also more effective at resisting water and sweat and people prefer to wear them under makeup for a seamless and long lasting finish. Some of the most popular chemical sunscreens include the Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream from Round Lab, the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel as well as the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun!

Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream

Image via Round Lab Instagram

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel

Image via Isntree Instagram

Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun

Image via Beauty of Joseon Instagram

When it comes to sun care, there are so many options on the market and there is bound to be one that is suitable for your unique skin type and preferences! For most, one type of sunscreen isn't necessarily better than the other. It's best to experiment around and find the a formula that you find most comfortable and non irritating so you can create a healthy habit of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis!

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