Our skin is the largest and most sensitive organ of our body. When it comes to taking care of the skin and protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays, it’s always advised to use sunscreen as there are a variety of sunscreens available in the market. It gets really confusing to decide which would be good for our skin.
As sunscreens are a non-negotiable part of our daily routine, we need to choose them wisely and make sure we are making the right decision for our skin. To choose the best sunscreen, you must know the ingredients that the product consists of. You must always know your skin type and use the product accordingly.
In this blog, we will introduce you to physical sunscreen ingredients so that you can make an informed decision for your skin and get to know all physical sunscreen ingredients brands use.
Physical Sunscreen Ingredients to Look for
The FDA has recognized two sunscreen ingredients as the most effective and safe ingredients. These are safe for your skin, and both of them are physical sunscreen ingredients, which makes these sunscreens even more reliable.
1. Titanium Dioxide
Titanium Dioxide is known to be a broad-spectrum UV filter, although it is also to be noted that it does not block long UVA1 rays. FDA approved this ingredient to be safer and can be used in children of more than 6 months older, and research shows that it is safer than other sunscreens for skin exposure.
Titanium Dioxide is not only a physical sunscreen ingredient, but you can also find it in SPF makeups, pressed powders, lotions, etc. It does not only protect you from sun rays but enhances the quality of your skin as well.
2. Zinc Oxide
Zinc oxide is the second physical sunscreen ingredient approved by the FDA, but only up to 25%. This ingredient is said to be harmful to the environment and aquatic life because of its toxicity, although it does not cause harm until it is swallowed or inhaled. It harms water animals and the environment, but Zinc oxide never showed any signs of skin penetration, which shows it’s safe and easy to use.
This chemical is often seen to be used in baby sunscreens as well. Research shows that this ingredient is not as effective for sunburn as it is for sun rays.
Oxybenzone is one of the most popular physical sunscreen ingredients. It is found in the majority of sunscreens. It helps with both UVA and UVB rays and is found in broad-spectrum sunscreen.
One of the recent studies has shown that our skin absorbs ingredients like Oxybenzone, and the trend of using “Safer: sunscreen has started since then. It’s been clear that there’s no harm in using this ingredient and is totally safe for the skin.
4. Para-Amino Benzoic Oxide
Popularly known as a PABA, it is a strong UVB protector and was commonly used as a physical sunscreen ingredient. But recently, its popularity has decreased because it increases allergic dermatitis and increases photosensitivity.
Some studies on animals have shown that the ingredient has toxicity; thus, some countries have banned the ingredient in all kinds of cosmetics. However, it is best known for sunburn protection.
Advantages of Physical Sunscreen Ingredients
1. Safe for Every Skin Type: Physical sunscreen ingredients, as mentioned above, are safe even for sensitive skin, and anyone with any skin type can use these sunscreens. This is a very important factor for people who struggle with allergies or skin conditions.
2. Immediate Protection: Another advantage of these ingredients is that they do not need any activation time. They start protecting your skin from the time of application.
3. Eco-Friendly Choice: There has been a growing concern for environmental health recently, as many products have been harmful to marine and aquatic life. However, these physical sunscreen ingredients tend to be less harmful to the environment and are considered to be safer to use. It is advisable to choose the sunscreens after checking that the sunscreen has eco-friendly ingredients and is not harmful to the environment.
Differences Between Physical and Chemical Sunscreen
Basically, there are two types of sunscreen: Physical and chemical sunscreen. It is good to understand the difference between the two of these to know which one will suit your skin type. Every sunscreen has its pros and cons, and yet some brands are trying to overcome the cons and provide the best sunscreen for all skin types.
- Physical sunscreen are known for being more moisturizing and less irritating. They feel good on the skin and hence can be useful for sensitive skin types. People with sensitive skin can use it with no skin irritation or problems. But it sometimes feels heavier on the skin, and it gets hard to blend it. People also shared that physical sunscreen leaves a white cast on the skin, which makes it not one of the best options. However, as per the options available in the industry, it is recommended by most people rather than any of the sunscreens.
- In contrast, Chemical sunscreen ingredients are different from physical sunscreen ingredients. Hence, They are easy to use and have better sweat and water resistance. Hence, if you are someone who is in sports and has a busy schedule, you can go with chemical sunscreens to maintain protection. However, it is also said that in direct sunshine, the amount of protection decreases, and it does not work that well on sunburns. It also takes more time to absorb
Chemical and Physical Sunscreen: Which One is Safer?
The chemical and physical sunscreen preferences can vary from individuality to skin sensitivities. Physical sunscreen ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and zinc oxide are considered safer for sensitive skin types because of their gentle and non-irritating nature. They create a barrier against your skin, reflecting and scattering UV rays without penetrating the skin. But to some skins, they may not work well, as researchers have shown.
On the other hand, chemical sunscreen absorbs and transforms the UV rays into heat, which might feel irritating to the skin for sensitive skin people. While both sunscreens protect the skin from sunburns and UV rays, physical sunscreens are considered the safer option because every skin type can use them.
Things to Look for in an Effective Sunscreen
1. Broad Spectrum: If you are a sunscreen fan and apply it in your daily life, then you must not be unaware of this term. SPF only helps our skin to protect from UVB rays; however, a sunscreen with a wide spectrum helps your skin to be protected from UVB rays as well, and it’s important to look for it in your sunscreen to have a larger impact.
2. PA Rating: PA rating is another criterion the Japanese give to check how well their sunscreens are to protect the skin from UVA rays. The amount of “+” indicates the capability of the sunscreen. It is advised to get sunscreen with 4+ indications. There are sunscreens available in the market that provide +5 indications; however, 4+ indication is something you can go with without any harm.
3. SPF: SPF is one of the most important aspects of sunscreen to protect you from UVA radiation. SPF 15 protects from UVA rays by 93%, SPF 45 protects by 97%, and SPF 50 protects by 98%. Choose your sunscreen’s SPF as per your needs.
4. Water Resistance: If you are someone who is into sports, swimming, and indulging in any activity that keeps you near water and you keep sweating, then you must choose a sunscreen that has good water resistance, or else it will be like using no sunscreen at all. This ensures sunscreen’s effectiveness is maintained even when exposed to water or moisture.
Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Sunscreen
1. Skin Type: Before going to buy sunscreen, make a note of your skin type and make sure that you buy the sunscreen as per your skin type after checking all the ingredients thoroughly, or else your skin will pay for a longer run. People who apply sunscreen according to their skin type get long-term benefits for their skin and never get any skin problems.
2. Avoid Harmful Chemicals: If you have sensitive skin, do not choose any physical sunscreen with ingredients like oxybenzone. These chemicals may have harmful effects on your skin and the environment as well.
3. Consult a Dermatologist: If you have any specific skin condition or problems, we would always recommend you consult a dermatologist before buying any product for the skin. They would guide you toward the best sunscreen for your skin type and needs.
The discussion for the best sunscreen and the best suitable sunscreen ingredients has been going on for years in the industry. There is no winner between physical sunscreen ingredients and chemical sunscreen ingredients, and we can not determine which sunscreen is better for one.
Every skin type is different; hence, multiple options are available in the market. Sunscreens are the most effective way to protect your skin from harmful sun rays and sunburns, and that’s why it gets more important to have a sunscreen that is more effective and has a positive impact on your skin.
Physical sunscreen ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide create a really protective layer and protect your skin from harmful rays. So next time you buy sunscreen, keep in mind to keep a check on all the factors like a broad spectrum, SPF rating, formulation, etc.
So step out into the sun, fearlessly and confidently!