Are you aware of the differences between chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients? Not all sunscreen products are the same, and using the right type goes a long way in protecting your skin and keeping it healthy. Not only do the ingredients vary between the two, but how physical and chemical sunscreens work is like night and day. Dermatologists highly recommend using Senté 100% mineral-based, physical sunscreens. Here’s why.
Mineral Sunscreens Create a Protective Barrier
As the name implies, mineral sunscreens are formulated with minerals — most commonly zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — that sit on the surface of your skin, acting like a shield that reflects the ultraviolet and visible blue light away, naturally preventing it from being absorbed into your skin and body.
Our physical sunscreen ingredients also include iron oxide for added protection against airborne pollutants, free radicals, and other external stressors, as well as the visible blue light emitted from the screens of electronic devices and some types of indoor lighting.
Chemical Sunscreens Create a Chemical Reaction
As you might assume, chemical sunscreens contain many chemicals, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene, among many others. When you apply sunscreen, those chemicals are absorbed into your skin. When the sun’s rays hit your skin, the chemicals cause a chemical reaction that converts the ultraviolet light into heat, which dissipates away.
In contrast to physical sunscreen ingredients, many of the active ingredients in chemical-based sunscreens can cause irritation, especially among people with sensitive skin. While the chemicals are approved by the FDA,—and better than no sunscreen at all—studies have shown that trace amounts of them can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and research into their safety is still ongoing.
Benefits Associated With Physical Sunscreen
As you can see, physical and chemical sunscreen are two very different products. There are plenty of other reasons why physical sunscreen may be a much better choice, especially if you have sensitive skin.
No Wait for Activation
As soon as you apply mineral sunscreen, your skin is protected. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, can take as long as a half hour to start working. 30 minutes is a long time to be unprotected, especially on a hot, sunny day. Besides being safer, mineral sunscreens are so much more convenient.
Chemical sunscreens offer some protection from the sun’s ultraviolet light, but they don’t protect you from other stressors such as visible blue light, pollution, and free radicals that can also damage your skin cells. Our physical sunscreen ingredients (including powerful antioxidants) aren’t just for beach days — they’re intended for everyday wear, providing a reliable solution to long-term blue light exposure.
Suitable for All Skin Types
Another major difference between physical and chemical sunscreen is that minerals, like zinc oxide, are actually beneficial beyond their protective properties, while chemicals don’t provide any value whatsoever. For example, zinc oxide is known for its calming properties for irritated skin. Thus, it's often incorporated into skincare products for its soothing benefits.
Senté sunscreen creams are hypoallergenic, and they’re an outstanding choice for people with rosacea-prone, acne-prone, and sensitive skin.
Prevents & Reduces the Appearance of Discoloration
Physical sunscreen ingredients can help keep skin discoloration at bay. Inflammation-induced hyperpigmentation is the result of chronic exposure to UV light, including visible light. Iron oxides help limit this inflammation-induced discoloration, while mineral colorants provide a line of defense against pigmentation caused by visible light.
Better for the Planet
Mineral sunscreens are much more eco-friendly than their chemical counterparts. When people wearing chemical sunscreens swim in the ocean, those chemicals wash off, polluting the water. This has been shown to cause damage to coral reefs. Knowing the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen doesn’t just affect your health — it affects everyone.
Senté Sunscreen: Formulated With HSA
Senté sunscreens are formulated with the highest quality, medical-grade physical sunscreen ingredients, but that’s not all. We’re proud to offer Even Tone Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 40 Light-Medium and Even Tone Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 36 Medium-Dark formulated with our revolutionary, patented HSA technology.
HSA stands for Heparan Sulfate Analog. Heparan sulfate is a naturally occurring molecule that our bodies use to renew inflamed and damaged skin, hydrate inner and outer layers of the skin, and activate the production of collagen. Heparan sulfate levels deplete with age, leading to inflammation, dehydration, and increased sensitization.
Because heparan sulfate can’t be absorbed by the skin due to its negative charge and high molecular weight, we decided to modify it to make it a viable ingredient. Besides being one of our exclusive physical sunscreen ingredients, we add HSA to all of our skincare products.
Order 100% Mineral Sunscreen Today
Now that you’re well-versed in physical and chemical sunscreen, we invite you to browse our medical-grade physical sunscreens. They’re gentle enough for everyday wear, yet powerful enough to provide exceptional protection, even on those scorching summer days. Place your order with confidence today.