Your mother probably always told you to wear your sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and wrinkles, which is great advice. But did you know that there are two kinds of sunscreen to choose from? Sunscreen options include two choices: Chemical or Physical
Chemical sunscreens are by far the most common form, and it’s probably what you’re using right now. Here is how it works: chemical sunscreen relies on chemicals such as Octylcrylene, Avobenzone and OxyBenzone to scatter or absorb the UV rays and takes about 20 minutes to work. And you guessed it, the higher the SPF the more chemicals get absorbed into your body. Some 22 chemicals have been used commercially since the 1940s. Since the sun protection does not increase proportionally with an increased SPF number, its best to stick with 30 because it will have less chemicals and offers similar protection. The growing concern is that these chemicals can mess up your hormones and can cause free radical damage in the body.
Physical sunscreens use large molecules of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which do not absorb into your skin but remain on the surface to block the harmful rays. Unfortunately, in the past this left you with a pasty white glow not ideal for all you beach lovers. However, the newer products are now able to give you the protection you need without the frosted look. Because of this you don’t need to wait 20 minutes, but its recommended to re-apply frequently when sweating or swimming.
I personally have switched to physical SPF because it’s stronger, more natural, and offers better protection against pigmentation.
Dr. Nicole Clement