What are the Different Types of Sunscreen?

What are the Different Types of Sunscreen?

Hey FaceTory Fam!

As it slowly gets hotter here in Cali, we’re constantly being reminded of the importance of sunscreen. In today’s blog post, we’ll be talking about chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen.


Chemical Sunscreen

This type of sunscreen is absorbing. It absorbs UV rays and then neutralizes them, releasing heat. 

Sensitive skin types may find this formulation to be bothersome or irritating on their skin. It also takes a few minutes for it to work, about 15-20 minutes.

Some chemical sunscreen ingredients include: Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Ecamsule (Mexoryl), Homosalate, Padimate A, Padimate O

Physical (Mineral) Sunscreen

This type of sunscreen is reflecting. It reflects the rays away from the skin, imagine a barrier or a shield over your skin when you apply a physical sunscreen

This is great for sensitive skin types and babies as it is less irritating and the most effective. 
Works immediately upon application
However, it can feel thick and often leaves a white cast. 

Physical Sunscreen ingredients: Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (both FDA approved)

There are some companies that mix chemical sunscreen ingredients with some physical sunscreen ingredients to create a formula with an easier application. Mixing it will have a lighter consistency thanks to chemical sunscreen ingredients and less irritating thanks to the physical sunscreen ingredients. It will also help screen a larger portion of the spectrum if chemists mix ingredients since some chemical sunscreen ingredients only screen either UVA or UVB. [Side note: UVA ages your skin and UVB burns your skin! So it's incredibly helpful to be protected from both types of ultraviolet rays!]

To see which ingredient blocks which ultraviolet ray, please look at this chart below: 

FDA-Approved Sunscreens  
Active Ingredient/UV Filter Name Range Covered
UVA1: 340-400 nm
UVA2: 320-340 nm
UVB: 290-320 nm
Chemical Absorbers:  
Aminobenzoic acid (PABA) UVB
Avobenzone UVA1
Cinoxate UVB
Dioxybenzone UVB, UVA2
Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) UVA2
Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimiazole Sulfonic Acid) UVB
Homosalate UVB
Meradimate (Menthyl Anthranilate) UVA2
Octocrylene UVB
Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate) UVB
Octisalate ( Octyl Salicylate) UVB
Oxybenzone UVB, UVA2
Padimate O UVB
Sulisobenzone UVB, UVA2
Trolamine Salicylate UVB
Physical Filters:  
Titanium Dioxide UVB, UVA2
Zinc Oxide UVB,UVA2, UVA1

Source: skincancer.org

We hope this helped and thank you for reading our blog post on sunscreen! Remember, sunscreen, whether it’s physical or chemical, will help protect you from the sun and should be applied and reapplied (every 2-3 hours)! Add this step to your morning skincare routine and you check off sunscreen off your daily to-do list!

Until next time~ ❤️