Chemical or physical, which sunscreen is best for you?

Something not many people pay attention to is the importance of sunscreen. These bottles are mainly grabbed when on our way to the beach, but the truth is that they are essential on a daily basis. If you want to make the change and turn sunscreen into a habit though, there is another thing you must ask….what kind of sunscreen is chemically best for you?

another physicalphysical sunscreen


You know you have a physical sunscreen in your hands if it contains the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting UVA/UVB light. Physical sunscreens are characterized by a thick white texture. Many times they are harder to apply, and leave the face with a white tinge. Titanium dioxide on its own does not protect against the full UVA spectrum, zinc oxide, however, does. Many physical sunscreens contain a mixture of both ingredients in order to combat titanium dioxide’s shortcomings.

Another characteristic of physical sunscreens is that they work better for more skin types, and can even be very beneficial for acne prone skin. This is because they are not readily absorbed, making them less likely to interact with your skin. Zinc Oxide has also been proven to contain anti bacterial properties, making it a great choice if acne is one of your problems.


 There a tons of ingredients that fall under the chemical sunscreen category, some of these include: octinoxate, oxybenzone, octylcrylene, and helioplex. Chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed into the skin, from there it then absorbs the sun’s rays which become degraded when they come into contact with the sunscreen. They also provide more coverage against UVA and UVB rays, but the protection will vary from ingredient to ingredient.

Chemical sunscreens are a better option if you plan on wearing makeup over your sun protection since they easily absorb into the skin. Make sure to wait twenty minutes before heavy sun exposure, though, since chemical sunscreens need to activate before they begin working.

Although most skin types can handle chemical sunscreens, since they are absorbed there is a higher chance of it reacting with your body. Some can irritate skin, and in some people can even cause allergic reactions.

chemical sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens are common in liquid foundations, because they don’t affect the tint of the makeup


Most sunscreens now contain mixtures of both physical and chemical sunscreens, but if you find yourself having problems with either, there are many products available that are dedicated to providing one type of sunscreen!


BHAs and AHAs: Your skin will thank you

Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are two beneficial skin exfoliants found in many face washes/toners/and anti aging remedies. Many of you may even be using them without knowing so! These are great ingredients to incorporate into your skin care regimen but to really get the full benefits you must know what skin types each ingredient is geared specifically to.

Why are they beneficial?

As you know, your skin naturally sheds off billions of skin cells off each day. However, not all skin types exfoliate at the same rate. Factors such as sun damage, aging, acne prone skin, etc. can slow down the exfoliation process. Usage of chemical exfoliants (like BHAs/AHAs) can help your skin speed up this process and result in smoother skin with less hyper pigmentation.

 Okay, so what are the differences between them?

 Alpha hydroxy acids are water-soluble, i.e. you should not be using them in tandem with any products that contain oils. If you do this will cause AHAs to not work as effectively. AHAs are also better suited to people with dry skin because they are humectants. Humectants are substances that are able to attract and retain moisture from the air. They have this ability thanks to the higher amount of hydroxyl ( -OH ) groups they contain, which allow hydrogen to bond with water.

Some AHAs include lactic acid, citric acid, and glycolic acid.

Beta hydroxyl acid (the most commonly used is salicylic acid) is oil soluble and you can use it with any products containing oils and it will remain effective. BHA is better geared towards acne prone skin because it is better at penetrating pores and “unplugging” them.


This is a cheap but effective product containing BHA!

Some things to remember…

 Some negatives of using chemical exfolliants is that they carry the chance of initial purging (they will cause acne). This occurs because the rapid exfoliation of skin brings plugged pores more rapidly to the surface, resulting in acne (that would have taken longer to rise) popping up more frequently than usual. Remember that this is only temporary and usually ceases within a month.

Another important fact is that BHAs/AHAs significantly raise your skin’s sensitivity to UV light. If you decide to use products containing these ingredients make sure to always use sunscreen!