Did you know there are two types of sunscreens? Chemical and physical sunscreens protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but in different ways, so let's break it down to help you choose which sunscreen product might be right for you.
Physical (also known as a mineral) sunscreens are becoming increasingly popular among skincare communities, you may have heard about them from the skincare-lover in your life. Since launching our Suncare range in 2017, Bondi Sands has made a splash when it comes to sun protection for our high-quality chemical sunscreen formulas. With the launch of Everyday Skincare in 2021, Bondi Sands new mineral (physical) sunscreen, Sunny Daze, became a TiokTok fave among suncare and skincare lovers. So, which of these sunscreen formulas is the right one for your face?
To really understand the difference between types of sunscreen, let's begin with some suncare 101!
The term ‘Broad Spectrum’ is used when sunscreen offers both UVA and UVB protection. But do you know what these two types of ultraviolet (UV) lights are?
Ultraviolet A (UVA) is light that is around all day, year-round, even when it's cloudy, UVA can penetrate middle layer of the skin (dermis) which plays a major part in skin ageing and wrinkles, it can even penetrate through glass windows!
Ultraviolet B (UVB) is light that is more prevalent in sunny climates and conditions, and UVB has been associated with burning of the outer layer of skin (epidermis) that can cause skin to burn and turn red. This one has been strongly linked to some cancers.
So how do chemical and physical sunscreens work to protect us from UVA and UVB rays? Let’s break down what each one does!
SPF or ‘sun protection factor’ is a rating that refers to a theoretical amount of time you can stay in the sun and be protected without getting burnt, compared to unprotected skin; for example, an SPF 50 allows you to stay in the sun with less risk of sunburn for fifty times longer than you would if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. Direct sun exposure can change the texture and elasticity in your skin, causing premature wrinkling, sags and bags to appear!
This type of sunscreen works by sinking into the pores of the skin. It absorbs UVA and UVB converts them to a small amount of heat and is formulated with ingredients like Avobenzene and Homosalat. Chemical sunscreens are generally much lighter in texture, absorb easier and leave no white cast. You can check out this type of sunscreen in the Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Fragrance Free Face Sunscreen & Face Mist.
This type of sunscreen sits on top of the skin and creates a physical barrier. It reflects and scatters UVA and UVB rays. Physical sunscreens are formulated with ingredients Zinc and Titanium Dioxide and this is why they can also be called mineral sunscreens. While some physical sunscreens can be thicker in texture and leave a white cast, Bondi Sands Sunny Daze has been formulated to be lightweight in texture with a universal tint to ensure it leaves no white cast.
Physical sunscreens are popular for those with sensitive skin because the ingredients aren’t absorbed into the skin itself, rather the mineral sunscreen sits on the surface of the skin and acts as a screen that deflects UV rays.
Always remember you don’t need to sit in the sun to get a tan! UV rays can bounce off of anything; footpaths, sand, water…even your Martini glass! Sunscreen is the most important aspect to your anti-aging skincare routine.
Facial Sunscreen FAQ’s:
Do I need to wear sunscreen every day?
Yes, you should be wearing sunscreen every single day if the UV index is above 3.
If I wear a sunscreen that has a rating of SPF 50, it means i'm fully protected from the sun
Remember that sunscreen is a "screen", not a "block" and will never block 100% UV radiation.
When should I be applying SPF?
Apply liberally and evenly to all unprotected areas 15 - 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. Reapply every 2 hours or more often when sweating, and after swimming, exercising or towel drying.
Can chemical and physical sunscreens be worn under my makeup?
Absolutely! Our range of chemical and physical sunscreens have been specially formulated so that they are lightweight and suitable underneath makeup – just remember, it should be applied as the last step in your skincare routine! Did you also know that the SPF in your foundation isn’t enough to protect your skin throughout the day? You should be applying ½ a teaspoon of sunscreen for complete face protection, but don't forget your ears!
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Re-apply as directed. Prolonged high-risk sun exposure should be avoided. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection.