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Skincare tips: Physical vs chemical sunscreen; what is the difference?

Know which works best for you, and also note that sunscreen must be applied everyday

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
May 24, 2021 1:20:41 pm
skincare, asians skincare, ageing, fairness creams, sunscreen, lifestyle newsApply sunscreen before stepping out. (Source: File Photo)

“There’s no doubt that sunscreen is essential. Not only does SPF protect against the sun’s harmful rays, but it’s also one of the best antiaging products you can buy,” writes Dr Jushya Sarin in an Instagram post.

This is exactly why one should apply sunscreen not only before stepping out, but also when at home, especially during the lockdown when most of our time is spent in front of digital devices. That is because these devices emit blue light that is harmful to the skin.

However, as pointed out by Dr Sarin, with so many varieties available in the market, how do you pick the one that suits you best? “While all you have to do is just wear a sunscreen, physical or chemical, you might wonder what exactly these terms mean,” she added.

What are physical sunscreens?

There are two mineral ingredients that make up physical sunscreens — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — that create a film over your skin that scatters and reflects UV rays away. “They are called physical sunscreens because they do not chemically react with UV rays but rather form a physical barrier between your skin and the rays,” she explained.

Physical sunscreens are also referred to as mineral sunscreens because they contain minerals such as titanium and zinc. These are inorganic in nature and are less likely to clog your pores. Dr Sarin added that they are safe for sensitive skin and also children. “It works immediately upon application, does not degrade when exposed to sun, and blocks a wide range of UV rays,” she wrote.

However, one of the biggest disadvantages is it can feel heavy and be rubbed off by sweat easily.

What are chemical sunscreens?

“Chemical sunscreens include organic compounds that create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing the heat from the skin,” explained the dermatologist. Thinner in consistency, they tend to spread easily on the skin. This is why they are great to be worn every day and can be easily layered. Dr Sarin said they contain chemicals such as “avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, and salicylates.”

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First published on: 24-05-2021 at 01:20:41 pm

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