Hello, it’s Keri Collins back again! As we head towards sunnier days, I thought it’s high time we addressed a pivotal skincare topic – sunscreens. Specifically, let’s delve into the differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens, and why I wholeheartedly recommend the latter.

Understanding Sunscreens: Chemical vs. MineralSunscreen is your primary defense against harmful UV radiation, which can cause premature skin aging, sunburns, and significantly increase the risk of skin cancer. The two main categories of sunscreen are chemical and mineral (also known as physical), and understanding the distinction is crucial for making informed skincare choices.

1. Chemical Sunscreens: These are formulated with organic (carbon-based) compounds, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate, that create a chemical reaction to transform UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin. They’re often more lightweight and easier to rub into

the skin without leaving a white residue.

2. Mineral Sunscreens: Also known as physical sunscreens, they use minerals, specifically zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, as active ingredients. These sunscreens sit on top of the skin and physically deflect and scatter the UV rays away from the skin. They are typically thicker and may leave a white cast on the skin.

Why You Should Consider Switching to Mineral-Based Sunscreens

While both types of sunscreen can provide broad-spectrum protection (blocking both UVA and UVB rays), there are several reasons why I advocate for mineral sunscreens.

1. Healthier for Your Skin: Chemical sunscreens can be irritating for those with sensitive skin or skin conditions like rosacea, as the heat absorption process can exacerbate redness and discomfort. In contrast, mineral sunscreens are generally gentler and less likely to cause allergic reactions or skin irritations.

2. Better for the Environment: Many chemical sunscreen ingredients have been found to be harmful to marine life, particularly coral reefs. In fact, some places, like Hawaii and Key West, have banned the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate due to their detrimental environmental impact. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, are often labeled as “reef-safe” because they are less likely to harm aquatic ecosystems.

3. Immediate Protection: Mineral sunscreens start protecting you as soon as you apply them. Chemical sunscreens, in contrast, need about 15-30 minutes to absorb into your skin before they start working.

4. No Hormone-Disrupting Concerns: Some chemical sunscreens have been associated with hormone-disrupting effects. While research is ongoing, and the evidence is not definitive, using a mineral sunscreen can help you avoid potential risks.

While it’s true that mineral sunscreens have traditionally been thicker and left a notable white cast, many brands have made significant strides in formulating more user-friendly versions. These include tinted mineral sunscreens that blend well with various skin tones and micronized formulas that apply more smoothly and transparently.

Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you’re willing to use regularly, so find a mineral sunscreen that you love, and make it a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.

Here’s to enjoying the sunshine responsibly, with skin health and environmental impact in mind. Stay protected!

-Keri Collins