We know that exposing yourself to too much sun can lead to long-term skin problems.
But does sunscreen actually help prevent skin problems?
Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays leads to skin ailments such as sunburns and even increase your risk of skin cancer.
Most of us know what sunscreen is. Simply put, sunscreen blocks harmful UV rays from penetrating into our skin; however, did you know that different sunscreens have different ingredients – which may cause unseen negative side effects? Specifically, it can be categorized into two:
- chemical sunscreen
- mineral sunscreen
So what’s the difference between the two, and why should you pay attention to your sunscreen’s ingredients? That’s a great question!
The difference between good sunscreen and bad sunscreen (mineral vs. chemical)
You can discover the main difference between mineral and chemical sunscreens by taking a look at their ingredients. Mineral sunscreen is made up mainly of minerals whereas chemical sunscreens are, well, made primarily of chemicals.
But how do the two differ from each other and, more importantly, how will they affect you and possibly your baby? Let’s find out more details below.
Mineral sunscreen is a sunscreen that is commonly formulated with minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Both of these ingredients occur naturally, although they can also be synthetically produced and are very safe for your skin.
One of the main benefits of mineral sunscreen is that it does not penetrate into the depths your skin. This sunscreen simply sits on top of your skin and through its minerals it will reflect back UV rays that come into contact with your body.
Basically, this is the ideal sunscreen; however, it is not without any cons. One common problem attributed to mineral sunscreen is that it can be rinsed off easily. For instance, it can be rinsed off while you sweat or when you take a dip into the pool. This is why it is important to check out reviews and possibly try out a few different types before settling on one that works for you.
Chemical sunscreen works quite differently compared to mineral sunscreen, and that’s not merely because they have different ingredients.
Chemical sunscreens are very effective in protecting your skin against UV rays because the ingredients absorb the rays. In fact, it absorbs the UV rays before they even touch or hit your body. However, this comes at a cost: the chemical sunscreen is first absorbed by your skin to its protective feature, but that can cause skin irritation and discomfort for many.
Also, because the chemicals are absorbed into your skin, it’s very possible that these chemicals enter your bloodstream. This may be an immediate “no” for some individuals.
Reef Safe Sunscreen/Clean Beauty SPF
Another sub-category of sunscreen to keep in mind is reef-safe sunscreen and clean beauty sunscreen. In 2008, a European study found that around 14,000 tons of sunscreen comes off of humans and end up in the world’s oceans annually. This is a devastating amount that might make you wonder if it’s safe or not. The answer is that it depends on the sunscreen you are using. Many mineral sunscreens are reef-safe, while chemical sunscreens typically are not.
One of the most popular chemical sunscreen ingredients is oxybenzone. In a 2015 study, the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology determined that this ingredient was causing worldwide coral bleaching. On the other hand, most mineral sunscreens have such tiny particles that they aren’t harmful to marine life because they are too small to be absorbed.
So, Which is Better: Mineral or Chemical?
The ideal sunscreen, of course, is a mineral sunscreen that is clean beauty certified along with reef-safe. However, take note that it can easily wash away if it is not a quality brand. While chemical sunscreens are very effective in protecting you against UV rays, you have to take into consideration the biggr effects. So, it makes sense to say that chemical sunscreen is not safe for long-term use…for you or the planet.
One way to help your skin with pre-existing sun damage is by using a restorative oil. We took this into account when we created our Superfood Beauty Oil! You can find our specially crafted and lightweight formula here.
Always Pure, Always Natural.