Sunscreen can be confusing. We get it. There are so many different formulas, acronyms, and filters to understand. A big question we get asked all the time is about chemical vs physical sunscreen. If this has got you scratching your head too, keep reading to find out what the differences are and which one is right for you.
What is a UV filter?
So, to start, let's get into what a UV filter is. Just like a queen to her crown, UV filters are what makes our SKINSCREEN™, SPFs. They're the active ingredients responsible for doing all the hard work; protecting our skin from those harmful sun rays. Fun!
There are a lot of different ingredients that can do this, like zinc oxide or Tinosorbs. All these UV filters have different benefits and can be suited to certain skin types or conditions too. This is reflected in how we describe the skinscreens; eg, Lean Screen contains zinc as a UV filter, which doubles as being a fab anti-inflammatory ingredient for soothing sensitive skin.
A note on physical sunscreen
We want to point out that at UV we refer to physical sunscreen as mineral sunscreen. This is because physical is pretty misleading thanks to new research into how mineral UV filters actually work. Once upon a time it was believed that physical UV filters reflected 100% of UV rays and didn't absorb any, but it's since been discovered that actually only 5% of UV rays are reflected. More on this down below!
Physical vs Chemical Sunscreen
Then what the eff does physical (also called mineral) and chemical actually mean then?
Well! UV filters are generally split into two different categories; mineral or chemical, depending on how they work.
(Here's a fun fact for you. These two categories have a few different names. Not that that makes it super confusing or anything… *eye roll*)
Chemical or Organic UV Filters
These filters are known for being lightweight, gliding onto the skin effortlessly and offering absolutely zero white cast.They work by absorbing UV light to protect it from reaching your skin. Chemical UV filters can be found in Queen Screen, Supreme Screen, Extreme Screen and Sheen Screen.
Mineral or Inorganic (or incorrectly referred to as Physical)
Before Ultra Violette hit your #shelfies, these filters were known for being pretty thick. (Please note, not the good kind.) Some people refer to them as physical, because there's an outdated myth that mineral UV filters reflect all UV rays rather than absorbing them like chemical filters. This is only partially true. Mineral UV filters actually work by absorbing 95% of rays and only reflecting 5%. These filters can be found in both Clean Screen and Lean Screen.
SO! When it comes to chemical sunscreen vs physical sunscreen they work super similarly. Are you more confused than ever?
Basically, you're just best to choose which formula is right for you.