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09.27.2021 Chemical Sunscreen vs Mineral Sunscreen: How to Pick the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin

Kristen Marchisotto
By Kristen Marchisotto

Kristen is a Lead Esthetician at the Bryant Park, New York City location of Silver Mirror Facial Bar. Along with a formal education in aesthetics, her years of experience as a licensed esthetician helping those achieve healthy skin has given her a deep grasp of diverse skin types and treatments.

Silver Mirror how to pick the right sunscreen for your skin

In the debate of chemical sunscreen vs. mineral sunscreen, there is not a one size fits all. There are a lot of sunscreen questions to prepare for the sunny summer days ahead. For example, are mineral or chemical sunscreens better? Let’s explore this question because knowing the difference between chemical and mineral based sunscreens is essential in understanding your skin protection needs.

Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreens

You may have heard the term physical sunscreen, but is mineral sunscreen physical or chemical? The answer is simple. Physical sunscreen is the same as mineral based.

Mineral sunscreen works well on dry, dehydrated skin, usually absorbing moisture immediately. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are in all mineral sun lotions.

Is zinc oxide sunscreen safe? Yes, these mighty microscopic particles sit on the skin’s surface while physically preventing UV rays from penetrating the skin. In addition, they usually offer a matte finish and are an excellent makeup prep.

Chemical sunscreen works best for oily, aging skin and typically requires less product application. Also, chemical based sunscreen is often lightweight and non-greasy, allowing UV light into the skin. Once the skin absorbs the light, the UV light converts to heat. The heat then reflects the rays from the skin to leave an even glow.

Now that you know the difference, you can say it is not a question of physical or chemical sunscreens, but instead, ask yourself: what will provide you the best sun protection for your skin type? If you still have questions about mineral vs. chemical sunscreens, an esthetician might be able to aid you in your search for the perfect match.

Tips for Applying Sunscreen:

1. When applying sunscreen to the face, it is best to rub a nickel size amount into your hands and heat up the sunscreen.
2. Apply by patting the chemical or mineral sunscreen into the face in an even motion.
3. Do not rub the mineral or chemical sunscreen as this often breaks down the ingredients and can lower the SPF’s effectiveness.

Remember to reapply chemical or mineral sunscreen every 90 minutes if in direct sunlight and three times a day if moving around the city.

These are a few of our NYC skin specialist’s favorite chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen options:

Chemical Sunscreens

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 – $34

Supergoop SuperScreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 – $38

Supergoop PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50 With Sunflower Extract – $22

Mineral Sunscreens

SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense – $34

Supergoop Mineral Sheerscreen SPF 30 – $38

Revision Skincare Intellishade Original SPF 45 – $76

By Kristen Marchisotto