Mineral (physical) sunscreen vs Chemical sunscreen.

To use your sunscreen effectively,you need to know the type of sunscreen you are using or planning to buy.Now basically, sunscreens are of two types Viz. Mineral (physical) sunscreen and Chemical sunscreen. And just like every coin has two sides, both these types of sunscreens have their own pros and cons.

Mineral (physical) sunscreens:

Mineral sunscreens use active mineral ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide.(check the ingredients list). They reflect the sun’s rays like a mirror to protect our exposed skin.

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  • Broad spectrum i.e. provides protection against both UV A and UV B rays
  • Creates a layer of protection on top of your skin and doesn’t seep in; so it’s non-comedogenic i.e. won’t clog your pores and thus won’t cause your skin to break out.
  • Longer shelf life
  • You don’t need to wait post application and prior to stepping out i.e. it starts working immediately.
  • It is safer on skin as compared to chemical sunscreens (But avoid using the spray or powdered form of mineral sunscreens as they might not be safe)


  • It is thick and opaque
  • It leaves a whitish cast post application.(tip: don’t try to rub it in..spread the cream and leave it as it is with the whitish cast, it will kind of mattify)
  • It is generally not moisturising or hydrating like the chemical sunscreens.
  • Not suitable to be used under make up. (Tip: for a make up base, choose a moisturising chemical sunscreen)
  • It must be applied generously as applying a small amount of these sunscreens won’t be effective. (Tip: Incase this generous application is making your skin greasy,top it with a sunscreen powder or any regular compact…. though this is not going to double up the protection, but will at least soak up the extra oil)
  • As it doesn’t get absorbed in the skin,so it wears off easily on sweating
  • On sweating, the drops of sweat mixed with this sunscreen will drip as chalky white drops.

Chemical sunscreens:

Chemical sunscreens use a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. They absorb rays in a chemical reaction that dissipates the heat back off the skin.


  • Light formulation
  • Spreads easily
  • Has moisturising properties
  • Gets absorbed in skin
  • Application in generous amounts isn’t required.
  • Great make up base


  • You need to wait for 20-30 minutes post application for the sunscreen to start working
  • Can irritate sensitive skin (tip: physical sunscreens are safer)
  • Might be comedogenic.(so if you have acne prone skin,then it might clog your pores and cause breakouts)
  • Overheated skin can cause redness and discoloration of skin.
  • Sometimes they don’t provide protection against both types of UV rays…(protects against either UV A or UV B….. generally UV A protection only)


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