Sunscreen - What’s the difference?

Physical vs. Chemical

As the weather starts to heat up, so does the sunscreen debate. We all know that wearing sunscreen daily year-round is incredibly important in protecting your skin from the harsh NZ sun. However, some of you might not understand what the difference is between a physical and chemical sunscreen.

Physical sunscreens work by sitting on the surface of your skin and protect it by reflecting UVA and UVB rays away via mineral filters (zinc oxide and titanium oxide). These products don't absorb into the skin, but remain on the surface. Essentially, they create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun.

So what about Chemical sunscreens? Chemical sunscreens absorb into your skin and then absorb the UVA/UVB rays, convert the rays to heat, and releases them from the body. You have to put chemical sunscreen on, at least 20 minutes before heading outside, so it has had the chance to absorb into your skin. 

The pros of a chemical sunscreen are that it’s not as thick, making it ideal for daily wear and spreading easily onto the skin. The pros of a physical sunscreen is that is can be less irritating for sensitive skin types, and tends to be more attractive for those who value natural ingredients. The ingredient zinc oxide found in physical sunscreens also blocks the widest spectrum of UVA and UVB rays, and you’re instantly protected after application. With a chemical block, you’re not protected until it’s absorbed into the skin.

Both chemical and physical protect you from the sun, so that's the most important thing - but now you know the difference, you can choose what suits you and your skin best! 

ur top two sunscreen picks this summer are:

  1. Elta MD Pure - with a physical block like our Elta MD Pure, you are protected from the moment you put it on. Elta MD Pure is definitely our top sunscreen pick for your face. It’s smooth, easy to apply, nonghosting, doesn’t make your make up slide, and best of all it provides you with the ultimate in sun protection naturally!
  2. NEW Coola (Physical Block) Mineral Body Sunscreen SPF 50+ - we're excited to introduce you to our new mineral body sunscreen! It provides hydrating, chemical-active free sun protection for even the most sensitive skin. It has a high percentage of zinc oxide, is antioxidant-enriched, vegan, paraben-free and reef friendly. 

Buy our COOLA range online or in clinic. Elta MD only available in clinic. 

COOLA