The two categories of sunscreen are chemical and physical. While both provide protection, chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen differ in their active ingredients as well as the way they protect against UV exposure. Here, we’ve compiled the key points you need to know about each type.
Chemical sunscreens are often referred to as “absorbers.” Their active ingredients are organic (carbon-based) compounds that absorb UV rays. Through a chemical reaction, these compounds convert UV rays into heat, then release that heat from the skin. They must be applied 15 minutes before going outdoors. Chemical sunscreens tend to be a little more water-resistant, and are usually added to minimize the “white cast” that is associated with the Zinc oxide- and Titanium dioxide-based sunscreens of the past.
If you go this route avoid these ingredients: Oxybenzone & Octinaxate
These ingredients were banned in Hawaii because they has been shown to cause harm to coral reefs. Aside from that, Oxybenzone is a form of synthetic estrogen, according to the Environmental Working Group, and can cause a disruption in your hormones. These ingredients have been shown to cause skin allergies, and in animal studies, have had effects on the reproductive system and thyroid.
Physical sunscreens are “reflectors.” Their active ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which act as physical blockers. These minerals form a protective barrier on the skin and reflect harmful UV rays before they make contact with the skin’s surface. Zinc has come a long way and there are many formulas that do not leave a “white-cast.”
Super Powers of Zinc Oxide!
- Natural sun protection
- Keeps skin cool
- Supports collagen production
- Helps Treat acne
- Reef Safe
Keep Tahoe Blue by being Reef-Safe
Mineral sunscreens are also reef-safe; zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not pose a threat to our planet’s delicate coral reefs. They are the ideal and environmentally-friendly choice. If we Keep Tahoe Blue here we can keep our reefs safe downstream.