Sunscreen Decoded : Chemical vs Physical sunblocks/sunscreens

Physical sunscreen vs chemical sunscreen

Hey Beauties,

In the world of sunscreen (sunblock )not all are created equal. There are physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens both differ greatly making it hard to make the right choice. I hope by providing information here it will allow more people to make the right choices to protect their skin.

As I am sure you know sunscreen is essential. Sunscreens help our skin fight against the harsh uv rays from the sun that can lead to dark spots, freckles, premature ageing and worst of them all is skin cancer. With global warming and the ever eroding ozone layer, protecting yourself from the sun has never been more crucial. below I will explain the two types and pros and cons of both.

Physical sunscreen: have active mineral ingredients (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) that work by sitting on top of your skin to deflect uv rays away from the skin so the damaging uv rays don’t penetrate the skin.

Pros and cons of Physical Sunscreen


  • Immediately blocks the sun (no waiting period)
  • Lasts longer in the sun (but not when sweating or getting wet swimming etc.)
  • Less likely to cause skin irritation or clog pores (great for those with acne prone skin)
  • Better for rosacea and redness sufferers because it deflects the heat given off by the sun .
  • Protects against uv a and uv b rays


  • Can cause a white cast ( not good when taking photos )
  • Breaks down quickly when you are doing physical activity (sweating or swimming)
  • Can be chalky under makeup
  • If not applied correctly can leave gaps of unprotected skin




Chemical Sunscreens are made up of Organic Carbon based compounds (oxybenzone, octinoxate,octisalate) which work by creating a chemical reaction in the skin by changing uv rays into heat and pushing the heat away from the skin .

Pros and Cons of Chemical sunscreen


  • Tens to be a thin consistency so it is easily applied
  • less likely to leave gaps of unprotected skin
  • Formula works better with some treatments and skin care products (peptides and enzymes)


  • Causes the skin to heat up which can make make brown spots worsen over time
  • Higher spf rating can cause irritation to sensitive skin
  • Increased chance of negative skin reactions (burning \stinging) more so with dry skin types
  • Requires 20-30 minutes before fully active
  • Can clog pores in oily skin types
  • The sun protection levels drop fast and frequently needs to be re applied

I use AlumierMD physical sunscreen Sheer hydration Spf 40 (medical grade ) and Daily protection SPF 30(which has both physical and chemical sunscreens.


In conclusion you really should have both in your skin care routines. I tend to use more physical sunscreens on my face and chemical on my body depending on my activities of course but my makeups have a chemical SPF 30 in them so I like to use both on my face.

Sunscreens are so underrated, they are really very important to your skin health. As nice as year round dark tans look the premature aging that comes with it is not as nice. I know most of us find this lesson out after we have already created the damage. So no matter what age you are being proactive is always better than being reactive. Just because outside is overcast doesn’t mean you should go out unprotected . Always Wear Sunscreen !.

 I hope this helps break down all the sunscreen confusion and helps you on the road to beautiful skin!

Xoxo Mandi


Discalimer the AlumierMD Products have been provided for my review.

P.s. Here i will link an article by alumierMD on  sunscreens if you want more information on them.

More about MandiDawson

Mandi Dawson Is a 26 year old Makeup Artist and Beauty Blogger . A dual citizen calling both Toronto, Canada and The United Kingdom home.