August 22, 2010

Beauty School 101: Sunscreens - Physical vs Chemical

Would you say that you are well-informed about sunscreens? In this day and age where everyone is slowly mutating to be so prone to cancers. Whereby carcinogenic is a term not alien to many of us anymore. Australia, being a very dry sunny country with majority of its land being deserts, continues to promote its advertising slogan "Slip, Slop, Slap"

"Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat"

So what's a sunscreen? What's in it that makes you feel protected from the harsh rays of the sun, when we do need just the right amount of Vitamin D?

I found an interesting article online while educating myself on this matter, and I thought I share with you what it's all about.


If you want to read the whole article (it's in part 1, 2 and 3) feel free to do so - CLICK HERE
Disclaimer: All images are found on google image

So basically CHEMICAL sunscreens aka ORGANIC sunscreens work by absorbing the sun's rays. Now you might be wondering, "What? Why!" as I myself was wondering as to how that would work. You want to block the sun's rays not absorbing it, yeah? This is where the PHYSICAL sunscreen comes in. Physical sunscreens aka SUNBLOCK work by deflecting or
blocking the sun's rays.

Their stability varies, I mean, they are made of different ingredients. The most common characteristic you can look out for from PHYSICAL sunscreen is that they leave a 'white cast'. Remember those photos with flash and you notice your face looks so much whiter than your chest? LOL it would most likely be caused by the sunscreen that you were using. Or it could be just that you were wearing a slightly lighter shade of foundation. Teeheehee...
Now on to their ingredients.
PHYSICAL - Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide

CHEMICAL - Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octylcrylene, Helioplex, Homosalate, Mexoryl SX, Uvinul T 150 (
Octyl triazone, ethylhexyl triazone) etc etc.

Note: Most of these active ingredients are oil-soluble (meaning that they can be dissolved with oil, not water) and that gives sunscreen its waterproof or sweatproof. So actually, sunscreens should be removed by some kind of cleansing oil or oil-based remover of some kind!!

These ingredients are normally what some people could have reactions or allergic reactions to. Titanium dioxide could be problematic to some people while chemical ingredients could be more irritating to the skin. And as mentioned before, physical sunscreens could leave you with a white cast.

So OMG, what are you saying!! Hahaha, sorry to leave you all confused, but sunscreens do indeed have their pros and cons in terms of whether they are physical or chemical based. Hence, many of the sunscreens today have both properties of physical and chemical uv filters to keep us all happy, cancer-free and safe from sunburns... right??
If you do have any reaction to any sunscreen you've had, don't be sad, don't lose hope, it might just be the one of the ingredients you are incompatible with. It could be the alcohol (yes they do have alcohol in them to make them feel less greasy), it could be the chemical ingredients (redness or stinging), or it could be the titanium dioxide (if you experience breakouts).

As for me? I haven't had any horrendous reaction to sunscreen apart from it being greasy or smells like salty coconut. I'd pay more for my face sunscreens than I do for body sunscreens. Why? Because my face... is temperamental. Its skin is more translucent than my body and I do feel that wearing sunscreen suited for my face works better, for my face. I mean, sure if you do use your body sunscreen on your face and you don't mind it, by all means do so~ Some sunscreens don't even label it as for the body or for the face.

Choosing sunscreens may sound like a hassle and overly critical or scientific. It might have the high SPF and PA etc etc but it makes you glow in the dark. Or it may not have that high of SPF but it makes you feel like you're just wearing a nice moisturiser. In the end, use what your skin likes.

Have a lovely day, you guys... It still feels like Winter here in Brisbane... but I'm sure it feels like Summer for you Northerners ^^ Bring on the sunscreens and the tan!!
** mwahh...


Tammy said...

Hmmmm I'm thinking judging by the ingredients list now I might be allergic to the helioplex in Neutrogena's sunscreen lotions O_o

CENDANA said...

Tammy!! Oohh really? you think so? have you experienced stinging or redness when you use it? o_O might wanna look into it and try a different sunscreen. It seems like Neutrogena is the only one in the market right now promoting their sunscreen with Helioplex~ Let me know how you go with different sunscreen! =]

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