Mineral vs Chemical: Which SPF Is Best For Your Skin Type?

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With numerous options in the market, it can be difficult to know which is best. Don’t worry, we’ve done our research so you won’t have to.

One of the most important steps in your skincare routine, sunscreen is a must—no matter the weather. And yes, even when you’re indoors. “Ultraviolet rays that are the cause of sun damage and skin cancer are always present,” Dr. Shilesh Iyer, M.D. shared with Forbes. “They are independent of cold or hot weather, and are not blocked by clouds. On overcast days, only visible rays from the sun are blocked. The best way to protect the skin is with sun protection.”

So whether you’re sitting poolside sipping on some piña colada, attending Zoom meetings and working from home, or even experiencing the coldest of temperatures, applying and reapplying your sunscreen is a must.

Photo from MEGA archives

But, not all sunscreens are the same. The two main types are mineral and chemical sunscreen. So how do we know which one is best for our skin?

No worries! We’ve done our research so you won’t have to. Here’s the difference between a mineral and chemical sunscreen:

Mineral or Physical Sunscreen

Recommended for: all skin types, including sensitive skin

One of the main differences between a mineral and chemical sunscreen are the ingredients used in the product. Mineral, also known as physical sunscreens, use zinc oxide and titanium oxide in their ingredients. These are “small particles that sit on the skin’s surface and physically prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin,” dermatologist Jennifer L. MacGregor M.D. shared with Everyday Health

If you opt for a mineral sunscreen, you won’t have to wait 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, as it offers immediate protection from the sun. You can also apply and re-apply this on top of other skincare products, and even make-up.

Chemical Sunscreen

Recommended for: dry, oily, combination skin

Chemical sunscreens get absorbed into the skin, unlike mineral sunscreens. This is because chemical sunscreens have oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate in their formula. These chemicals allow UV light into the skin, and then converts it into heat. The heat will then dissolve from the skin once the UV light is converted.

Chemical sunscreens also don’t leave a white cast on the skin, unlike mineral sunscreens. This type is also very easy to apply. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your sun protection, here are some of our tried and tested sunscreens:

Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick

One of the oldest cosmetic company in the world, Shiseido’s products are a constant favorite—and their sunscreens are no exceptions. The Shiseido clear sunscreen stick offers SPF 50+ protection, and can be applied under or over your make-up. Its also made with SynchroShield technology, and is ocean-friendly.

Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Gel

A brand under Shiseido, Anessa has been the no. 1 sunscreen brand in Japan for 17 years. Made with Aqua Booster EX Technology and offering SPF 50+ protection, this sunscreen is a cult favorite. The Anessa perfect UV sunscreen skincare gel also doubles as a make-up base, making it a beauty must-have.

Belo Tinted Sunscreen

If you’re looking for a two-in-one product, then the Belo Tinted Sunscreen may be for you. It offers  protection against harmful UV rays, with SPF 50 and PA+++. This tinted sunscreen is also made with Tone Adapt Technology and Cell Protect, so you can perfect the no-makeup makeup look, while making sure you’re protected.

Vaseline Tone-Up Sun Cream

A well-known brand because of their petroleum jelly products, Vaseline has become a household staple. Their Tone-Up Sun Cream is no different. Offering SPF 40 and PA+++ protection, this sunscreen provides you with strong UV protection, while also leaving your skin moisturized. It also has a non-sticky, matte finish—perfect for layering with make-up.

Céleteque Sun Matte Moisturizer

Céleteque is a proud Filipino brand that puts skin science at its center. Made for Filipino skin, their products are beloved by Filipinas since the beginning—and this includes the Sun Matte Moisturizer. It offers SPF 30 and Broad Spectrum UVA/UVBI protection, and is easily absorbed by the skin.

Nivea Sun Protect & White Cream

Want a sunscreen that protects and whitens the skin at the same time? Meet Nivea’s Sun Protect & White Cream. It provides immediate UVA-UVB protection, and helps reduce skin pigmentation and melanin production. This sunscreen also helps prevent uneven skin tone, and offers SPF 50 protection.

No matter which type of sunscreen you choose, remember to apply and re-apply your sunscreen to make sure your skin is protected!