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Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen

Now spring has arrived and the sun has finally started to peek out! The sun is important for our health as it contributes to the production of vitamin D. Many people find that their skin gets better from the sun, and one reason is the production of vitamin D, which is important for our and our skin's well-being. However, it is important to remember to protect our skin to avoid sunburn.

Today I'm going to write about something that many people may not know. There are different types of sunscreens to choose from, namely physical (also known as mineral) sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.

What is Physical and Chemical Sunscreen?

Physical sunscreen, also known as mineral sunscreen, uses minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to reflect the sun's rays away from the skin. These sunscreens act as a shield and block the sun's UV rays from penetrating the skin.

Advantages of a physical sunscreen are that it provides immediate protection upon application. It contains natural minerals, which is beneficial for those who prefer products as natural as possible. It is also good for sensitive skin as it does not penetrate the skin like chemical sunscreens. A disadvantage of physical sunscreen can be its slightly thicker consistency, which can make it a bit more difficult to apply as it settles like a shield on the skin. It is also important to reapply as it is not as water resistant as chemical sunscreens.

Chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb the sun's rays and convert them into heat, which is then emitted from the skin. These chemicals typically include substances such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octisalate.

An advantage of chemical sunscreen is that it is thinner and melts into the skin faster, which some people prefer. It is also more water resistant than physical sunscreens. The disadvantages are that it takes about 20 minutes before the sunscreen becomes fully active on the skin and that the chemicals in the sunscreen can be harmful to the environment and coral reefs.

Impact on coral reefs

An important aspect to consider when choosing sunscreen is its impact on coral reefs. Studies have shown that certain chemicals in sunscreen products, especially oxybenzone, can be harmful to coral reefs and other marine life. When these chemicals are washed off our bodies when we swim or dive, they can end up in the ocean and cause coral bleaching, which is very dangerous for fish and other marine life. It poses a serious threat to the entire marine ecosystem.

Physical sunscreens are considered more coral-friendly because they do not contain these harmful chemicals. By choosing a physical sunscreen, we can all help protect and preserve our beautiful coral reefs for future generations to enjoy.


In conclusion, it is important to choose the right sunscreen to protect our skin from harmful UV rays while taking the environment into account. Physical sunscreen, which uses minerals to reflect the sun's rays, offers immediate protection and is gentle on sensitive skin. Chemical sunscreens may be easier to apply but may contain substances that are harmful to the environment.

Personally, I prefer physical sunscreen and I have several options for sale.

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