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5 Facts About Physical Sunscreen

Do you actively search for a specific time of sunscreen? We’re not talking about a brand, but rather a chemical or physical formulation. There are many who choose to wear physical sunscreens for a number of reasons, however, there are a lot of misconceptions about what physical sunscreen actually is today. Keep reading to learn 5 things that physical sunscreen actually is, plus two of our favourites. 

  1. Physical sunscreen is an outdated term 

First things first, let’s address the term ‘physical sunscreen’. It’s not strictly incorrect, however, it is somewhat outdated. It implies that this sort of sunscreen is a 100% physical blocker of UV rays which just isn’t the case as we now know. Today, physical sunscreens are more correctly known as mineral sunscreens or ‘inorganic’ sunscreens if you want to get technical. 

  1. Physical sunscreens only reflect 5-15% of UV rays 

Once upon a time it was thought that physical sunscreens worked by blocking or reflecting all UV rays from hitting the skin. A little like a physical shield (hence the name). However, it’s now known that this just isn’t the case. In fact, mineral sunscreens block normally just 5% of UV rays from hitting the skin by reflecting them away. The exact percentage can go to as high as 15% but no more than that. 

  1. Physical sunscreens also absorb UV rays just like chemical sunscreens

Did you know that physical sunscreens actually absorb UV rays too? Similar to chemical sunscreens, mineral UV filters work by absorbing some UV rays. In fact, they generally absorb up to 95% (and reflect the other 5%). For more information on what the difference is between UV filters, have a read of this article on mineral vs chemical UV filters.

  1. There are 2 mineral filters used in inorganic sunscreens

When it comes to physical sunscreen, there are two different mineral filters to choose from in  your formulations. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the two filters used in inorganic sunscreens. You’ve probably heard the most about zinc oxide and thick coloured stripes on faces (or cricketers!) come to mind. 

  1. Physical sunscreens are traditionally thick and heavy

If you’ve been avoiding using a physical sunscreen, we can imagine this is why! Traditionally, mineral sunscreens were thick in all the wrong ways. Inorganic filters can be quite difficult to work with and left sunscreen heavy on the skin and with a dreaded white cast. Luckily, formulations have come a very long way today and you can find some beautiful physical SPF that is lightweight, and white cast/streak free. 

Best Physical SPF in Australia 

Inspired to retry mineral sunscreen or perhaps try it for the very first time? You can search for the best one by trending news over the internet. Here’s two of our favourites – one that uses zinc oxide and the other uses titanium dioxide. Choose the formula that’s right for your individual skin concerns. 

  1. Lean Screen SPF 50+ 

If you’re after the highest level of SPF protection and a mineral sunblock formula, you can’t beat Lean Screen. It won’t feel heavy on the skin, and it’ll never leave you with a white cast either. It is lovely for sensitive skin, but also works really well on those with acne or oily skin types. Whilst Lean has a subtle matte finish, it’s also still packed with hydrating ingredients so won’t leave your skin feeling stripped either. 

Features of Lean Screen: 

  • SPF50+ Formula
  • Zinc oxide based
  • Matte finish
  • Fragrance free
  • Great for sensitive skin
  1. Clean Screen SPF 30

Instead, if a titanium dioxide formula suits your skin more, then try Clean Screen. It’s also fragrance based and has a lovely lightweight, gel texture. This one is particularly good for those with acne-prone skin and is just an all-round great sunscreen. 

Features of Clean Screen: 

  • SPF 30 formula
  • Titanium dioxide based
  • Fragrance free
  • Gel based
  • Ideal for acne prone skin

Feeling a little more empowered to shop for your new sunscreen? Whatever you choose – be it physical or chemical- the important thing is just that you wear an SPF everyday. It’s the best thing you can do for anti-ageing, let alone protect from more harmful consequences of UV exposure.

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