We’re lucky to live in a part of the world that’s drenched in sunshine. Aside from the four scorching summer months, it’s blissfully sunny for most part of the year. But even when the beach beckons, don’t forget that too much sunshine can wreak havoc on your skin with the onset of burns, blisters, premature aging, sun-spots and in some cases, even skin cancer. 

Sunscreen is the only thing that will save you. We wear it every day, even when sitting indoors. And now, thanks to responsible beauty companies and influencers, we are beginning to understand exactly what’s in our sunblock. So, before slathering on that SPF, let’s look into the two most common types of sunscreens in the market and which one might be the best option for you.

Mineral sunscreen vs. Chemical sunscreen:

Mineral sunscreen, also called physical sunscreen or sunblock, physically blocks UV rays using active ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or a combination of both. These minerals sit on the surface of the skin and deflect UV light from entering the skin. Chemical sunscreens on the other hand have active ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate that sink into the skin, making them easier to apply without leaving a white film on the skin. They absorb UV light, convert it into heat and release it away from the skin.

Here are some obvious differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens:

Bottom line, mineral sunscreen is generally the better, healthier option. Although mineral sunscreens typically take longer to seep into the skin (science and technology is helping to create smaller molecules to change this) and needs to be applied more frequently, it may be safer for long-term use. That said, some sunscreen is better than no sunscreen at all. Neither mineral nor chemical sunscreen is bad for the skin, in fact several skincare brands today combine both to offer the best protects on the market.

Our Qiyorro squad swears by two mineral sun saviours to keep the sun damage at bay:

iS Clinical’s Eclipse SPF 50+ is our go-to for some shield in the sunshine, with the added bonus of a sheer, tinted coverage for a refreshed and enriched look. It’s also enriched with antioxidants and physical filters to provide long lasting protection against free radicals and UV damage, perfect when you’re spending the day outdoors. Eclipse SPF 50+ is ultra-sheer, lightweight, water-resistant, and absorbs quickly for a non-greasy matte finish.

Rovectin’s Skin Essentials Aqua Soothing UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ (it’s a mouthful, but it’s sunproof). This Korean cult favourite not only protects you from the sun’s harmful UV rays, it also leaves your skin hydrated, your complexion brighter, and helps improve the appearance of fine lines. Since it’s a mineral sunscreen, it’s formulated with physical filters, but it also has niacinamide for skin brightening, and centella asiatica extract to soothe skin.

Everything else you need

  • Broad spectrum: Choose a sunscreen labeled ‘broad spectrum’. It keeps out both types of rays – UVB (associated with sunburn) and UVA (associated with premature aging)
  • SPF: Look for a sunscreen that offers at least SPF 30 (SPF=sun protection factor), which means it takes 30 times longer to burn than if you used no sunscreen at all. Don’t fall for the gimmicky high SPF products, they often create a false sense of security and users tend to skip reapplication due to this- enduring more skin damage. SPF 30 is a safe zone.
  • Amount: Most people do not use enough sunscreen to fully cover exposed skin. An adult generally needs to use enough to fill a shot glass.
  • Reapply: Sunscreen (mineral and chemical) is considered ineffective after two hours of wear or if it's worn off earlier by swimming, sweating or rubbing – even if it's water-resistant. Be sure to reapply as directed by the sunscreen label.

It’s clear as day that applying sunblock should be a crucial step in your skincare routine. So, whether you prefer to go mineral or chemical, show sun protection some affection and put on that sunscreen!