When it comes to choosing a UV protective treatment, the sunscreen ingredients that make up the formulation are one of the most important factors to consider. In this post, let’s dive into the most commonly used sunscreen ingredients to determine which one may be best for you.

Chemical vs Physical Sunscreen Ingredients

Sun filtering agents can be broken down into one of two main categories – chemical blockers and physical blockers:

Chemical blocking agents (also referred to as organic ingredients) are absorbed by the skin’s top layer and work by absorbing the sun’s rays and turning them into harmless energy. Some chemical filters can also scatter UV rays, but that isn’t their primary function. They include ingredients such as Mexoryl SX, Mexoryl XL, Tinosorb S, Tinosorb M and older one like avobenzone and oxybenzone.

Physical blocking agents (also referred to as inorganic ingredients) work by sitting on top of the skin and blocking or deflecting UV rays. Studies have shown that just like organic ingredients, that they also have the ability to absorb UV rays. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the two physical blockers available today.

Sunscreens may be comprised of either chemical or physical ingredients or may contain a combination of both. Both types offer advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients are capable of delivering higher UVA protection, especially with the newer filters like Tinosorb S and M and Mexoryl SX and XL. They are capable of blocking both UVA and UVB rays and are often combined together to maximize their protection. They tend to go on clear and most do not leave a white cast upon application.
    The downside of chemical ingredients is that they may be associated with allergic reactions, which is possibly problematic for sensitive skin. As well, several are associated with hormone disruption, with oxybenzone being the one implicated most. Two chemical sun filters – oxybenzone and octinoxate – have been associated with destruction of the coral reef and the State of Hawaii is hoping to ban sunscreens containing these two ingredients by 2021.
  2. Physical Sunscreen Ingredients are the ideal choice for individuals with sensitive skin. Because they sit on top of the skin, they are not absorbed and are therefore less likely than chemical filters to cause allergic reactions. You have likely seen zinc oxide used in formulations to alleviate rashes in babies (diaper cream), where it is incorporated for its soothing and calming properties.
    Sunscreens containing physical filters are also considered the product of choice for individuals with melasma (although both types are better than no sunscreen at all!). Zinc oxide blocks against the full UVA/UVB spectrum (so it can be the sole ingredient in a formulation) and titanium dioxide blocks against UVB and some UVA. If you are using a titanium dioxide based sunscreen, ensure that it is combined with ingredients that cover the full UVA spectrum.
    The downside of physical sunscreens is that may feel heavy (because they aren’t absorbed) and they have been known to leave a white cast on skin. This effect can be minimized by using products formulated with nanoparticles. Studies have shown that nanoparticles in sunscreen don’t penetrate into the bloodstream if applied to intact skin so there shouldn’t be any safety concerns with their application. Our Shade SPF 30 is a fantastic product to consider if you are looking for a broad spectrum physical blocking sunscreen that does not leave a white cast upon application.

With the wide range of effective sunscreens today, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one that works for you. Look for a formulation that fits your budget and your skin type without it feeling greasy or leaving you looking like a ghost. Keep these additional 3 tips in mind:

  • Look for a product labelled as ‘broad spectrum’ to ensure protection against the full UVA/UVB spectrum
  • Ensure you purchase something with a minimum SPF 30 for adequate protection
  • If you are going to be active and/or swimming, select a water resistant formulation.

Sunscreen is the most important product to help protect your skin against sun damage. Find one you love and use it every day.

★ Judge.me Reviews

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My Fave Four Apothekari products

The first product I purchased from Apothekari was the A for Anti Aging. I have Never been able to tolerate retinol products and always ended up bailing because of dry flaky skin. Until A for Anti Aging. It's Amazing! I have now added the Vitamin C, the Deodorant (Neroli Rose is my current favourite but the Lavender is great too), and most recently the More than Lip Service (thank you thank you thank you Apothekari :)). While deodorant and vaginal moisturizer may sound like odd gifts, these are my latest go-to's for the gal who has everything. All have become fans!

THIS WORKS! No odour for 24+ hours including a yoga session!

I'm blown away by how effective this is, and by how clean and well thought out the formula is. I'm not used to roll-on so that took a couple days to adjust to, but its so much more effective than the solids/creams i was using that it is totally worth it. I'm converted - and i think i have probably tried 90% of the natural deodorants out there over the last 10 years LOL. thank you for creating this.

I love this body oil!

This is so luxurious and moisturizing (i have dry, sensitive skin and most oils don't do the trick) and also miraculously absorbs very quickly. And the lemon rose scent is just transporting - i look forward to using this after my shower.

Bespoke Vitamin C Serum

I love it! Been using it for years. It’s so perfect to put on right after I wash in the morning. I’ve never been the greatest at sticking to a skin care routine but using the Vitamin C in the morning and A is for Anti-aging at night consistently over the years has kept my skin young and firm.
Would not want to imagine life (or my skin) without these two essentials. Thank you Sharmani!

*Received as press sample*

Pricing per bottle is definitely up there, but I think much like skincare, if you have struggled to find a deodorant that works for you, the price won't be as much of an issue because something like this can have a huge impact on your life. One bottle should last about 3-4 months with daily use which I think is fairly close to most deodorants. While I know there are baking soda-free options (baking soda can cause skin irritations due to pH disruptions) and options that use Deoplex, I have yet to find a combination of Deoplex and lactic acid which may be what's working for me. Honestly, the only thing I didn't enjoy was that "wet" feeling when I would first apply it, but after 15 seconds it dries down AND it doesn't stain clothing so that's a huge plus. Even though I received this as a press sample, I would buy this deodorant on my own as I didn't just smell good at the end of a long day, but I smelled like absolutely NOTHING which is WAY better to me than smelling like "I'm covering something up" or like body odour. I also trust and appreciate the research I know Apothekari has invested into making sure the formulation is scientifically sound so I know that's also partly where my dollars are going. I only need to apply once a day and I'm good to go so one bottle might even last more more than 4 months at the rate I'm going! HIGHLY recommend and even though all three scents had the same results, my preferred scent was the Lavender as it just one of my favourite scents overall!

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