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Understanding the Difference Between Chemical and Physical Sunscreen Blockers


Why Physical Sunscreens Are the Preferred Choice?

Protecting our skin from the harmful effects of the sun is crucial for maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin. When it comes to sunscreen, there are two main types: chemical and physical sunscreen blockers. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between these two types and shed light on the controversy surrounding some chemical sunscreen blockers. At Aviva Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics, we strongly recommend the use of physical sunscreen blockers for optimal skin protection and overall well-being.

What are chemical sunscreen blockers?

Why Physical Sunscreens Are the Preferred ChoiceChemical sunscreen blockers, as the name suggests, work by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat energy, which is then released from the skin. These sunscreens typically contain chemical compounds such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate. While they offer effective sun protection, some concerns have been raised regarding their potential impact on human health and the environment.


Why are chemical sunscreen blockers controversial?

Certain chemical sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone, have been linked to hormone disruption, allergic reactions, and skin irritation. There is ongoing debate about whether these chemical compounds are safe for use, especially in high concentrations or when applied frequently. Additionally, studies suggest that these chemicals may have adverse effects on marine life and coral reefs when washed off during swimming or ocean activities.


What are physical sunscreen blockers?

Physical sunscreen blockers, on the other hand, create a physical barrier on the skin that reflects and scatters UV rays away from the skin’s surface. They contain mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which provide broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Physical sunscreens are considered to be gentler on the skin and are less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions. Some advantages of physical sunscreen blockers include:

  1. Broader spectrum skin protection: Physical sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays, making them highly effective in preventing sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer.
  2. Immediate effectiveness: Unlike chemical sunscreens that need ~ 20 minutes to become effective after application, physical sunscreens start protecting your skin as soon as they are applied.
  3. Gentle and safe for all skin types: Physical sunscreens are generally better tolerated by sensitive skin and are less likely to cause irritation or adverse reactions.
  4. Environmentally friendly: Physical sunscreens are reef-safe and do not contribute to the destruction of coral reefs or harm marine life.

What is the best sunscreen for you?

What is the best sunscreen for you?

When it comes to choosing the right sunscreen for your skin, it’s essential to consider the benefits and potential risks associated with chemical and physical sunscreen blockers. While chemical sunscreens have traditionally been popular, recent concerns about their safety and environmental impact have led many experts to recommend physical sunscreens instead. At Aviva Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics, we prioritize the health, safety, and overall well-being of our patients. That’s why we recommend using physical sunscreen blockers to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays while ensuring optimal skin health and vitality.


Do you want to know what type of sunscreen blocker is best for your skin? Give our office a call at 678-974-8435 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fishman today!