top of page
  • Amelia Redhead

SPF Physical vs Chemical

When recommending SPF people often comment on how they don’t like the way it makes their skin feel but did you know there are two types of SPF?

The vast majority of SPF’s are chemical and don’t always state this on the bottle. It’s not until you look at the ingredients you can work it out. These sunscreens contain active sun filters that absorb UV light to prevent causing damage.

They are light in texture and great at protecting against UVA and UBA rays, UVA rays – which cannot be felt – represent 95% of UV rays on the earth’s surface. They penetrate more deeply into the skin and play a significant role in accelerating premature ageing. This is what causes the damage to your skin on those lovely 7am dog walks and gym classes.

Some chemical UV filters have been known to cause allergic reactions and irritation in sensitive skin because of the chemical reaction that occurs when the UV filters are literally breaking down the UV rays on your skin. Also, the potential free radical damage on the skin caused by the chemicals in the product.

Physical SPF’s work by actually reflecting the suns light away from your skin. Containing fine mineral partials, like zinc or titanium oxide these act as mirrors to defend against UV rays.

Physical SPF’s are usually thicker and sometimes chalky in appearance which is because of the minerals. This is a great guide to see where you’ve applied it and where it’s worn off and needs reapplying. Physical SPFs are great for sensitive skin also when using Retinol on a night and after professional facials / peels as there are no chemicals to irritate the skin.

However oilier or more acne pro skin may find it too heavy on their skin and opt for a chemical SPF. I personally like to use both! For my early morning gym class I’ll opt for PHYSICAL finding that it stays put and doesn’t sweat off. I then use a CHEMICAL SPF on top of my moisturiser then apply a tinted moisturiser which also has a chemical SPF 50 in. I also carry an aerosol SPF 50 (UncompliKated SPF 50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray by Kate Somerville) which I LOVE. It’s beautifully light and when out all day its refreshing to spray over my face, with or without make up.

The best protection is keeping out of the sun, so I always opt for a cap or hat if I’m outside and choose to sit in the shade in the garden.

Protecting your skin from UV rays not only is the best way to prevent the possibility of skin cancers but also the best form of anti-aging as UV rays breakdown the collagen and elastin in your skin. Also cause your skin to product pigmentation to try and natural protect itself.

Its never too late to start wearing SPF however if your skin is already showing signs of sun damage a course of professional facials and peels can significantly help reduce pigmentation, I recommend 4-6 facials with the painless peel add on, within a short window to dramatically target your skin. Or a regular facial (every 4-6 weeks) can help refresh and rejuvenate your skin and treat any superficial sun damage.

18 views0 comments


bottom of page