The Difference Between Chemical Sunscreen and Physical Sunscreen
The main contrast between chemical and physical sunscreen is how it blocks UV rays. "Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and absorb the sun's rays," board-certified dermatologist Martha Viera, MD, told POPSUGAR. "Physical sunscreens sit on top of your skin and deflect the sun's rays."
The ingredients in each type of sunscreen are how the formulas protect you from sun damage. "Chemical sunscreens have ingredients that penetrate into the skin and bond with the sun's UV rays, transforming them into heat that is then released back out of the skin," said Orit Markowitz, MD, board-certified dermatologist and director of Pigmented Lesions and Skin Cancer at Mount Sinai. "Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (two ingredients generally found to be safe and effective) that rest on top of the skin and deflect the sun's harmful photons of ultraviolet rays away from your skin."