Beauty, skincare
Comments 7

Switching to physical sunscreen

I had an appointment with a dermatologist last week about the pigmentation on my cheeks. It was quite educational. I learned few things about sunscreen. I thought it would be a good idea to share with you. Everyone needs sun protection. However, choosing the right sunscreen product can be confusing.

We probably all know there are two types of sunscreen product, physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.

Physical sunscreen

Physical sunscreen contains Zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is derived from mineral Zinc, and titanium dioxide is from titanium. Both have reflective particles to form a physical barrier to the sunlight. The down side is that the Zinc oxide does leave white residue on the skin. That’s why many people choose to use chemical sunscreen. However, the manufacturers are using new technology to micronise particles to reduce the white tint.

Physical sunscreen is not absorbed into the skin. It actually sits on the skin and reflects the sunlight. According to, the zinc oxide is better than the titanium dioxide because it covers full UVA and UVB range. It blocks more the longer portions of UVA rays (ageing). On the other hand, titanium dioxide is more effective for UVB rays (sunburn) and short UVA rays.

The best thing about physical sunscreen is that you do not need to reapply very often as long as you don’t go for a swim, sweat too much or rub your face every often.

Chemical sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen actually lets the skin absorb the UV lights. The problem is that some of the ingredients can be irritating. Not all the chemical ingredients are stable and can be broken down by the sunlight.

You must apply at least 20 minutes before you are exposed to the sun, and reapply every often. It does not leave white cast on the skin. However, I was stunned to find out that some of the chemical sunscreen ingredients actually make the pigmentation worse. I am pretty sure I used tons of chemical sunscreen over the  years.


After learning all these, I switched to physical sunscreen right away. The dermatologist also recommended two sunscreen products. He thinks they are the best in the market.

La Roche-Rosay Anthelios XL Cream SPF 50+ (contains Titanium Dioxide 4.15%)


Ego Sunsense sensitive invisible SPF 50+ (contains Zinc oxide 15%)



Well, it is really a personal choice. I am sure there are many good physical sunscreen products in the market. I just hope this post provides some useful information.


(Two sunscreen photos are from La Roche-Rosay and Ego Sunsense website.)


  1. Great comparisons of physical vs chemical! So many folks are unaware of the difference.

    We do physical / mineral sunscreens and one thing we like to add is no matter what sunscreen you choose, make sure to look for “Broad Spectrum” on the label. This means you’ll get UVB and UVA protection. Without it, no matter how high the SPF, you will only get UVB coverage. Important since both cause skin damage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. We really need to look at the label carefully before we purchase the sunscreen.


  2. Nice post! I’m usually okay with any sunscreen, but my husband has to use the ones for sensitive skin or he gets some rashes.. Always good to know what you are getting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Best of January | Favourites – GYPSYBUS28

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