Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen

As the sun is out, it’s time to think about the options we have available when it comes to sunscreen. We all know the importance of protecting our skin from the summer sun, and there’s nothing like having a baby to get you questioning things, so there’s no wonder lots of us start looking more closely at the labels on our sun protection products. But researching can be a drag, so let us fill you in on the key things to consider around this important subject.

You’re probably aware that there are two types of sunscreen on the market; mineral and chemical. There are a few differences between them, and each has pros and cons, so it really comes down to what you value personally. Thankfully, both types are effective in protecting our skin against the sun’s rays, so let’s consider the other points of difference...

Baby wearing mineral sunscreen received in a Mum & Me Subscription Box, tailored to mums with small children

How they work
The key difference between them is the way they protect you against the sun. Mineral sunscreens sit on the skin’s surface and create a physical barrier that reflects the light, whereas chemical sunscreens penetrate the top layers of the skin and absorb UV rays and disperse them as heat.

Let’s not beat around the bush, chemical sunscreens do get into your bloodstream so when thinking about using them on children or during pregnancy, you may decide against it. They also are more likely to cause allergic reactions on sensitive skin, making them less ideal for children and hormone sensitive pregnancy skin.

How quickly they work
A real perk of mineral sunscreens is that they get to work immediately, as they create a physical barrier between the skin and the sun. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, take between 20-30 minutes to be fully effective. You should also consider that mineral sunscreens can be applied over other products (i.e. make-up), whereas chemical sunscreens should be applied straight onto the skin to prevent a reduction in their effectiveness.

How long they last
As chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin, they tend to have better longevity. Mineral sunscreens can wash away with perspiration and water, so may need more frequent application.

How easy they are to use
Chemical sunscreens come in all different forms now and tend to absorb well and leave little trace. A definite downside of mineral sunscreens is their thickness, and some people don’t like the sheen they leave behind. Having said this, a real benefit of their colour and consistency is the ability to see where it’s been applied, making it less likely that you miss a spot; a real perk when creaming up your kids.

Environmental impact
There are studies that suggest some of the chemicals used in sunscreen negatively impact coral reefs, causing bleaching. Mineral sunscreens are considered to be safe for the environment, so as a bare minimum, it’s recommended to use them when swimming in the sea to avoid contributing to this environmental issue.

As is so often the case with natural products, they do tend to have a higher price point then their chemical based counterparts. It’s a shame, but the ingredients just cost more! We have been so lucky to be able to work with Weleda to give our subscribers the chance to try their mineral sunscreen, which is also vegan (something that isn’t easy to come by, as many mineral sunscreens contain beeswax).

August ecocobox containing mineral sunscreen, organic dry shampoo, natural soap, caffeine eye serum and a bamboo toothbrush. Example of a box you might receive as a subscriber.

Try for yourself!
You’ve probably guessed that in our opinion, mineral sunscreen is the way to go. If you’d like to give it a try, click here and grab yours today for £23...

Or, throughout August 2020, spend an extra £2 to sign up to our ecocobox subscription (using code SIZZLE), and get your full size Weleda mineral sunscreen PLUS an additional £25+ of products to try, including a fantastic organic Dry Shampoo, Caffeine Eye Serum, Soap and something else tailored just for you!

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