What’s Better? Physical or Chemical Sunblock? And a Review of 5 Luxe Sunblocks Worth the $$$
You love being out in the sun. The sun as plenty of benefits, but what you can’t see can hurt you. The sun’s harmful rays are present 365 day a year. You are exposed even when it’s cloudy and cold. You get sun exposure through window glass. Even the light from your computer screen and infrared light can cause free radical damage and aging!
To protect your skin advicesisters.com offers a lot of information and sunblock reviews. *See our most recent feature: What are you Risking If You Sneer at Sunscreen? Learn about tje basics of sun protection and SPFs, plus interesting ways to protect your skin besides traditional sunblocks.
Choosing a sunblock basically boils down to the choice of SPF (sun protection factor) and whether or not that protection is delivered via a physical sunscreen or a chemical one. There are benefits to both types:
These have active mineral ingredients. Look for items such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. these work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin. They are often referred to as physical blockers.
Physical sunscreens offer broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) against the sun’s rays. They are good for people who may find chemical ingredients to be irritating to their skin. They may also be less likely to clog pores. However, they may drip ad run when your skin gets wet or sweaty (you have to re-apply them more often). Some physical ingredients can leave an ashy residue on skin, so they aren’t as good for deeper skin tones.
These contain organic (carbon-based) compounds. You will see ingredients very often in these such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. Chemical sunscreens work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin in a chemical reaction. They are often referred to as chemical or organic absorbers.
Chemical sunscreens won’t wear off as quickly as mineral sunblocks when wet or when you sweat, but you have to apply them 15-20 minutes before sun exposure. A benefit of chemical sunscreen is that their formulas allow the inclusion of other sorts of beauty treatment ingredients (E.g. peptides and enzymes). But some people are allergic to the chemical ingredients. Also, the higher the SPF the more likely the product might irritate sensitive skin.
Which Sunblock is Better: Chemical or Physical?
The best sunblock is the one you like well enough to use regularly. An ineffective sunblock is the one that sits unused or that you don’t use enough of, or re-apply in time!
Here are 5 Luxurious, High Tech, Multi-Tasking Sunblocks:
We review sunblocks at all price points. These are luxurious products that cost $45.00 or more. These are multi-taskers both physical and chemical that have benefits justifying the price:
A Physical Sunblock with Beautifying Benefits:
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Daily Tone correcting Primer SPF 50 (srp. $40.00 1.35 oz.) has an active physicial ingredient: 25% Titanium Dioxide. If you are allergic to chemical sunscreens, this is good news for you as this product is 100% mineral based. It is also suitable for sensitive skin, won’t clog pores, is fragrance and preservative-free. It has La Roche-Posay’s Cell-Ox Shield Technology (an optimized combination of UVA/UVB filters plus an antioxidant complex to help protect skin from free radicals ).
This products offers much more than sun protection. It has a medium deep tint in the tube, but once it is on your skin it smooths out imperfections and makes even bare skin look better. If you are looking for a product that multi-tasks to protect your skin and also help to conceal uneven skin tone, redness, dark spots, acne marks and melasma, you’ve just found one worth the cost. For more information Visit the La-Roche Posay Website
An Award-Wining Physical Sunblock That Feels Incredibly Lightweight:
PCA Skin Weightless Broad Spectrum SPF 45 ($42.00 2 f fl. oz.) is a luxury sunblock in a flip-top tube. It is one of the sunblocks that lets you apply makeup over it quickly and without feeling like you have a ton of product already on your face. If one of your objections to wearing a powerful SPF each day is that it feels “heavy,” this one is going to be your last excuse not to use sun protection.
As to the efficacy of the SPF 45, it was awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation. It has a mix of actives: 9% Zinc Oxide and 7.5% Octinoxate, plus Silybin – an antioxidant from the milk thistle plant and Caffeine, both antioxidants that protects the skin from UV damage. You can find PCA Skin products on various skincare websites but we suggest you visit the PCA Skin Website.
Three Multi-Tasking Beautifying SunBlocks that Give You Good Value:
A chemical Sunscreen in a handy spray is one we can’t help but love because it is clean, easy and portable. We think sprays actually cover better than what you can do with your hands, although some disagree. The Zo Skin Health by Zein Obagi MD Oclipse Sun Spray SPF 50 ($50.00 4 fl. oz.) is water and perspiration resistant up to 80 minutes, with a broad spectrum SPF protection featuring chemical actives of Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 10%.
Unlike a lot of spray formulas, you can (and should) use this one on your face, as it also has an exclusive 12-hour time released anti-aging benefit of Vitamins A, C and E. The unscented formula has a peppy spray top that locks.
A Physical Sunscreen, the Zo Skin Health Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 ($60.00 1 fl. oz.) has so much to commend it, the high cost can be justified. It features Titanium Dioxide 8.2%. And it is one of the silkiest and most luxurious sunblocks we’ve ever tried. The unscented lotion has a tint but in our test it was invisible on medium toned skin.
If that’s not enough, it protects you with SPF 30 and has Zo Skin Health’s exclusive 12-hour time-release antioxidant anti-aging complex. You can wear it on bare skin, but even better, use it under makeup to keep it looking smoother and lasting longer. The striking, shiny silver oxygen-free pump bottle has a recessed pump so it looks sleek and won’t leak making it worry-free for travel.
Perhaps the priciest sunblock we have tried to date is the Oclipse® Smart Tone SPF 50 but the multi-tasking, high tech benefits might be worth it to you. Consider: this a beauty treatment/makeup/sun protector multi-tasking, travel-friendly beaitu. so at $70.00 for a 1.5 fl. oz. tube the sticker shock may not shock you. First, the actives in this broad spectrum sunblock are avobenzone 3%, homosalate 10%, octisalate 5% and octocrylene 10%:
But there’s more! Fractionated melanin is designed to shield skin from HEV light,; Iron oxides and mica provide the pressure-release color system for customizable skin tone, Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate prevents pigmentation, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, ethyl ferulate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, disodium uridine phosphate, panthenyl triacetate, ethyl linoleate and tocopherol all help to provide DNA protection and encourage the repair of damaged DNA, Tocopheryl acetate, ascorbic acid, retinyl palmitate are the key ingredients in Zo Skin Health’s 12-hour time-release antioxidant complex, Petasites japonicus root extract and beta glucan: Provide anti-redness benefits, and Argania spinosa kernel oil aid in lipid repair.
Apply a dime size amount to clean skin and blend over face and neck. A hint of color will slowly develop as the product is applied (in our tests it took our skin tone up a half tone). Reapply at least every two hours. The unscented white cream is very rich and thick but feels nearly weightless on your skin. You need an amount only about the size of a dime (spread it evenly) On a casual day, this could be all you wear on your face. These products are available through Physicians and Dermatologists worldwide. For more information visit the Zo Skin Health Website