Understanding the Difference Between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreen


Using sunscreen is super important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. There are different types of sunscreens out there, so it's crucial to know what makes mineral and chemical sunscreens different and how they work to keep your skin safe. In this guide, we'll explain the main differences between these two kinds of sunscreens to help you choose the right one for your skin.

The FDA says 'two ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are proposed to be safe and effective for sunscreen use.' i.e Mineral Sunscreen.

What Makes Mineral Sunscreen Different from Chemical Sunscreen?

The sun can damage your skin when it sends out UV rays, which come in two types: UVA and UVB. UVB rays cause sunburns on the surface of your skin, while UVA rays go deeper and can cause wrinkles and aging signs. Being exposed to both UVA and UVB rays can also increase your chances of getting skin cancer.

Sunscreens protect your skin by blocking or reducing the amount of UV rays that reach your skin. They do this using active ingredients that fall into two groups: chemical or mineral (also called physical) UV filters.

Chemical UV filters absorb UV ray energy and then release it. In contrast, mineral UV filters not only soak up UV energy but also bounce it off and scatter it when it hits your skin.

What You Should Know About Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreen contains physical UV filters made from minerals. The most common minerals used are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These mineral UV filters create a kind of shield on your skin's surface that soaks up, bounces off, and scatters UV rays.

The Good Things About Mineral Sunscreen

  1. Forms a protective surface: Mineral sunscreen sets up a kind of shield on the outer layer of your skin, and very little of it goes deeper. This means it's less likely to get absorbed into living skin cells. That's great news for people with sensitive skin and for babies over six months old.

  2. Offers broad-spectrum protection: In Australia, sunscreens have to give you protection against both UVB and UVA rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do a good job at shielding you from UVB and some UVA rays, while zinc oxide also keeps you safe from the full UVA spectrum.

Other Things to Think About

Mineral sunscreen might feel a bit thick on your skin or leave a whitish look because it reflects light. But Aussenskin Sunflower SPF50 uses 25% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, to make this less noticeable, so it feels better on your skin.

Checking Out Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen has one or more chemical UV filters, and there are almost 30 of these approved for use in Australian sunscreens. These filters work by taking in UV ray energy and then releasing it as heat. They're different because they absorb different types of UV rays—some only handle UVB, some deal with part of the UVA spectrum, and others cover both UVB and all of UVA.

The Good Things About Chemical Sunscreen

  1. Offers broad-spectrum protection: Like we mentioned earlier, sunscreens in Australia have to keep you safe from both UVB and UVA rays. Chemical sunscreens either use special broad-spectrum UV filters or combine a couple of different chemical UV filters to do this.

  2. No whitish look: Chemical UV filters usually don't leave a white film on your skin because they don't reflect light like mineral sunscreen does.

Other Things to Think About Chemical

UV filters can get through the outer layer of your skin, which means they might come into contact with living skin cells in the epidermis. This could be a problem for people with sensitive skin, as it might cause irritation or allergies. Some chemical UV filters have been banned in Hawaii because they harm marine environments. Aussenskin's Sunflower SPF50 is Reef Safe.


What can we help you with? Here are all of your FAQs.

Mineral sunscreen contains physical UV filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that create a barrier on your skin and reflect UV rays. Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, has chemical UV filters that absorb and release UV energy as heat.

Mineral sunscreen is often better for sensitive skin because it forms a protective barrier on the skin's surface, reducing the likelihood of irritation compared to chemical sunscreens, which can be absorbed into the skin.

Some mineral sunscreens may leave a white film on the skin due to the light-reflecting properties of the mineral UV filters. However, many modern formulations, like Aussenskin Sunflower SPF50 Sunscreen, use 25% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide to minimise the white residue's appearance.

Both mineral and chemical sunscreens can be effective against UVA and UVB rays, but it depends on the specific ingredients used. Zinc oxide in mineral sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection, while chemical sunscreens may use combinations of filters to achieve broad-spectrum coverage.

Some chemical UV filters in sunscreens have raised concerns about their impact on marine environments. Certain chemicals have been banned in certain regions, like Hawaii, due to their potential harm to coral reefs and aquatic life. Mineral sunscreens are often considered a more eco-friendly option. Aussenskin's Sunflower SPF50 is Reef Safe.

Free returns

Returns within 30 days receive a full refund.

Worldwide shipping

Ship anywhere, rates available at checkout.

Helpful Support