Sunscreen has been around for thousands of years. The earliest known use of sunscreen was in 3000 BC Egypt. At the time, they used physical ingredients such as lotus petals and rice bran to protect their skin.
Even aside from the risks of skin cancer and premature ageing, the dangers of the sun are obvious. Your skin gets darker and can develop a nasty burn as a result of overexposure. Hence why it was important to develop new and more effective ways to keep yourself protected.
As modern society made advancements in skin care products, chemical uv filter products became increasingly common. They all claim to sink into your skin while giving protection from UV rays. One of the ways to apply it is as a mist application, which has been touted as the new over the makeup SPF protection.
However, is a sunscreen spray as effective as other types of protection? And what's the difference between a chemical and a physical product?
Chemical vs Mineral Sunscreen
First of all, it's important to know the difference between a chemical sunscreen and a physical one. Although they both serve to protect your skin from UV rays, they operate very differently.
A chemical sunscreen absorbs into your skin and then subsequently absorbs UV rays. Those rays are converted into heat and released into the body. Due to their chemical makeup, they tend to give your skin a shiny appearance.
Physical sunscreens work by deflecting UV rays away from the skin. As such, this variety sits on top of your skin rather than absorbing into it. You can also expect it to look less shiny than a chemical sunscreen.
With that said, why would a person choose to use one over the other? The answer depends on whether or not you like the idea of a product going into your body rather than washing it off. Take a glance at the ingredients before you make a decision.
Physical sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and or titanium dioxide. These two minerals reflect and scatter UV rays.
They should be the only two active ingredients on a physical sunscreen product. You can have other ingredients as well, but those are often meant to stabilize the product and provide moisturising benefits.
As far as the FDA is concerned, both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two of the safest sunscreen ingredients. Your skin does not absorb them, so they don't interact negatively with it. They also wash off at the end of the day.
Chemical sunscreens use a combination of different chemicals to protect your skin from UV radiation. These ingredients include chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octisalate. However, many of these chemicals have gotten a negative reputation in recent years due to their questionable safety.
The main concerns are their ability to enter the blood stream & remain for extended periods of time, this coupled with endocrine & hormone disruption is a good reason to have caution. For example, oxybenzone can cause allergic skin reactions and possibly act as an endocrine disruptor. Octinoxate has been shown to cause hormone effects on the metabolic system of animals exposed to it.
As a result, many ingredients in chemical sunscreens have not been FDA approved due to a lack of sufficient data.
SPF Mist Application Problems
Go to any beach, and you're likely to see parents whipping out some kind of chemical SPF mist. It's quick, efficient, and you don't have to get your hands all greased up. Unfortunately, it's also not the most effective way to apply your skin protection.
Most people think you spray sunscreen on, and that's it. However, the main problem here is applying the correct dosage to the entire area. Quite often most people do not apply enough of the SPF mist for optimal protection.
There's also the issue of how much coverage you're getting with a single spray. Those sprayed droplets don't cover all of your skin. You need to spread it.
People who like to apply SPF with a moisturizer or makeup need to keep in mind what goes on first. Chemical sunscreens need to go onto bare skin before you put on other products. Although some products claim to work on top of makeup, their efficacy is questionable.
A physical sunscreen spray does work on top of other products, but you still have to remember to spread it well.
When in doubt, opt for a cream or lotion sunscreen. They avoid many of the problems you'll encounter with a sunscreen mist and force you to spread them over your skin. It's also easier to avoid applying too little product.
Alternative Sun Protection
It's important to protect your skin at all times from the sun, even if it's cloudy outside. If you can tell it's daytime, then you're still exposed to UV rays.
A chemical SPF mist doesn't provide the best protection from the sun. It's often misused, and the only way to get it to work well involves touching it, which defeats the purpose. Physical sunscreen spray works better, but some of the same issues still apply.
Clothing such as long sleeves and pants offer natural protection from the sun. If your skin isn't in direct contact with UV rays, then it won't be affected as much.
You can also find SPF protection in various products, such as hair creams, lip balms, and moisturizers. They may not work as effectively as sunscreen, but they're better than nothing.
Nay to the Chemical SPF Mist
Chemical SPF mist is one of the many different types of products that claim to protect consumers from the sun's rays. However, chemical sunscreen ingredients don't have a great track record, and sprays are often the least effective application method.
Your best option will be a 100% mineral product, like our Super Sun SPF50 moisturiser. Sunny Skin is dedicated to providing the world's most naturally sourced sunscreen and skincare.