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The Difference Between Chemical & Physical Sunscreens

First and foremost, What are Sunscreens? Sunscreens are products that contain ingredients that help to prevent harmful Rays from the Sun entering the skin, causing damage, these rays are known as Ultraviolet Radiation (UV Rays). Sunscreens are not created equal.


Jun 25, 2019 3:08:56 PM / by The Institute of Skin Science

First and foremost, What are Sunscreens?  Sunscreens are products that contain ingredients that help to prevent harmful Rays from the Sun entering the skin, causing damage, these rays are known as Ultraviolet Radiation (UV Rays). Sunscreens are not created equal. As per Skincancer.org, in order to provide enough protection using Sunscreens, you must use around 1oz (about a shot glass). It’s important to use a High Quality, Pharmaceutical grade Sunscreen to provide the best protection against UV Rays. Ultraviolet Radiation (UV Rays)   There are (3) forms of UV Rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC is the most harmful of them all but fortunately, our Ozone prevents these rays from reaching our bodies. The other (2) UV Rays do however reach through our Ozone and into our skin IF left unprotected.  UVA Rays are longer wavelengths and are able to penetrate through the epidermis and into the dermis. We often refer to UVA as our “Aging” Rays since they reach the dermis and begin breaking down collagen and elastin - two essential ingredients for keeping the skin youthful and plump.  UVB Rays are shorter wavelengths and penetrate the epidermis. We often refer to UVB as our “Burning” or “Pigmentation” Rays since they are responsible for creating a sunburn and activating our Melanocytes (an immune cell that creates pigment in the skin) How Sunscreens work  There are 2 official groups of Sunscreens: Chemical & Physical 

  1. Chemical Sunscreens (Organic) absorb into the skin and neutralize UV Rays 

  2. Physical Sunscreens (Inorganic) lay on the surface of the skin and reflect UV Rays

Examples of Chemical SunscreensExamples of Physical Sunscreens* Oxybenzone  * Avobenzone  * Octinoxate * Titanium Dioxide  * Zinc Oxide Chemical & Physical Sunscreens work together to prevent both UVA & UVB rays from penetrating the skin and creating damage. It’s important when selecting a Sunscreen that you look for products that contain BOTH Chemical and Physical Protectors. Some protectors only protect against UVA or UVB, leaving the skin exposed and susceptible to damage.   Chemical Protectors allow for even application and since they are absorbed they cannot be easily wiped off - allowing full protection. A combination of 2 or more Chemical Protectors create a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen and protects against both UVA & UVB Rays  Physical Protectors are fantastic for anyone who is sensitive and hardly creates a reaction on the skin unless an allergy is involved. The issue with just physical is that they are not absorbed into the skin, rather they sit on the surface, making it easy for them to be wiped off - leaving the skin unprotected.  GlyMed Plus recommended SPF- Pharmaceutical Grade - Professional Only 

  • Age Management Photo-Age Protection Cream

  • Age Management Photo-Age Environmental Protection Gel 15

  • Age Management Photo-Age Environmental Protection Gel 30+

  • Master Aesthetic Elite Photo-Age Sunscreen Cream 30+

If you have any questions and would like to speak to one of our friendly Master Aestheticians in your area please email support@glymedplusaustralia.com.au


The Difference Between Chemical & Physic
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Written by The Institute of Skin Science

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