Mineral, Broad, or Chemical Sunscreen? (Plus a Pro Tip)


We carry sunscreen at Bellacara year-round. It’s a really important part of skincare, but unfortunately it’s usually not the most exciting one. Now that we’ve arrived at the end of May, it’s that time of year when people love to stock up, so it’s a good idea to evaluate what you’re using.

First, let’s review!

Mineral sunblock: This means it contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals act as reflectors, reflecting the UV right off of your beautiful face. Also known as physical sunblock, these literally block out the rays, making them by their very nature “broad spectrum.” Speaking of which…


Broad spectrum: Protects against UVA and UVB rays. Put simply, UVA are responsible for aging and sun allergies, and UVB are responsible for burning.

Chemical sunscreens: These take a few minutes to kick in, because they need some time to interact with your body. “Chemical filters” will filter and neutralize the damaging UV rays as they come to your skin. And lest we forget to answer one of the most common questions…

SPF: “Sun Protection Factor.” The SPF number actually only refers to its effectiveness on UVB rays, and regardless of number, you should be reapplying regularly. If you’re spending the day outside, a safe bet would be to reapply chemical screens about every 90 minutes, so they have time to kick in before the last round becomes ineffective. If you’re outside sweating or swimming, try to be mindful of reapplication even sooner.

clarins sunscreen stick

With so many different options for application, it’s a good idea to think about how you’re most likely to remember to use your sun care. There are spray on applicators, like the Coola Sport Sprays, which produce a fine mist. If you prefer a more portable option, Clarins makes a very handy little stick, about the size of a lip balm, which you can swipe wherever you need it — on noses, hands, or even kids.

If it turns out you’re a sunscreen traditionalist, liquids and creams are still overwhelmingly popular, and Skinceuticals makes some standout 100-percent mineral-face options. In the end, whether you like solid, liquid, or something in between for your sunscreen, the most important thing is that you use it. Trust us, your skin will thank you.


1 Comment

  1. Some great info. Particularly like the advice on “broad spectrum”. So many folks are unaware to make sure their sunscreen is broad spectrum. Without it you won’t get UVA protection, just UVB. So important. Thanks for sharing!

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