Each of these protects your skin differently and contains different active ingredients.
Chemical sunscreens: These sunscreens work as a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays. Look for one or more of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. This formulation tends to be easier to rub into the skin without leaving a white residue.
Physical sunscreens: These sunscreens work like a shield; They sit on the surface of your skin, deflecting the sun’s rays. Look for the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Opt for this sunscreen if you have sensitive skin, for children below 2 years old and for pregnant women. Some sunscreens use both types of active ingredients, so they contain one or more active ingredient found in physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen. If you have concerns about certain sunscreen ingredients, use the information above to choose an alternative that works for you. As long as it’s broad-spectrum, water-resistant and has an SPF 30 or higher, it can effectively protect you from the sun. Make sure you reapply it every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.