Back to Basics: The Physical VS Chemical Sunscreen Debate

Welcome to MOTHER AUS SPF’s blog! We’re excited that you’re here. It’s new, so we’re still figuring out what kind of content you, our hopefully loyal customer wants to read about, but mostly we’re in the business of education and information, on all things SPF. For our first post, we want to get back to basics, and explain the difference between Physical and Chemical SPF’s. It can get confusing out there, figuring out what’s best for you. Which is why making informed decisions is a BASIC, VERY IMPORTANT human right – and we want to help facilitate! Look/deliberate no further while we guide you in the right direction.

What is a physical sunscreen?

Put simply: Physical sunscreens protect the skin by creating a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. As name would suggest, physical sunscreens don't absorb into the skin, they sit on the on the surface and block pollutants, environmental factors, UVA, and UVB rays from penetrating the skin. They are naturally broad spectrum because of this, and great for protecting the skin from not only the sun, but the free radicals that cause ageing. Yay for double points!

The two most common physical sunscreen ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. MOTHER AUS SPF is formulated with Zinc oxide, as Titanium Dioxide has been linked to harmful environmental and health effects (a topic for another blog post, perhaps.), meaning our use of Zinc Oxide is super safe for all. Those with sensitive skin, eczema, pigmentation, babies, you name it, you can use MOTHER AUS SPF on it.

The pros of physical sunscreen look like this:

  • Broad spectrum to protect you from UVA and UVB rays.
  • Suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive.
  • More moisturizing and soothing.
  • Protects against anti-ageing.
  • Has light-reflecting qualities, so will make you real glowy.

What is a chemical sunscreen?

Slightly more complicated on the chemical sunscreen front.  The chemicals in chemical sunscreen absorb the sun’s UV rays and heat. Then, through a chemical reaction, the sunscreen dissipates the UV rays. This means that your skin is protected because the UV rays never actually hit your body.

They are riskier, because before these chemicals can offer any UV protection, your skin has to absorb them. This can cause irritation and discomfort, especially for those with sensitive skin. There have also been health concerns linked, given that they are petrochemical-based and have been found to be endocrine disruptors, interfere with hormones, damaging to the thyroid and can cause allergic skin reactions. Which is a huge yikes to us, and one of the reasons we made a promise to never include chemical UV filters in our products.

We’re not in the business of fear mongering or sunscreen shaming – not with so much negativity in the world already! Everyone is free to go for their lives down any route they choose, we only believe it’s your right to know in order to make informed decisions. One of our biggest missions through MOTHER AUS SPF is to provide the education and information that we wish we’d had so many years ago around the importance of sunscreen and choosing the right one for you, which is why we’re doing THE MOST over here, don’t mind us, we just hope to see you on the journey with us. We’ve done all the hard yards to ensure MOTHER AUS SPF ticks all the boxes we want and need in a sunscreen, but our mission is simple: to bring you a safe and stress free option that is trusted, effective, and the MOTHER of all SPFs.

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