Physical Vs Chemical: Everything You Need To Know About The Different Types Of Sunscreen

sunscreen types

Image courtesy - Unsplash

Sunscreen is the be-all and end-all of skincare. It is literally the ultimate step in your routine, that if missed, will render all the other steps ineffective. While various types of sunscreens have been given importance for aeons now, it was only up until a few years ago that people started taking it seriously. And with that came a barrage of options for consumers to choose from and the different sunscreen types. But why is it so important? Think of a sunscreen as a shield that creates a protective layer on your face –– it bounces off the sun’s harmful UV rays and prevents it from penetrating into the layers of your skin. Exposure to UV rays causes a plethora of problems –– it speeds up ageing, damages your collagen, leaves you with dark spots and pigmentation, and worst of all, can lead to skin cancer. Scroll down to see the best types of sunscreens and which one you should pick to meet your sunny needs!


Different Types Of Sunscreen


When it comes to picking sunscreens, you need to understand your needs and requirements before picking one that suits you. Depending on your skin type, concern, and expected outcome, here are the types of sunscreen for face that you can choose from. 


Physical Or Mineral Sunscreen


This is your classic sunscreen –– that one skincare product that has been a go-to ever since your childhood. Physical sunscreens often contain two main ingredients that are FDA approved –– zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. This particular type of sunscreen works in such a way that it creates a barrier over the surface of your skin. The UV rays then bounce off and scatter away, preventing them from entering your skin. The reason why they’re called ‘physical’ is that they physically keep the rays away from your skin. 


Pros of Mineral Sunscreen

  • Skin and the environment are both protected.

  • Aids in the treatment of sensitive skin.


Cons of Mineral Sunscreen

  • Many of them leave a white cast.

MyGlamm Recommends - MyGlamm Superfoods Kiwi & Coconut Sunscreen

A rich mix of vitamin C extracts, this broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion is one of the most amazing sunscreen types loaded with the goodness of kiwi and coconut. The formula helps restore your skin’s elasticity and also prevents premature ageing. The coconut in the lotion is a refresher for dry skin and instantly hydrates it. It is a water-resistant sunscreen filled with the goodness of vitamin E, which means bye-bye irritated sunkissed skin.

MyGlamm Recommends - Manish Malhotra Sandalwood SPF 25 Gel

A deeply nourishing SPF 25 sunscreen gel that instantly hydrates your skin. Formulated with sandalwood, the gel helps keep infections at bay while protecting the skin from any sun damage. It immediately brightens dull skin and its antiseptic properties help heal and soothe it too.

Chemical Sunscreen


These sunscreens on the other hand include organic compounds. They are absorbed into the skin (unlike physical sunscreens) and the active ingredients present in them create a chemical reaction that converts those UV rays into heat and block it from harming the skin. Chemical sunscreens go deep into the skin to fight off any of the damages of the sun’s rays.

Pros of Chemical Sunscreen

  • Easier to formulate with and more sensory appealing.


Cons of Chemical Sunscreen

  • Some have been shown to cause coral bleaching.

  • Absorbs deeper into the skin and may contain allergens

Which sunscreen is right for you?

Everybody has different skin types. In that regard, you need to know the sunscreen types ideal for your skin type, colour, and preference. Let’s know which sunscreen is right for you!


  • Sensitive skin type: Those with sensitive skin types should opt for mineral/physical sunscreen as those contain mild ingredients. 

  • Dark skin: Those with dark skin colour should opt for chemical sunscreen as they don’t leave a white cast.

  • Oily skin type: Make sure your sunscreen is labelled as ‘comedogenic’ which means it does not block pores.

  • For dry skin: Look for hydrating sunscreens with nourishing ingredients.


To measure the level of SPF of the sunscreen, below we have certain guidelines:

  • For outdoor, opt for a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.

  • For indoors, opt for a sunscreen with an SPF between 15-20 numbers and not more than that.

MyGlamm Recommends:

St.Botanica Vitamin C Dry Touch Sunscreen

Enriched with the goodness of Vitamin C, this sunscreen keeps the skin hydrated, and nourished, gives a dry matte-like finish, and protects the skin from harsh UV rays.


₹ 639

Buy here!


Organic Harvest Sunscreen Oily/Acne Skin - SPF 60

Organic Harvest Sunscreen Oily/Acne Skin

This sunscreen has blue light technology that gives a broad spectrum of protection to the skin, leaves a non-greasy feel, and keeps the skin hydrated.


₹ 381

Buy here!


Organic Harvest Sunscreen with SPF 60

Organic Harvest Sunscreen with SPF 60

looking for a quick-absorbing formula and non-greasy sunscreen? Here it is for you. This sunscreen is ideal for all skin types protecting the skin from sun damage and keeping the skin nourished.

₹ 522

Buy here!


St.Botanica Nature’s Vitamin C Brightening Sunscreen SPF 50

St.Botanica Nature’s Vitamin C Brightening Sunscreen SPF 50

The St.Botanica’s Nature Vitamin C Brightening sunscreen SPF 50 has feel-good ingredients which protect the skin from tanning, and sunburn, minimize premature ageing and promote hydrated skin.


₹ 599

Buy here!


St. Botanica Vitamin C SPF 50 Sunblock Face & Body Mist Sunscreen

St. Botanica Vitamin C SPF 50 Sunblock Face & Body Mist Sunscreen


Which type of sunscreen is best?

The best sunscreen type is the one that suits your skin and functions best as per your requirements

How do I know if my sunscreen is chemical or mineral?

It is a physical sunscreen if the two main constituents are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens are those containing the ingredients avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, tinosorb, etc.

 How often should I apply sunscreen?

Every two hours is the ideal time to reapply sunscreen when you are outside the home.

Related Stories


How to Apply About Sunscreen - Why are sunscreens so important? Find out how these marvellous skincare products work and why they are given so much significance.


5 Things To Look For Before You Buy Sunscreen - Looking to purchase a new sunscreen? Here’s what you need to keep in mind before you buy one.


9 Spots You Cannot Ignore While Applying Sunscreen - Sunscreen is meant for your entire body and just not your face. Here are a few spots you should make sure you apply your sunscreen.


Home Remedies For Sunburn - If you’ve had too much fun in the sun and are now facing the consequences, fret not! These home remedies for sunburns are perfect when you want to cool, soothe, and calm down that sun-kissed skin. 



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest