There are two types of SPF - are you wearing the right one?

Not everyone is aware that there are actually two different types of SPF. So, let's talk about how to choose the right one for you.

We were at a talk by The Skin Nerd at the beauty trade show last week and she was talking about skin hacks. Now if you know anything about The Skin Nerd you will know she is a huge advocate of SPF. She spoke about SPF and we were schooled on the topic. She always discusses it because it is such a vital part of everybody's skincare regimen, and one thing in particular resonated with us. Jennifer said we should think of SPF not as sun protection but as light protection. We need it all year round, in winter as much as in summer.

The harmful rays of the sun are not just the ones that we can see and feel burning us. These ones that we see the physical signs of are the UVB rays but the UVA ones we don't see are just as harmful. UVA rays are present all the time. When there is light, these rays are present. They penetrate even the deeper layers of the skin and cause our skin to age and wrinkle. You know what to do, get the sunscreen out people and keep it out all year round.

On to sunscreen fact number 2: there are actually two types of sunscreen: chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen. The basic difference is that chemical sunscreen will sink into your skin and has active ingredients designed to absorb UV rays. Mineral sunscreen sits on top of the skin. They use ingredients like Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide to reflect UV rays away from the skin. Both are very effective at keeping your skin safe, but why would you choose one over the other?

Mineral Sunscreen vs Chemical Sunscreen

You might prefer to choose a mineral sunscreen if you have sensitive skin, if you are prone to acne/spots or if you are prone to Rosacea and redness. Mineral sunscreen doesn't sink into your skin so it's less likely to irritate sensitive skin. It deflects heat away from your skin so if you are prone to redness aggravated by heat this is a good option. It also won't clog pores as much as chemical sunscreens which is good for congested skin.

However, because mineral sunscreens tend to sit on top your skin they are often not great to use under makeup. You will need less product from a chemical sunscreen as it spreads thinner to cover the surface area of your skin. Chemical sunscreens will usually have other skin nourishing ingredients added to them so they are a more luxurious option. They can also give more comfort to dry or dehydrated skin.


Uriage is a French skincare brand much like La Roche Posay but with even more skin-conditoning earth minerals in the products. They have both chemical and mineral sunscreens to choose from with the added benefits of thermal waters.

two types of sunscreen mineral

Uriage Bariesun 50+ Mineral Cream €17.19


two types of sunscreen chemical bariesun cream

Uriage Bariesun 50+ Fragrance Free Cream €18.39

Do you apply sunscreen religiously every day?

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