Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen

We have been told that we need to wear sunscreen daily to protect our skin from cancer and aging. We have been told that a mineral sunscreen is the best sunscreen option to select. However, do we really know what is a mineral sunscreen and how is it different from a chemical sunscreen? Let’s explore.


Definitions of Mineral Sunscreen and Chemical Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens, like those offered by My Day Screen®, protect the skin against damaging light by reflecting the rays away from the skin. They do not need to penetrate the skin to work. Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients. Active ingredients are the components of the formulation that are responsible for the treatment or effects for which the product was created. In the case of sunscreen, the active ingredients are the ingredients in the product that are responsible for the protection of skin against damaging light such as UVA, UVB or Blue Light.

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, must be absorbed into the skin to work. They absorb the UV rays, transform them into heat and release them from your skin. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Homosalate, and Octinoxate.

Pros and Cons of Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreens

Pros of Mineral Sunscreen

  • Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only two active sunscreen ingredients that the FDA has labeled GRASE or Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective.
  • Mineral sunscreens may be more reef-friendly than chemical sunscreens.
  • Mineral sunscreens offer protection quickly. The wearer does not need to wait until the sunscreen has been absorbed.
  • Mineral sunscreen be more tolerable to wearers with sensitive skin than chemical sunscreen. Zinc oxide has calming and healing properties.

The Cons of Mineral Sunscreen

  • Mineral sunscreen may leave a white residue on the skin. (Although My Day Screen® products have minimal whiteness.)

Pros of Chemical Sunscreen

  • Chemical sunscreens do not leave a white residue.

The Cons of Chemical Sunscreen

  • The FDA has not yet determined if the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are safe.
  • Because the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens must be absorbed into your skin to activate, these chemicals may seep into your bloodstream. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a recent study and found that six of the most common chemical active ingredients tested were absorbed into the body. Some continued to be elevated beyond the FDA’s threshold of concern for three weeks after the subjects in the study stopped using the sunscreen.1
  • The chemicals in chemical sunscreen may impact more than just the wearer’s body. A study published by a team of scientists, led by Dr. Margret Schlumpf of the University of Zurich, found trace amounts of at least one sunscreen chemical in the breast milk of 76.5 percent of the women they tested.²

Mineral Sunscreen is the Best Option for Safe Ingredients

If you are concerned about using safe ingredients on your skin, then mineral sunscreen is your best option. My Day Screen® offers safe, mineral sunscreen products. Our sunscreens are made with plant-based ingredients and no harsh chemicals. Not one of our ingredients carry a rating of 3 or higher on EWG’s Skin Deep scale. We use non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which is also safe for marine life.



  1. This study is referenced in the following article: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20200121/fda-skin-absorbs-dangerous-sunscreen-chemicals.  
  2. Margret Schlumpf*ab, Karin Kypkec , Claudia C. Vöktd, Monika Birchlerd, Stefan Durrerb, Oliver Faassb, Colin Ehnesb, Michaela Fuetschb, Catherine Gailleab, Manuel Henselerb, Luke Hofkampe , Kirsten Maerkelb, Sasha Reolonb, Armin Zenkerf , Barry Timmse , Jesus A. F. Tresguerresg , and Walter Lichtensteigerab, CHIMIA (Journal of Swiss Chemical Society) 2008, 62, No. 5,