beautiful you
Back to After 50 Home Page


Decisions, decisions, decisions! For decades, your local pharmacies, big box stores, and grocery aisles have offered many brands of the same option for sun damage protection. You would be hard pressed to visit any of these stores to find a physical sunscreen. With articles such as this, many have learned the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens that are available.

This article will help you choose which type is best for you. Finding a physical sunscreen formula is best found in a skin care clinic or at your doctor’s office. For years, most people have been using the chemical sunscreen formulations because they are in abundance at most stores and may be less expensive.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, both UVA and UVB rays play a large part in the development of cancer, damage to the eyes, and increased suppression of the immune system, which reduces the ability to fight off infection. No matter which type of sunscreen formulation you choose, please protect yourself and your immune system no matter what your age.

CHEMICAL sunscreen is a product that contains FDA-approved chemicals. These form a thin layer on the skin to absorb ultraviolet radiation before it can do its damage. They turn UVA and UVB radiation from the sun into heat atop the skin, which keeps the rays from penetrating the skin. This type of sunscreen is what is usually used all over the body and requires frequent reapplication. These also absorb into layers of skin and some are thought to be harmful. When using chemical sun protection, these need to be applied 20–30 minutes before exposing yourself to the sun.

PHYSICAL sunscreen is a product containing insoluble particles such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are not chemicals, but natural minerals. These finely ground minerals actually reflect UV radiation away from the skin. This form of sun protection does not absorb the light rays or penetrate the skin but reflects them so the effect is immediate. There is no waiting 20–30 minutes before going into the sun. Physical sunscreens are available in lotions, creams, and makeup foundations as well as in mineral makeup powders. We also have products that contain both chemical and physical sunscreens that are ideal for most skins.

Lip balms and lipsticks also are available with SPF protection. Sun protection is also available with window tints for cars and homes. Long sleeve clothing and specific fabrics tout being another form of sun protection. If making choices for your facial sun protection is confusing, contact the writer or your esthetician for your sun protection needs.

DESIRED IMAGE SKIN CARE CLINIC – 871 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst, NY 14226 (716)-834-1123


By Brenda Romanow

Brenda Romanow is the owner of Desired Image Skin Care Clinic, a Buffalo based business of over 22 years. Brenda has been in education for over 10 years for the New York State Education Committee for esthetics and is also a New York State examiner for esthetics. She started teaching in several school’s continuing education class on subjects such as Anti-Aging, Personal Image, Makeup application as well as Cosmetic Ingredients (what’s in a jar). 834-1123.