Sunscreen products can generally be divided into two categories: physical and chemical. Chemical sunscreens use chemicals to directly absorb UV rays and can create light or even colorless sunscreen, but high chemical concentrations are more likely to cause skin allergies. Physical sunscreens use reflection or scattering of UV rays to block the sun, similar to opaque substances, but they have the drawback of appearing white and being easily removed after application.
Currently, most sunscreens on the market are a combination of physical and chemical ingredients. Here are the names of common sunscreen ingredients:
Chemical sunscreens: Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) = UV absorber Benzoate-4 = UV absorber Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane = Parsol 1789 class Cinoxate = sunscreen Dioxybenzone = benzophenone Homosalate = methyl salicylate Mexoryl SX = photostable UV filter Methyl Anthranilate = aminobenzoic acid methyl ester Octocrylene = sunscreen Oxybenzone = Parsol 1789 class Octyl Salicylate = salicylate class Octyl Methoxycinnamate = cinnamate class Octyl Dimethyl PABA = PABA Padimate O = 2-ethylhexyl 4-dimethylaminobenzoate Para Amino Benzoic Acid (PABA) = PABA Phenybenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid = sunscreen Roxadimate = sunscreen Sulisobenzone = sunscreen Trolamine Salicylate = sunscreen
Physical sunscreens: Micronized Titanium Dioxide = micronized titanium dioxide Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) = titanium dioxide Zinc Oxide (ZnO) = zinc oxide Zirconium Oxide = zirconium oxide
Octyl Dimethyl PABA (PABA) and Para Amino Benzoic Acid (PABA) are ingredients to be aware of, as they can cause sensitivity and release carcinogenic nitrosamine. Helioplex, advertised on TV, is a combination of avobenzone and oxybenzone. Mineral sunscreen powder is a pure physical sunscreen. Readers should learn more about sunscreen ingredients, and those with sensitive skin or rosacea should be especially careful and pay attention to the relevant ingredients in their sunscreen products. While sunscreen is effective in preventing UV damage to the skin, it’s important to choose carefully to avoid unknowingly damaging your skin.