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10 Different Types of Sunscreen

Does your product line offer optimal sun protection? Understanding different sunscreen types is essential for effective skincare solutions.

This list was curated through comprehensive research, including product analysis and feedback from industry professionals, ensuring every recommendation stands up to professional study.

Here’s a glimpse at 2 popular types of sunscreens you’ll learn more about:

  • Chemical Sunscreens
  • Physical (Mineral) Sunscreens

In this guide, we will detail the benefits and applications of each sunscreen type, helping you to refine your product offerings and meet diverse client needs.

Keep reading to learn more!

1. Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens are formulations that absorb UV radiation through their chemical ingredients, preventing it from penetrating the skin. Unlike physical blockers that reflect UV rays, these sunscreens convert UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin. Here are the features that set chemical sunscreens apart:

  • UV Ray Absorption: Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. These ingredients absorb UV radiation and transform it into harmless heat.
  • Lightweight Texture: The formulations are usually lighter and more transparent on the skin than mineral sunscreens. This makes them ideal for daily use under makeup or on their own.
  • Ease of Application: They spread easily over the skin without leaving a white residue, which makes application effortless and appealing for regular use.
  • Fast Acting: Once applied, chemical sunscreens begin to protect the skin almost immediately. There’s no need to wait for the product to start working, which is great for on-the-go application.

And the best part is, these sunscreens are often preferred for water-resistant formulas, making them excellent choices for swimmers and athletes who require long-lasting sun protection.

2. Physical (Mineral) Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, act as a shield by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting away UV radiation. These sunscreens use active mineral ingredients, typically zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which do not penetrate the skin but rather provide a surface barrier. Here are the distinct features of physical sunscreens:

  • Broad Spectrum Protection: Mineral sunscreens from TY Cosmetics offer broad-spectrum coverage, effectively blocking both UVA and UVB rays. This complete protection helps prevent sunburn, premature aging, and long-term sun damage.
  • Suitable for Sensitive Skin: Since they do not absorb into the skin but instead sit on its surface, physical sunscreens are less likely to cause skin irritation. This makes them ideal for people with sensitive skin or conditions like rosacea.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Physical sunscreens are often favored for their minimal environmental impact, particularly because they lack chemicals that can harm marine life. This aspect makes them a preferred choice for eco-conscious consumers.
  • Resistant to Water and Sweat: They tend to be more resistant to water and sweat compared to chemical varieties. This resistance makes them excellent for extended outdoor activities, providing lasting protection without frequent reapplication.

Physical sunscreens also provide a mattifying effect on the skin, which can be beneficial for those with oily or breakout-prone skin types, reducing shine and contributing to a smoother appearance. Amazing right?

3. Hybrid Sunscreens

Hybrid sunscreens combine the benefits of both chemical and physical sunscreens, providing comprehensive protection with a blend of active ingredients. These sunscreens utilize both organic and inorganic filters to protect skin from UV radiation, offering a balanced approach to sun defense. Here are some of the key features of hybrid sunscreens:

  • Less Whitening: While traditional physical sunscreens may leave a white cast, the inclusion of chemical components in hybrid formulas reduces this effect. They are more transparent on the skin, making them suitable for all skin tones.
  • Enhanced Stability: The combination of ingredients can help stabilize UV filters, enhancing the effectiveness of the sunscreen. This results in longer-lasting protection under sun exposure.
  • Lower Risk of Irritation: The careful formulation of hybrid sunscreens can reduce the risk of irritation often associated with purely chemical sunscreens, making them suitable for more sensitive skin types.
  • Versatility in Use: These sunscreens are versatile and can be formulated to meet various consumer needs, including water resistance, anti-aging properties, and added moisturizers.

But that’s not all, the versatility of hybrid sunscreens makes them a top choice for those seeking comprehensive sun protection without having to compromise on cosmetic elegance or comfort.

4. Broad-Spectrum Sunscreens

Broad-spectrum sunscreens are designed to protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays, offering a complete shield against the sun’s harmful effects. These sunscreens meet specific standards set by health authorities to ensure they effectively block out both types of ultraviolet radiation. Here are the key features that make broad-spectrum sunscreens a critical choice:

  • Comprehensive UV Protection: Broad-spectrum formulas are tested and proven to absorb or deflect UVA rays, which are known to accelerate skin aging, as well as UVB rays, which are primarily responsible for sunburn. This dual protection helps to prevent skin damage and the risk of skin cancer.
  • Anti-Aging Benefits: By blocking UVA rays, which can penetrate deeply into the skin, these sunscreens help prevent long-term damage such as wrinkles, sagging, and age spots.
  • Suitable for All Skin Types: These sunscreens come in various formulations to cater to different skin types and preferences, from oily to dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin.
  • Foundation for Daily Skin Care: As a matter of fact,dermatologists recommend making broad-spectrum sunscreen a staple in daily skincare routines, not just for beach days or summer outings.

Incorporating broad-spectrum sunscreen into daily regimen can act as the skin’s personal bodyguard against the sun’s relentless rays, helping to preserve its health and vitality over time.

5. Water-Resistant Sunscreens

Water-resistant sunscreens are formulated to maintain their SPF protection even after exposure to water or sweat. These products undergo specific testing to ensure they retain their effectiveness for a certain period of time while swimming or sweating. Here are the notable features of water-resistant sunscreens:

  • Durable Protection: Water-resistant sunscreens are designed to stay effective for a specific period of time while in water, typically either 40 or 80 minutes, as labeled on the product.
  • Suitable for Active Lifestyles: Ideal for swimmers, athletes, and outdoor enthusiasts, these sunscreens stay on the skin longer despite perspiration or water immersion.
  • Enhanced Formulation: Often enriched with hydrating ingredients, they help combat the drying effects of saltwater and chlorine on the skin during water activities.
  • Less Frequent Reapplication: Because of their staying power, there’s less need to reapply as frequently as with regular sunscreens, making them more convenient for continuous exposure.

Here’s a table highlighting the benefits of sunscreens with enhanced staying power, reducing the need for frequent reapplication:

Enhanced Staying PowerSunscreens formulated to maintain efficacy longer, even under conditions like swimming or sweating.Provides continuous UV protection without the need for frequent reapplication.
ConvenienceIdeal for long outdoor activities, these sunscreens allow for uninterrupted enjoyment or work.Reduces interruptions and the hassle of reapplying sunscreen frequently.
Water and Sweat ResistanceFormulations that resist being washed off by water or sweat.Ensures protection during aquatic activities or intense physical efforts.
Cost-EffectivenessLess product used over time due to reduced need for reapplication.Offers better value as less sunscreen is required per exposure session.
Suitability for Active LifestylesEspecially beneficial for individuals engaged in prolonged outdoor sports or activities.Matches the needs of users with active or outdoor-oriented lifestyles.

And on top of that with water-resistant sunscreens, anyone can enjoy water activities and sweaty workouts without sacrificing sun protection!

6. Spray Sunscreens

Spray sunscreens offer a convenient and quick way to apply sun protection with a lightweight, often cooling formula. These aerosol or pump bottles dispense sunscreen as a fine mist, covering large areas of skin without the need for extensive rubbing. Here are the key features that make spray sunscreens popular:

  • Ease of Application: Spray formulas allow for rapid, even application, especially useful for reaching hard-to-touch areas like the back. This method saves time and ensures more consistent coverage.
  • Quick Absorption: Most spray sunscreens absorb quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy or sticky residue. They’re ideal for quick reapplication, even on the go.
  • Lightweight Feel: They typically have a lighter feel on the skin compared to creams or lotions, making them comfortable for everyday use and less likely to clog pores.
  • Portability: Their compact and leak-proof packaging makes them ideal for on-the-go use, easily fitting into beach bags, purses, or sports kits.

But wait, there’s more, these sunscreens not only simplify sun protection but also enhance the enjoyment of applying it, ensuring no spot is missed during those sunny days out!

7. Gel Sunscreens

Gel sunscreens are favored for their lightweight and non-greasy texture, making them particularly appealing for those with oily or acne-prone skin. These sunscreens absorb quickly, providing efficient sun protection without clogging pores or leaving a heavy residue. Here are the standout features of gel sunscreens:

  • Ideal for Hairy Areas: Their clear, non-sticky texture is perfect for applying over hair-covered areas like for example on the scalp or chest, avoiding the messiness associated with creams and lotions.
  • Non-Comedogenic Formula: Their light formulation is less likely to cause breakouts, as they do not clog pores like some cream-based sunscreens can.
  • Cooling Effect: Gel formulations often provide a cooling sensation upon application, which is refreshing, especially on hot days.
  • Alcohol-Based Options: Some gel sunscreens contain alcohol, which helps them dry quickly and feel weightless on the skin, enhancing comfort during wear.

Additionally, gel sunscreens not only protect the skin from the sun’s rays but also boost comfort with their quick-drying and cooling properties, making them a superb choice for active, sunny days.

8. Stick Sunscreens

Stick sunscreens offer a solid, mess-free application, making them a favorite for quick and targeted protection. With growing demand, their popularity is on the rise. According to LinkedIn, they are expected to see significant growth by 2031. Here are the standout features of stick sunscreens and why they are becoming increasingly popular:

  • Less Eye Irritation: The waxy texture means it’s less likely to drip into the eyes, which can be a common issue with liquid sunscreens, particularly during sweating or water activities.
  • Hygienic: Since they can be applied directly from the stick without needing to be spread with the hands, they offer a more hygienic solution, reducing the transfer of bacteria or dirt.
  • No-Mess Application: Here’s the interesting part, the solid form of it means no drips or spills, which is perfect for quick touch-ups on the go, even with sandy hands or when fully dressed.
  • Compact and Travel-Friendly: Their small size and solid state make them easy to pack without risk of leakage, fitting perfectly in any bag or pocket.

Stick sunscreens make reapplying sunscreen not only effortless but also a bit more fun, ensuring that no area goes unprotected under the sun’s rays.

9. Tinted Sunscreens

Tinted sunscreens combine sun protection with a touch of color to even out skin tone and enhance appearance. These products are formulated with pigments that blend seamlessly with various skin tones, offering both UV protection and cosmetic benefits. Here are the features that make tinted sunscreens a versatile choice:

  • Universal Skin Match: They often come in a range of shades to suit different skin colors, ensuring a natural, flawless look without the heaviness of makeup.
  • Enhanced Skin Protection: The pigment in tinted sunscreens helps to increase protection against visible light, particularly helpful for those with sensitive skin or conditions like melasma.
  • Antioxidant Enrichment: Tinted sunscreens from TY Cosmetics are enriched with antioxidants like vitamins C and E, which offer additional protection against environmental damage.
  • Cosmetic Appeal: Tinted sunscreens provide a natural, lightweight coverage that can substitute for foundation, giving the skin a smooth, even complexion.

And I’m not stopping there, tinted sunscreens not only protect the skin but also enhance its appearance, making them a perfect choice for those who value efficiency and beauty in their skincare products.

10. Sunscreen Powders

Sunscreen powders are an innovative form of sun protection that comes in a powdered format, making them an exceptional choice for reapplication over makeup. They offer a convenient and mess-free way to apply SPF and are typically applied using a brush. Here are the features that make sunscreen powders stand out:

  • Convenient Reapplication: Sunscreen powders are perfect for touch-ups throughout the day, especially over makeup, without disrupting the underlying products.
  • Non-Greasy Texture: Unlike creams and lotions, sunscreen powders leave a matte finish, reducing shine and providing a light, breathable layer of protection.
  • Portable and Mess-Free: The compact nature of sunscreen powders makes them easy to carry on like for example in purse or pocket. They are mess-free, with no risk of leakage or spillage.
  • Physical UV Filters: Most sunscreen powders contain mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which provide physical UV protection without chemical absorbers.

Sunscreen powders not only streamline the process of applying sun protection but also enhance the skin’s look and feel throughout the day. How awesome is that?

Dive Deeper Into Our Resources

Looking for more diverse service options? Browse through our handpicked selections:

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re available around the clock to assist you.

TY Cosmetic: Your Premier Choice for Diverse Sunscreen Options

Selecting the right sunscreen can significantly impact your skincare brand. Here are the key advantages of partnering with TY Cosmetic:

  • Custom Formulation Services: TY Cosmetic offers bespoke formulation services that enable you to create sunscreens tailored to your brand’s unique needs. We work closely with you to ensure that each product meets your specifications and customer expectations.
  • Advanced UV Protection: Our products are designed to offer broad-spectrum protection, using the latest in UV filter technology. This ensures that your sunscreens provide maximum safety against both UVA and UVB rays, enhancing consumer trust in your brand.
  • Skin Health Focus: At TY Cosmetic, we prioritize skin health by incorporating skin-nourishing ingredients into our sunscreens. This approach helps improve skin condition while protecting it, adding value to your product lineup.
  • Rigorous Quality Testing: We maintain the highest standards of quality control to ensure that every batch of sunscreen meets rigorous safety and efficacy criteria. This commitment to quality helps safeguard your brand reputation.
  • Sustainability Commitment: Understanding the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products, TY Cosmetic emphasizes sustainable practices in manufacturing and packaging, helping your brand appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

If you’re looking to elevate your brand with high-quality sunscreens, TY Cosmetic is your ideal partner. Contact us today to see how we can help you meet the needs of your customers with products they can trust.

Hi, I'm Sunny Zheng, hope you like this blog post.

With more than 10 years of experience in OEM/ODM/Private Label Cosmetics, I'd love to share with you the valuable knowledge related to cosmetics & skincare products from a top-tier Chinese supplier's perspective.

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