Model using Rio Radiance SPF 50 Body Lotion

Mineral vs Non-Mineral SPF Products: Which Should You Choose?

In the world of SPF products, there’s an ongoing battle between which is better: mineral sunscreen vs chemical sunscreen. Not sure which to choose? We’re here to help you decide.


Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen.  

What Is Mineral Sunscreen? 

Mineral-based sunscreen, also known as physical sunscreen, stays on the skin's surface and deflects the sun’s harmful UV rays. It's a sunscreen with zinc oxide (or titanium dioxide) that contains small particles which sit on the skin to create a physical barrier. This barrier protects skin and causes UVA & UVB rays to bounce off it. While mineral SPF sunscreen is often referred to as sunblock, it’s important to know that no sunscreen can block out all UV rays.  

Benefits of Mineral Sunscreen 

Immediate Protection 

Slather on mineral SPF and go—it provides instant protection without the 15-30 minute delay you might have with chemical sunscreen. 

Better For Sensitive Skin 

Mineral sunscreen isn’t absorbed directly into skin, so it’s less likely to cause irritation. This makes it better for children and those with sensitive skin. 

Not Likely to Clog Pores 

Since it sits on the skin's surface rather than penetrating deeply, mineral sunscreen is less likely to clog pores and trigger breakouts. 

Considered Better for the Environment 

Octinoxate and oxybenzone (often found in chemical sunscreens) are linked to harmful reef bleaching, which endangers coral and fades its color. 


Chemical vs Mineral Sunscreen 

Unlike mineral sun cream, chemical sunscreens allow UV light to penetrate the skin. Ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone inactivate the absorbed UV rays and convert them into a small amount of heat, which evaporates from the skin.

Remember that a chemical sunscreen needs about 15-30 minutes to fully absorb into skin and works its magic, so plan ahead. And if you want protection from both UVA and UVB rays, choose a broad-spectrum chemical sunscreen 

Benefits of Chemical Sunscreen

More Water and Sweat Resistant 

Chemical sunscreen can be the go-to for people with active lifestyles and those who frequently spend time in the water. Because it’s absorbed into the skin, it tends to be more water and sweat-resistant. However, it does wear off more quickly and should be reapplied every few hours. 

Doesn’t Leave Streaks on the Skin 

Chemical sunscreen’s lightweight formula won’t leave a white film on your skin, unlike denser mineral sunscreens.  

Easier Application 

The thinner formula makes it easy to apply. Since it spreads well, you can use smaller amounts to cover large areas of skin.  

Often Mixed with Other Beneficial Ingredients 

Chemical sunscreen often contains ingredients like peptides, antioxidants, and enzymes, which offer additional skin-protective properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-skin aging. 


 Is Chemical Sunscreen Safe to Wear? 

Rest easy—there's no evidence to suggest that wearing either type of sunscreen is unsafe. The one you choose is based on preference and what’s most comfortable for your skin and lifestyle.

Some sunscreens contain chemicals that may irritate sensitive skin, especially for small children or those with conditions like eczema or rosacea. If this sounds like you, opt for a mineral sunscreen that doesn’t go beyond the skin's surface.  


Should I Apply Sunscreen Before or After Moisturizer? 

While it may seem like a matter of preference, knowing which to apply first impacts both your skin's hydration and your level of sun protection. The simple answer: Make SPF products the final step in your skincare routine.

Apply topical medications or prescriptions first, then moving to your serums and moisturizers. We recommend starting with our Delícia Drench(TM) Body Butter. It penetrates deep below the surface to lock in moisture and relieve extra dry skin. You may also love our best-selling Brazilian Bum Bum™ Cream for firmer-looking skin in the irresistible scent of pistachio, salted caramel, and vanilla. Browse our range of Brazilian-inspired Body Cream to find the best one for your skin needs. 


Choosing Your Perfect Sun Protection 

Choosing the perfect sunscreen isn't a one-size-fits-all decision—it's about what works best for your skin types and lifestyle.

Do you have sensitive skin that requires a gentler formula? Do you need an SPF that won't easily wash away while swimming? Start by considering your skin's needs and the different benefits mineral sunscreen vs chemical sunscreen offers. With this knowledge, you'll be well-equipped to select the best SPF product for you.