What is the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens?

What are the different types of sunscreen? 

Sunscreens can be split broadly into two types: physical/ mineral sunscreens, and organic/ chemical sunscreens.

Organic sunscreens work by a chemical reaction, converting ultraviolet energy into heat, which is then released from the body. Physical or mineral sunscreens work by reflection and scattering. Recently, it’s also been found that mineral sunscreens have similar action to chemical sunscreens, in that they also have a chemical reaction and release heat, too. Also, there are now some innovative sunscreens, such as Tinosorb A2B, which is in the Altruist suncreams, which does both reflection and scattering and is what’s known as a micronized filter. This is the most efficient filter on the market.

Which sunscreen should I use?

The best sunscreens have a combination of both organic and physical filters, and therefore can have better spread of UVA and UVB protection right across the UV spectrum. Physical sunscreens often don’t have as good UVA protection at the higher end of the range, and therefore the organic sunscreens can be helpful here. 

The other advantage of having a combination sunscreen is that you need lower concentrations of each chemical or ingredient, and thus reduce the risk of allergy.

Ultimately the best sunscreen is one that you will use every day and are happy putting on your own skin.

What type of sunscreen is Altruist?

Altruist uses both physical and chemical filters to achieve optimum protection across the UV spectrum. The formulations contain a broad range of photostable UV filters, including the most advanced filter available Tinosorb A2B. This means that the UV filters do not breakdown quickly in the sun. The products are developed for sensitive skin, are perfume and paraben free, hypoallergenic and non-pore blocking (non-comedogenic).

The UV filters in Altruist Sunscreen SPF50 100ml are shown below. The effective mixture of active ingredients results in an SPF of more than 50, with 5 star, ultra UVA protection.

Active ingredients Altruist SPF50 100ml

Chemical filters:

  • Ethylhexyl Salicylate
    Offers UVB protection
  • Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane
    Also known as avobenzone.
    Provides protection across the whole UVA range (UVA l + UVA ll)
  • Octocrylene
    Offers UVB protection, and to some extent protection in the UVA ll range.
    Stabilizes other filters and improves water resistance.
  • Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid
    Provides UVB protection.
  • Tris-Biphenyl Triazine (nano)
    Also known as Tinosorb A2B. The most efficient UVB and UVAII filter known today; highly photostable
  • Ethylhexyl Triazone
    Protects in the UVB range and is highly photostable.
  • Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine
    Covers the whole UVB and UVA range, and is very photostable.

Physical filters:

  • Titanium Dioxide (nano)
    Offers UVB protection, and protection in the UVA ll range.







5 thoughts on “What is the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens?

  1. Emily Jones says:

    My son has bad eczema and we can’t find a cream he doesn’t react to- would your product be suitable? He is 2yrs old

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *