5 Reason Why Physical Sunscreen Are Better Choice

This article written by :
Venus Wong (R&D Department Manager NK Age-Reverse)

5 Reason Why Physical Sunscreen Are Better Choice

Remember in previous article (read HERE) when I told you zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two white minerals? Well, mineral or physical sunscreens have a tendency to leave a white cast on the skin, which is the main reason why most people won’t like it and much prefer chemical sunscreen instead.

However, there are numerous reasons why most of dermatologists and skin expert would strongly recommended physical sunscreen over chemical. Even NGO entities such as American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and
Environmental Working Group (EWG) would suggest physical sunscreen as it offer both a safer and higher efficacy.

Why Physical Sunscreen is Better

Here’re 5 reasons why physical sunscreen is better than chemical sunscreens. 

Physical Sunscreen Does Not Absorb Into the Body

The first thing you need to know about physical sunscreen is that it doesn’t penetrate your skin. Filters that are large in molecular weight and are insoluble do not penetrate skin and achieve blood and tissue levels, bind to brain receptors, cross the placenta to the fetus, and enter breastmilk.”

Chemical sunscreen filters penetrate your skin, due to their small particle sizes, and absorb into your body. These include cinoxate, dioxybenzone, ensulizole, homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, padimate O, sulisobenzone, oxybenzone and avobenzone. Notably, all of these filters were delisted in 2019 by the US Food and Drug Administration. Based on a lack of safety data regarding their absorption into the body and the long-term effects, they are no longer designated as “GRASE” (Generally Recognized As Safe and Effective).

Meanwhile, the ingredients in physical sunscreens — zinc oxide and titanium oxide — have been generally recognized as safe and effective by the FDA.

Physical Sunscreen Gives Superior UVA Protection (Broad Spectrum)

Both physical and chemical sunscreens work well at neutralizing UV rays before they can wreak havoc on your skin.

The only difference? Chemical UV filters are mainly one trick ponies. They either protect from UVA or UVB rays. Avobenzone, for example, only protects your skin from UVA rays, But, it’s very unstable and degrades quickly when exposed to sunlight. While Oxybenzone works only against UVB rays.  Table below was summary of filter protection againts UVA & UVB:

Sunscreen FilterUVAUVB
Avobenzone● Extensive protection◔ Limited protection
Oxybenzone◕ Considerable protection● Extensive protection
Octocrylene◔ Limited protection● Extensive protection
Ecamsule● Extensive protection◔ Limited protection
Cinoxate◔ Limited protection● Extensive protection
Dioxybenzone◕ Considerable protection● Extensive protection
Ensulizole○ Minimal protection● Extensive protection
Meradimate◕ Considerable protection● Extensive protection
Octinoxate◔ Limited protection● Extensive protection
Octisalate○ Minimal protection● Extensive protection
Padimate O○ Minimal protection● Extensive protection
Sulisobenzone◕ Considerable protection● Extensive protection

As you can see in this table, most chemical sunscreens are “UVB-biased”. In other words, they do a good job of filtering out the UVB rays that cause sunburn, but are inadequate against the more damaging UVA rays that trigger skin cancers and premature skin aging. This is particularly troubling because UVA accounts for up to 95% of the UV light that reaches our skin.



Compare to Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide they are multitaskers. Zinc oxide is the only approved filter that gives you extensive protection against both UVA and UVB. Titanium Dioxide defends you from ALL UVB and MOST UVA rays.  For this reason, it should always be combined with a stronger UVA filter, like zinc oxide. Pretty impressive, huh?

Physical FilterUVAUVB
Titanium Dioxide◕ Considerable protection● Extensive protection
Zinc Oxide● Extensive protection● Extensive protection

You know what that means? You can formulate a physical sunscreens with only zinc oxide. But if you’re making a chemical sunscreen, you’ll need to use 3 or 4 UV filters to get adequate protection. That’s 3 or 4 opportunities for your skin to break out in a rash

Physical Sunscreen Is Gentler On The Skin


The problem with using three or four chemical UV filters? There’s a higher chance one of them may trigger an irritation or allergy.

Chemical UV filters, such as Avobenzone and Octocrylene, are known to cause allergies and irritations. If you’ve reacted badly to sunscreens in the past, chances are one of these guys were to blame.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are so gentle, even six months old babies can use them. Unless you’re allergic to zinc or titanium (a rare occurrence), the chance of a bad reaction is non-existent.

Physical sunscreens are even recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to anyone who has sensitive skin, easily-irritated skin or any kind of skin condition like psoriasis or eczema.

Physical Sunscreen Does Not Cause Hormone Disruption

Unlike the soluble chemical filters, physical sunscreens do not interfere with your body’s natural hormone production.

A 2016 review of 85 scientific papers in humans and lower species concluded that soluble chemical UV filters are generally involved in the disruption of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal system.

More recent studies in 2018 and 2019 confirm that they clearly change levels of virtually every sex hormone, pituitary hormones, thyroid hormones and certain growth factors in both pregnant and non-pregnant women.

Physical sunscreen is safer for environment

A review published in January 2019 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that common chemical sunscreen ingredients such as oxybenzone may bleach and damage coral reefs and have been identified in various species of fish worldwide, which has possible consequences for the food chain.

Jim Nickels, a Marine Scientist for Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) said, “Corals have been under threat from a variety of sources, the ingredients in some sunscreens are having a direct affect causing bleaching, damaging their DNA, and causing deformities and death.” 

For this reason, some tourist destinations, including Hawaii, have banned oxybenzone, as the Center for Biological Diversity notes.

New Sunscreen Generation : The Physical Sunscreen That Not Leave a White Cast

Physical sunscreen formulation has undergone a major technological transformation over the recent past, resulting in improved sunscreen efficiency and safety. With advancement in nano-technology research, this zinc oxide and titanium dioxide now can be broken down into smaller particles to reduce the effect of white cast.

Thanks to this nano-technology advance in sunscreen research, the days of physical sunscreen with white case are now GONE.

NK Age-reverse Sunscreen developed by R&D research team from UTM was new generation of physical sunscreen that use a nano UV filter that is certified by COSMOS (an international independent association that certifies genuine natural cosmetics).  It feels so lightweight, you won’t feel like you’re wearing them and leave almost no white cast . 

You’ll get same feeling like using chemical sunscreen, but get protection and safe to use just as using physical sunscreen. With this, you get the best of both features in one 30ml cube.

Formulated together with anti-aging technology that won 35 international innovation awards, this is another world class product from our R&D lab to our fellow Malaysian. Best of all, it came at much more affordable price compare to international brand but work far more better.

Note : NK Age-Reverse is a research base product lead by Assoc Prof Dr Siti Hamidah and researcher from UTM specifically made to improve skin issue among Malaysian. Get the latest of our innovation HERE.

About Author:

Venus Wong is the researcher and manager in R&D department for NK Age-Reverse which focus on research to improve the quality of skincare & invent a new product using latest technology. Her mission is to help inspire and motivate individuals to critically think about what they put in their bodies and to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle. 


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