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What are physical sunblocks?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology
Sunblocks are just that, physical blockers that sit on the skin like armor. UVA and UVB rays ricochet off of sunblock like darts hitting a shield. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the classic mineral sunblocking ingredients. In most products they are micronized, so the tiny nanoparticles are more transparent and less opaque and pasty on your skin. (Remember the chalky white zinc oxide on lifeguards' noses in the old days?) Also, because they are literally mineral, rather than chemical ingredients, they tend to be much less irritating to sensitive skin. Likewise, you could absolutely consider the right kind of clothing, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and an umbrella to be a type of physical blocker too.


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