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Understanding Sunscreens: Everything You Need to Know

Before diving into sunscreen recommendations, it’s crucial to understand the types of sunscreens available. Sunscreen ingredients generally fall into two categories: physical (inorganic) and chemical (organic) sunscreens. Here’s a brief overview to help you choose the best sunscreen for your needs.

Types of Sunscreens: Physical vs. Chemical

Physical Sunscreens (Inorganic Sunscreens)

Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays. These sunscreens are effective immediately upon application and offer broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. They can last up to 8 hours, although this can vary depending on factors like sweating.


Immediate Effect: Works right after application.

Broad-Spectrum Protection: Shields against both UVA and UVB rays.

Low Irritation: Less likely to cause allergic reactions.


White Cast: Can leave a visible white residue on the skin.

Thick Texture: May feel heavy and difficult to spread.

sunscreen white cast
sunscreen white cast

Recent advancements in technology have reduced the white cast by using nano-sized particles (less than 100nm). However, there is still some debate about the safety of these nano-particles, although most research indicates they are safe.

Chemical Sunscreens (Organic Sunscreens)

Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and convert them into heat, which is then released from the skin. These sunscreens typically need 20-30 minutes after application to become effective as they need time to absorb into the skin.


No White Cast: Goes on clear and is easier to blend into the skin.

Lighter Texture: Often feels lighter and more cosmetically elegant.


Delayed Effect: Requires time to absorb and start working.

Potential Irritation: Can cause skin irritation and stinging, particularly around the eyes.

Environmental Concerns: Some ingredients, like oxybenzone, are known to harm coral reefs.

Common Ingredients in Chemical Sunscreens:

UVB Protection: Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC), Ethylhexyl salicylate (EHS)

UVA and UVB Protection: Octocrylene, Benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone), Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine (BEMT)

UVA Protection: Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (avobenzone)

Combining Physical and Chemical Sunscreens

Many modern sunscreens use a combination of both physical and chemical filters to achieve optimal protection. These hybrid sunscreens aim to leverage the benefits of both types while minimizing their downsides.

For example, a popular combination might include:

Ethylhexyl salicylate for UVB protection.

Zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection including UVA.

Understanding SPF and PA Ratings

SPF (Sun Protection Factor)

SPF measures the level of protection a sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. The SPF number indicates how much longer it will take for your skin to burn compared to not using any sunscreen. For example, if you use an SPF 30 sunscreen, it means you can stay in the sun 30 times longer without burning than you could without sunscreen. However, SPF does not measure protection against UVA rays.

Common SPF Ratings:

SPF 15: Blocks about 93% of UVB rays.

SPF 30: Blocks about 97% of UVB rays.

SPF 50: Blocks about 98% of UVB rays.

SPF 100: Blocks about 99% of UVB rays.

While higher SPF offers slightly more protection, no sunscreen can block 100% of UVB rays, and SPF 30 is generally considered sufficient for most daily activities.

PA (Protection Grade of UVA)

PA is a rating system developed in Japan that measures the level of protection against UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin and contribute to aging and long-term skin damage. The PA system uses a “+” grading to indicate the level of protection.

PA Ratings:

PA+: Some UVA protection.

PA++: Moderate UVA protection.

PA+++: High UVA protection.

PA++++: Very high UVA protection.

When choosing a sunscreen, it’s essential to consider both SPF and PA ratings to ensure comprehensive protection against both UVB and UVA rays.

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

Choosing the right sunscreen depends on your skin type, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Here are some tips:

1. Sensitive Skin: Opt for physical sunscreens as they are less likely to cause irritation.

2. Oily Skin: Look for non-comedogenic sunscreens that won’t clog pores.

3. Dry Skin: Choose sunscreens with added moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated.

4. Active Lifestyle: Water-resistant formulas are ideal for those who swim or sweat a lot.

Conclusion: Next Pangaea - Your Go-To for Quality Sunscreens

Next Pangaea specializes in producing high-quality sunscreens tailored to your needs. Whether you prefer physical, chemical, or hybrid sunscreens, we have the expertise to deliver products that protect your skin effectively while meeting the highest safety standards.

Explore our range of sunscreens today and stay protected under the sun!

Note: Unfortunately, due to OTC non-registration, our best formulations cannot be exported to the United States.

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