Home / The Science / Sunscreens


There are two types of sunscreens – chemical absorbers and physical blockers. Chemical sunscreens are the most common and work by first penetrating the skin and then “absorbing” the UV light that comes in. Because both UVA and UVB rays need to be blocked, most chemical sunscreens use a combination of chemicals together to work.

  • To actually “work”, users must apply the chemical sunscreen 20 or 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Once a chemical sunscreen is applied, it has an effective life of about 90 minutes to two hours. The chemicals naturally break down or get absorbed into the skin and therefore are not a long-term solution. Reapplication is critical.

Physical blockers , like Sunforgettable mineral sunscreen, work by physically deflecting UV rays away from skin. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only two natural minerals that do this. Early formulations were considered problematic as the “white” zinc mineral became a bright white paste on skin and both looked and felt unappealing. So despite that fact that zinc is a ‘perfect’ all-natural sunscreen – because it made such a “funny” look (the iconic lifeguard’s white nose) – scientists developed chemical sunscreens.

  • Micronized minerals (super small, finely milled) have eliminated the white paste problem.
  • Doctors recommend physical blockers because chemical sunscreens frequently cause skin irritation or allergy (at least 10% of the population).
  • Physical sunscreens work immediately and can last longer without re-application.



UVs come from the sun in three different wavelengths – UVA, UVB and UBC. UVA and UVB matter the most to humans.

Learn More



Colorescience cares about the health of your skin. We formulate with sun protection in mind. Colorescience recommends an SPF 20 or higher.

Learn More

©2015 Colorescience, Inc. All Rights Reserved.