beachWe all know it’s important to wear sunscreen, protecting our delicate skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays–in turn, protecting us from painful burns, early aging, and even skin cancer.

However, few know the actual differences between the two types of sunscreen: physical and chemical. One of these types might be far more efficient for you depending on your lifestyle, so it’s important to know the difference.

In general, physical sunscreens protect your skin by either blocking or completely deflecting the sun’s rays. This type of sunscreen is effective the moment you apply it, and stays effective until removed from your skin via sweating, swimming, or washing it off.

On the other hand, chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays. These sunscreens become effective about 20 minutes after they are applied, and stop working after a certain amount of time and must be re-applied for functionality.

With either type of sunscreen–even physical–it’s important to re-apply the product every two hours or so, just to be safe. You’ll be glad you did!