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Oral Or Physical Sunscreen? Choose It Wisely!

Updated at: Aug 16, 2019
Skin Care
Written by: Tavishi DograPublished at: Aug 16, 2019
Oral Or Physical Sunscreen? Choose It Wisely!

If you are reading this article, you must be aware of the chemical vs. physical sunscreen debate. For most of us, it was just “sunscreen” – until this debate popped up, leaving us confused. Which one to pick? Should you switch yo

The fact is irrefutable that how harmful the sun can be for bare and unprotected skin. The detrimental rays of the sun penetrate deep into the dermal layers of the skin, creating havoc on skin health. It does not just damage the upper layer but keeps building up while exhausting the skin's supply of natural lubricating oils from within. Not only this, but it also contributes to skin conditions like:

  • Premature signs of skin ageing like fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sunburns, tan, freckles and pigmentation
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Loss and depletion of skin’s natural elasticity and collagen
  • The threat of developing skin concerns like Cancer and Actinic Keratosis
  • Wearying of the skin’s connective tissues

This is why it becomes imperative to protect our skin from the harsh effects of the sun’s rays. However, sun protection is not just limited to physical or topical sunscreens, but there are several tools like oral sunscreen, drinkable sunscreen, UV monitoring bracelets, injections and UV tracking apps. But, the oral sunscreens have taken the world by the storm.

Physical Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens are the ones which are to be applied on the skin and are readily available in the market by various brands. There's a wide variety to select from the market, but one must choose according to their skin type, sun exposure etc.


  • The physical sunscreens work as a complete barrier between the sun and the skin, giving a comprehensive defence from the UVA and UVB rays.
  • These sunscreens are also water-resistant and do not get washed away when in contact with water.
  • Protects from premature ageing and freckles
  • The protection is necessary, and it must be reapplied every three hours to ensure proper coverage.
  • Lowers the risk of Cancer as it complete shields the skin
  • An inexpensive way to protect the skin from the detrimental effects of the rays
  • Effectively prevents sunburns, pigmentation and tans.


  • One needs to reapply the sunscreen every 3 hours for a full coverage
  • Many people consider applying sunscreen a hassle as it requires a lot of efforts to rub it on the entire body. 
  • The topical sunscreens can be messy and inconvenient for many
  • Only work on areas on which it is applied

Oral Sunscreens

Oral Sunscreens are tablets that can be easily consumed. These oral supplements work on providing sun protection. These work as antioxidants, which counteracts free radicals while protecting the skin cells from direct damage of the sun. 


  • A very convenient way to receive sun protection as it is not at all messy
  • Work on providing security to the entire body
  • Provides considerably excellent protection from sun rays
  • No need for reapplication at regular intervals
  • Perfect for holidays and vacations
  • It is now increasingly and readily available at several stores


  • Not as effective as the Sunscreen Lotions as it works on giving protection to the entire body.
  • Much expensive as compared to the Sunscreen Lotions
  • Physical Sunscreens V/S Oral Sunscreens

There is no doubt about the fact the sunscreens are essential in today’s times, but it is necessary to pick the right one according to your skin needs. Physical Sunscreens are undeniably the best for protecting from the sun on the skin, but Oral Sunscreens too are necessary when reapplication of the physical sunscreens are not possible.

Also, several people do not want to take much hassle of applying the sunscreen on the skin. Then, oral supplements of the sunscreens come to rescue as these are way better off than stepping out without skin protection.

(In conversation with Dr Nivedita Dadu, Dermatologist and Founder, Dr Nivedita Dadu’s Dermatology Clinic)

Read more articles on Skin Care


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