Broad spectrum mineral sunscreens for everyday protection
What’s the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen? What mineral sunscreen should I put on my face? What’s a good mineral sunscreen for babies?
If you’ve got questions about sunscreen, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve shared our favorite zinc sunscreens, talked about coral reefs, and investigated the magic number: SPF 30. This year we’re back with more product recommendations, and doubling down on the need to protect your skin all year long – not just during summer.
Chemical sunscreen has been popular for years, because it’s effective and simple to use. It works by penetrating the top layer of skin, protecting it from UV exposure through a chemical reaction. This process absorbs UV rays and turns them into heat, which evaporates off your skin before it can cause any damage.
In recent years, growing evidence has uncovered the potential harm that chemical sunscreens can cause.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), chemical filters like oxybenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene have been reported to absorb at unsafe levels in the body. In some findings, traces of these chemicals were even found in breast milk.
While some experts state that chemical filters are safe for our skin, they are still dangerous to our ocean life. Oxybenzone in particular has been found to disrupt the reproduction of coral, while other ingredients like butylparaben can cause harmful coral bleaching.
Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, work very differently.
As the name suggests, mineral sunscreens are made with minerals – typically zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals act like a shield or filter for your skin, and are generally regarded as the safer option for your skin and the planet.
While mineral sunscreens have gained a reputation as the better choice, they do come with their caveats. Some are known to give off a white cast, pill, and even cause breakouts. Luckily, the mineral sunscreen is constantly evolving, and better options are becoming available every year.
Here are some options for gentle, fragrance-free mineral sunscreens to use this summer and beyond!
For Pool/ Beach Day:
Sunscreen should be worn year round, but it’s especially important when you’re enjoying time outdoors.
When you’re cooling down by the pool or the beach, it’s important to have something that’s both gentle and water-resistant. Enter the travel-friendly Solar Stick SPF 40 from MDSolarSciences. This mineral sunscreen offers lightweight protection against sun damage, and its twist-up applicator makes it easy to stow in your purse or beach bag.
For the Face:
If you need something that’s both protective and deeply hydrating, we love Biossance’s Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen. This mineral SPF 30 PA+++ is moisturizing without that greasy feel, and instead balances out oils in the skin to keep it at the right level of dewiness.
For All Over:
For those looking for less hassle, the best mineral sunscreen is one that offers versatility. Our very own Green Tea SPF 30 is perfect for all-over protection, and helps to hydrate and soothe thirsty skin with green tea and aloe.
We also love the Clean Freak Nutrient-Boosted Daily Sunscreen from Solara Suncare. It boasts the natural aroma of coconuts and almonds while keeping the skin nourished and hydrated.
For Sensitive Skin:
Sunscreen can be a lot to deal with when you have Sensitive Skin. The Daily Sheer Facial Sunscreen SPF 40 from Babo Botanicals features hypoallergenic skin soothers like aloe vera and avocado. This mineral sunscreen features antioxidant-rich botanicals rosehip oil and green tea to provide both gentle protection and anti-aging benefits.
Protecting our little ones from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial, but applying it can be a challenge. Pipette’s Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 uses plant extracts to keep the skin feeling calm and moisturized. With its lightweight, fast-absorbing formula, your kiddos won’t have to squirm through a lengthy application.
For Melanin-Rich Skin Tones:
One of the biggest issues with mineral sunscreen is the dreaded white cast, and it’s especially problematic for those with deeper skin tones. The market is quickly evolving to offer better options for darker skin tones, and the Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35 from Venus Williams’s brand, EleVen, is a true game changer.
As a serum formula, this mineral-based SPF absorbs seamlessly into the skin to create a velvety, transparent finish that works for all skin tones.
For Acne-Prone Skin:
If you’re prone to breakouts caused by mineral sunscreen, it may be tempting to forego SPF and risk sun damage instead. We’re here to stop you from making this huge mistake! Opt for a mineral sunscreen designed for acne-prone skin, like Elta MD’s UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. It uses antioxidants and niacinamide to soothe inflammation and fight breakouts.
For SPF + Makeup in 1:
White cast aside, pilling is also a common issue with many mineral sunscreens. This is especially common for those who wear makeup, or have dry skin.
In some cases, pilling may happen more with makeup when it’s not applied correctly. So if you’re not sure about when to use sunscreen in a skin care routine, be sure to nail down those details first.
We also recommend Saie’s Sunvisor SPF 35, which leaves the skin feeling oh-so silky and quenched. With its dewy, freshening finish, you might even skip your foundation all together!
Needless to say, sunscreen should remain a part of your routine long after summer has ended. Be sure to touch up often forgotten areas, and enjoy the long-lasting benefits of sun protection!
We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.
The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.