Mineral Sunscreen for Face and Body
For the last, I dunno, lifetime I have been on the hunt for a mineral sunscreen that will spread thinly and evenly on my face. While chemical sunscreens typically provide a much smoother effect on the skin, I am allergic to them.
And it’s not just me. Skincare chemist, Lab Muffin Beauty, points out that many common sunscreen ingredients are known irritants. These include avobenzone, octocrylene, oxybenzone, and more. Despite this, they are very common in U.S. sunscreens.
So I’ve spent hours searching the internet for highly rated mineral sunscreen.
Why Some Suggest Avoiding Chemical Sunscreen
But it’s not just me I’m worried about. Some active ingredients in chemical sunscreen, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, are known to kill coral in lab studies. You can read a full list of ingredients that harm coral here.
And the FDA has noted that these sunscreens also have a high absorption rate into the skin – much higher than has been tested. Oxybenzone has even been found in breastmilk. Without further testing, we simply don’t know if chemical sunscreens are safe.
That being said, skincare chemists like Lab Muffin Beauty point out that the science doesn’t support undue fear of chemical sunscreens.
While it is best to avoid chemical sunscreens while pregnant and breastfeeding, coral reef studies were conducted with much higher amounts of chemical sunscreen ingredients than would be found in nature. If chemical sunscreen works best for you, it is probably ok to continue using it.
But, if it suits you, it can be a good choice to stick with mineral sunscreens made with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These sunscreens typically have lower absorption rates into skin and are known to be generally safe for use in sunscreen.
Of course, they’re also known to potentially leave a white cast on darker skin, which makes them less accessible to some. This is an important consideration, and one big reason why we should invest in additional health research for chemical sunscreens. This post does a deep dive into mineral sunscreens that don’t leave a white cast on darker skin.
Without further ado, here are some highly rated mineral sunscreens that I recommend.
Tinted Mineral Sunscreen
Using titanium dioxide as its main sunscreen, this tinted moisturizer comes in one color, intended to counteract white cast. Though it has the highest SPF, paler skin tones may want to avoid this one (there’s a non-tinted option below!).
Non-tinted Mineral Sunscreen
This is the non-tinted version of the product above. Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is also sweat and water-resistant. This line is carried at Target, if you’re looking to purchase it in person.
For Body (+ Budget-Friendly)
6 | Baby Sunscreen
Pro tip: if you’re looking for a cheap mineral sunscreen for your body, get baby sunscreen.
Almost all baby sunscreen uses zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as its main sunscreen because it’s known to be safer than chemical sunscreen. Any brand will do: just check the active ingredient list.