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24 Sep 2017


By Gracie Carroll

Here Are 7 Safe, Benzene-Free Sunscreens For Your Face This Summer

By Carmela Valencia

safe sunscreen featured image

For someone who wears sunscreen every day, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) report on certain sunscreen brands containing chemicals causing cancer is pretty alarming. This doesn’t mean, though, that we should stop wearing sunscreen altogether. It just means we have to be extra attentive in finding out about the ingredients of the suncare product we use on our face.

The science can be pretty confusing, but the gist of the FDA’s study is that there are six active ingredients, commonly found in sunscreen products, that contaminate the bloodstream. It’s also reported that these chemicals stay in the body for three weeks after discontinued use. These six active ingredients — (a) avobenzone, (b) oxybenzone, (c) octocrylene, (d) homosalate, (e) octisalate, (f) octinoxate — are the filters blocking the sun’s UV rays.

You can see these ingredients in a lot of popular sunscreen brands and, while not all products containing these ingredients surpass the FDA’s exposure threshold, it’s best to steer clear from these ingredients altogether. After all, “Any exposure to benzene is worse than none, and there is an accumulative effect of being exposed to benzene. Meaning, multiple exposures leads to more DNA damage,” board-certified dermatologist Heather Rogers tells InStyle.

So, if we should stay away from all these previously mentioned sunscreen ingredients found in almost every product, where should we look for safe and clean sunscreen? 

Supergoop! Mineral Sheerscreen SPF 30

Supergoop! Mineral Sheerscreen SPF 30

Supergoop! ($38)

Active Ingredients: 17.5% Zinc Oxide

This 100 percent mineral, super-sheer, barely-there formula effortlessly blends into your skin, leaving behind a smooth, natural finish that doubles as a primer when used under makeup. Having an SPF 30, broad spectrum coverage, this protects you from both from UVA and UVB rays, perfect for extended outdoor exposure.

Round Lab Derma Relief Sun Cream

Round Lab

Round Lab ($18)

Ingredients: Titanium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Panthenol, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract

This Korean skincare brand is perfect for those who want an SPF 50+ sunscreen that soothes the skin. Its formulation includes Panthenol to improve skin hydration and reduce inflammation; Houttuynia Cordata Extract to help soothe skin, control sebum, and refine pores; and Centella Asiatica Extract, which calms skin inflammation, speed up wound healing, and improve circulation.

CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen SPF50

CeraVe Mineral sunscreen SPF 50

CeraVe ($16)

Active Ingredients: 9% Titanium Dioxide, 7% Zinc Oxide

Broad spectrum coverage with a high SPF 50, the Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is 100% mineral and oil-free. It also has hylauronic acid to retain skin’s natural moisture, and niacinamide to help calm the skin. Allergy tested, oil-free, and non-comedogenic, this product is suitable for sensitive skin.

ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40

Ilia Skin Tint SPF 40

ILIA Beauty ($48)

Active Ingredients: 12% Zinc Oxide

Your skin tint and sunscreen rolled into one! ILIA Skin Tint features SPF 40 coverage with mineral Non-Nano Zinc Oxide to help safely shield skin from UVA, UVB, UVC, blue light, and infrared rays. This sunscreen serum also has a blend of hylauronic acid, plant-based squalene, and niacinamide, and dries into a soft, dewy finish. It’s clean, lightweight, and it’s gluten-free!

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters

The Ordinary ($10)

Ingredients: micronized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide

The Ordinary’s Mineral UV Filters is formulated with SPF 30, along with antioxidant, hydration, and anti-irritant support. It’s alcohol-free, gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. Make sure to shake well before using and blend well on the skin to avoid whitecast, which is a typical aftereffect from mineral sunscreens.

Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Murad Broad spectrum SPF 50

Murad ($88)

Active Ingredients: 2.7% Titanium Dioxide, 10% Zinc Oxide

Besides blocking UVA and UVB rays, it also protects the skin from 96 percent of pollution, 89 percent blue light, and 52 percent of infrared radiation — all of which contribute to skin damage. It also contains Vitamin C to help brighten skin while the color correcting tint evens tone and boosts radiance.

Missha Safe Block RX Cover Tone Up Sunscreen

Missha ($24)

Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide

Another makeup and sun protection in one! This sunscreen provides foundation coverage without blocking the pores. Made in Korea, it also offers physical UV protection of SPF50+ PA++++ along with brightening and anti-wrinkle effects. Its non-irritant, tear-free formula calms and shields skin against fine dust particles and other external aggressors.



(Story by Assistant Editor, Carmela Valencia)

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