Now that warm weather is finally here, it’s time to get real about your sun protection. Because seriously, how are you going to wake up lookin’ flawless like Queen Bey if you haven’t been protecting your skin?
And while it’s easy to slather on that trusted brand-named sunblock, that’s most likely been hiding in your bathroom cupboard for months (or even years), the truth is, most traditional sunscreens are made with a cocktail of chemicals that can cause more harm for your skin over time than good.
The main issue with standard chemical-based sunscreens is they can be irritating and allergenic for some, plus they only work by absorbing into your skin to prevent burning, rather than reflecting harsh rays, which is what mineral sunscreens do.
Now you might be wondering what the hell a mineral sunscreen is, but don’t worry, because that’s where we come in. Mineral sunscreens work by protecting your skin by physically blocking and reflecting harsh UVA and UVB rays, thanks to titanium oxide and/or zinc oxide. Plus, they are chemical-free, are less likely to irritate sensitive skin, and they have a longer shelf life than chemical-based formulas.
If you have yet to take the plunge into the world of mineral sunscreens, here’s four reasons why you should make the switch ASAP.
Free of Harmful Chemicals
Yes, it’s true, mineral sunscreens are non-toxic and chemical-free, and as an added bonus, they don’t penetrate the skin and aren’t absorbed systematically, which is huge. Plus, they should only contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (occasionally a mix of both), as their active ingredients.
Immediate Sun Protection
When you apply a chemical sunscreen to your skin, it needs to be fully absorbed before you go into the sun, which can take up to 30 minutes to properly begin working. And we get it, you become impatient to frolic in the sun. But entering the sun too quickly means you risk the chance of getting a sunburn and premature ageing. Natural mineral sunscreens, however, begin working immediately and plus they don’t break down throughout the day, so you can enjoy the warmth of the sun without having to worry about reapplying.
Less Irritating For Those With Sensitive Skin
What’s great about mineral sunblocks is their ingredients don’t absorb directly into the skin itself, rather, the physical filters in mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and act as your own fancy screen that deflects UV radiation. Traditional chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, can cause photoallergic contact dermatitis, which occurs when an irritant or allergen causes a reaction only after being exposed to the sun because their ingredients penetrate the epidermis. This is what makes them great for those with more sensitive skin.
Good for Mother Earth
When it comes time to slather up at the beach, it’s easy to forget that what we applied to our skin can seep into the water where they’re absorbed by corals. According to National Geographic, most common chemical sunscreens, with oxybenzone can be damaging to coral reefs, and it’s been found that 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year. These substances contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching. The problem is so daunting that places such as Hawaii and Palau have gone as far as introducing bans on harmful sunscreens. The best way to prevent this from happening is to switch to a natural mineral sunscreen because they are made with minerals from the earth, which won’t cause harm to the reefs.
And if you need inspo on what mineral sunscreens to try first, these seven are our current faves.
LASPA SPF50 Ultra Sun Stick: $18
This was made for the gal on the go. This pocket-sized mineral sunscreen is perfect for when you need to make a last-minute touch-up to your T-Zone, or heavily exposed areas. It glides on smoothly, without leaving behind a sticky residue. Plus it contains Zinc and Titanium Dioxide plus 95.7% certi?ed organic ingredients to provide you with almost 100% broad-spectrum protection. As an added bonus, Vitamin D and E are added to further protect and repair the skin.
CyberDerm Simply Zinc Ultra: $52
If you’re looking for a sunscreen that provides an ultra-silky, lightweight application, this is it. CyberDerm’s Simply Zinc contains 25% Zinc Oxide, and it dries almost instantly and won’t leave your skin looking or feeling shiny. But what we really love about this sunscreen is that it also gives you a subtle tint and glow after application.
Attitude Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30: Face & Body: $14.95
This sunscreen is specially formulated with hydrating, fast-absorbing, and protective ingredients like avocado oil and jojoba seed oil that work together to hydrate, nourish, and protect your skin. This sunscreen is also easy to apply, and naturally reflects the sun’s rays with a non-nano Zinc Oxide formula. But above all, this sunscreen doesn’t contain any ecotoxic chemical filters such as Octinoxate, which is what harms coral reefs.
COOLA Mineral Body Sunscreen Spray SPF 30: $42
If you prefer spray sunscreen to lotions, you’ll love COOLA’s 100% mineral spray formula. Not only is it easy to apply, it incorporates genre-defying technology that helps disperse non-nano Zinc Oxide evenly, for a sheer application and protection, so you’ll always have even coverage. Plus, it’s ultra-matte and lightweight, so you’ll never feel like you’re wearing a heavy sunscreen.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30: $36
If you’re after a hydrating, tinted formula that leaves you with a glowy finish, without feeling like a heavy sunscreen, this Drunk Elephant daily sunscreen will be your new best friend this summer. While it only comes in one shade, it’s very versatile and works on a range of skin tones, and leaves a luminous glow, rather than a chalky finish.
Consonant Skincare The Perfect Sunscreen: $16
If you have yet to try any of Consonant Skincare’s natural beauty products, let this be the first product you try. This 100% natural sunscreen delivers SPF 30 protection in a smooth, tinted, non-greasy formula that doesn’t leave behind any white residue. Plus its infused with aloe vera, grape seed, and rice bran oil to hydrate and even skin tone.
SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense Sunscreen: $46
Think of this as your holy grail of mineral sunscreens. This weightless 100% natural sunscreen not only provides you with broad-spectrum protection with a transparent finish, but it also contains artemia salina, which is a plankton extract that helps boost the skin’s natural defences and resistance to environmental stress—think UV rays, heat-induced stress, and pollution.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Ainsley Smith; Main image: Glossier)