I have been on a tear lately trying to uncover the best mineral sunscreens. Why? Because it’s sun season and we all need to step up our sun protection game. I could go into a big lecture on the importance of using sunscreen including the fact that it is the ultimate anti-ager according to every plastic surgeon and dermatologist out there, but that never seems to be enough. So, I will simply give you these two statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation:
- A person dies of melanoma ever 54 minutes
- More people have had skin cancer in last 30 years than all other cancers combined
That first one scared even me and I’ve been a sunscreen nazi for the past 15 years. Now that we’ve established that using sunscreen is paramount for your health, let’s move on to the type of sunscreen that you should use. I already wrote a blog on the Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreen Debate so I won’t go into all the details again, but the two biggest issues with chemical sunscreens are that:
- The active ingredients such as ozybenzone have been linked to cell damage, allergies and hormone disruption
- They breakdown in the light
Mineral sunscreens don’t have either of these issues, but they do look and feel like glue. Which means that the sunscreen will sit in the back of your bathroom cabinet, getting down with the dust bunnies, instead of going on your skin where it’s needed. Thankfully, scientists have figured out a way to take the zinc oxide (the mineral that is the culprit for the glue like look) and make it invisible. All of the best mineral sunscreens on my list use dissolvable zinc.
The other issue with mineral sunscreens is that, according to tests by Consumer Reports, most of them don’t live up to their SPF rating. Of course, neither do many of the chemical sunscreens which is why you should always use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Personally, I found all of the best mineral sunscreens that I tried to be effective, but I only work out outside for about an hour so I didn’t test them at the beach. I had to use a washcloth or scrub brush to remove them so they weren’t sweating off, and each has an SPF of 30+.
Bottom line, the most important thing is to use a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 30 every day, rain or shine. Whether that sunscreen is chemical or mineral is up to you. But if you decide to try the latter, here are my best mineral sunscreens picks for now:
Best Mineral Sunscreens: Face
I was able to find two mineral sunscreens for the face that I would use for what I call daily use as opposed to work out use. I am willing to put up with a much gooier, thicker consistency in my work out/beach sunscreen than I am in one that I am going to wear under makeup. Both of these go on smooth.
The first is by Coola and it feels lovely. It comes in two versions: a matte one that is scented with cucumber and a tinted one that is unscented.
The second is by Babo Botanicals. It initially goes on a bit thick, but give it a few minutes, and it sinks into the skin. Both have a light moisturizer so you can use them in the morning instead of cream. Neither of these is water resistant thus the reason they aren’t great options for a workout/beach.
Best Mineral Sunscreens: Body
This category is bit of a bear. I tried a bunch that were a disaster including Neutrogena Sensitive Skin 60+ (fine if you don’t mind everything you touch from your yoga mat to your leggings to your computer turning white) and Alba Sport Mineral Sunscreen 45 (same problem). My favorites are the Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc 30 and the Australian Gold Mineral Lotion 50.
The Babo Botanicals is unscented, which is a plus, but it does go on white and takes quite a bit of work before it dissolved into the skin. The Australian Gold rubs on nicely, but it has a citrus scent that isn’t unpleasant, but it is strong. At least to my super sensy pants nose.
My very, very favorite workout/beach sunscreen is still the Alba Botanica Sport 45. It no longer contains oxybenzone or parabens, but it does still have many of the other chemicals that are apparently not great for our health. So, I will continue my search for mineral alternatives. There seem to be new ones coming out daily which means this is an issue that cosmetic companies are taking seriously. Good news for us!