6 Reasons to Make the
Shift to Mineral Sunscreen
If you go clean and nontoxic with nothing else in your beauty routine, make the shift to mineral sunscreen: These sunscreens are made without the hormone-disrupting chemicals, irritants, or allergens that chemical SPF formulas commonly contain, and they also have unique benefits that are reason enough to switch. For instance, chemical formulas may well be the source of sunscreen’s breakout-triggering bad rap, because of the known irritants they often contain. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, naturally soothe skin. But beyond clearer skin, there are many more reasons to love mineral sunscreen (and at least as many amazing formulas for every sort of skin and/or situation). Here are six
Mineral Sunscreen Is Made without Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
Chemical sunscreen contains some of the most health-disrupting and skin-irritating chemicals in the beauty industry. Along with the parabens and phthalates present in many categories of conventional beauty products, common active ingredients in chemical sunscreen—oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene, to name some of the most widely used—can disrupt our hormones, irritate our skin, cause allergies, and even kill coral.
They work by absorbing the sun’s rays through chemical reactions. By contrast, the active ingredients in mineral sunscreen, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, work by sitting on top of skin to physically block UVA and UVB rays. The easiest way to make sure a formula is mineral-only is to check the packaging: If zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are listed as the only active ingredients, it’s mineral (also known as physical) sunscreen. Mineral formulas are harder to rub in, but their advantages far outweigh the few extra seconds they take to blend, and in fact, many are fantastic moisturizers.
Moisturizing Mineral Sunscreens for Face
Mineral Sunscreen Calms Skin, While Chemical Sunscreen Can Irritate
Zinc has incredible skin-calming benefits (it’s the soothing agent in baby-bottom cream and is formulated into many blemish-soothing products), so you never have to worry about trading a clear complexion for sun protection. Conversely, many chemical sunscreens contain known irritants and allergens—the opposite of what we want on our skin.
Lightweight Yet Moisturizing Daily Sunscreens for Face
Serum Crema SPF 20
Force Field Daily Defense
Lotion with SPF 18
Pot of Shade Heliotropic
Dew Skin Moisturizing
“5 in 1” Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen
Mineral Sunscreen Doesn’t Kill Coral
Two of the most widely used chemical sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone and octinoxate, were banned last year in Hawaii because they devastate marine life, particularly coral (which perhaps speaks even more vividly to the havoc they may wreak in our bodies).
Now major sunscreen companies are finally considering formulating sun protection without oxybenzone and octinoxate, but the chemicals remain primary ingredients in many, many formulas. Still other active ingredients in chemical sunscreens—like retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that FDA data says may speed the development of skin tumors and that the EWG rates a 9 out of 10 on its Skin Deep scale of toxicity—remain a very real threat (when you see SPF formulas making anti-aging claims, they usually contain retinyl palmitate). There’s also homosalate, an endocrine disruptor, as well as the skin allergens avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene, all common in chemical sunscreen formulas. Considering what’s in chemical sunscreen—and what even small amounts of it diluted in seawater can do to the surrounding ecosystem—the idea of slathering your entire body in the stuff is nothing short of terrifying.
Mineral Sunscreen Works the Second You Put It on—and It Can Be Made to Be Water-Resistant
Mineral formulas require a bit more care to smooth in than chemical ones—and that’s a good thing. The fact that chemical SPF creams must fully absorb into your skin to work is the reason all sunscreens come with the advisory to wait twenty minutes after applying them before exposing yourself to sunlight. Since zinc and titanium dioxide work by sitting atop skin to deflect harmful rays, mineral sunscreen naturally takes some massaging to blend in, but it works the instant it’s on your skin and doesn’t degrade as readily as chemical SPF formulas do in the presence of sunlight. Note: Sunscreen can claim to be water-resistant only if it has undergone a forty- or eighty-minute test. If water-resistance is not stated clearly on the label, it will most likely wash or sweat off. Not all of the sunscreens in the goop shop are water-resistant, but these four are:
4 Brilliant Water-Resistant Mineral Sunscreens
Mineral Sunscreen Helps Preserve Plump Lips
Even people who are faithful about applying sunscreen daily often forget their lips. But the skin on our lips is thin and especially vulnerable to sun damage. Lip balm with SPF helps shield lips from sun damage and helps protect collagen there, which steadily diminishes as we age. And since the chemicals in lip products are both absorbed through your skin and actually consumed, clean mineral formulas are especially important.
Mineral SPF Balms for Supple Lips
Mineral Sunscreen Is Great for Babies and Kids
None of us should be exposing ourselves to the hormone-disrupting chemicals in personal-care products, but it’s especially important to avoid exposing babies and children, whose bodies are still developing and thus more vulnerable. The fact that endocrine disruptors can have deleterious effects at even very low levels is certainly something to consider. Mineral sunscreen is generally safe for babies and children, and these two specifically are formulated with gentle botanicals so that they glide on with the least amount of fuss.