If you plan on going out in the sun you want to be careful. And not just of getting too much sun, but also of what sunscreen you choose. It turns out that sunscreens are filled with chemicals that are probably not that heathy for us. They are likely not as bad as the huge amount of sun exposure you’d get from having no sun tan lotion, but the point is that there is an alternative to a chemical sunblock: a mineral one.
And now, in 2018, not all mineral sun blocks are awful! Advances have been made in ingredients and formulas so that some mineral (aka physical) sunblocks are quite pleasant to use.
When choosing a sunscreen, you’ll have to do your own research and set your own priorities. We are firmly of the belief that any sunscreen / sunblock is better than none at all! That said, we would only recommend mineral sunblocks that use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Any use of oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, octisalate, or homosalate is not acceptable to us.
Which Mineral Sunblock Should You Buy?
Our favorite mineral sunblock is Badger SPF 35 “Clear Zinc” Sport. It doesn’t leave white residue all over your body, like older zinc-based sunscreens, it goes on relatively easily, it washes off without too much trouble, and it’s effective at preventing sunburn.
If you aren’t a fan of nano-zinc (aka clear zinc) then we’d still recommend Badger, but try their SPF 30 Active mineral sunscreen for face and body.
We’ve used both of these sunscreens on many outings and never had any problems with sunburn or too much tanning. In fact, if you prefer a tanned look then mineral sunscreen might not be for you — it doesn’t seem to degrade in the way that chemical sunscreen does, so unless you are washing/sweating it off the sun protection seems bettert (that said you do want to keep reapplying through the day).
Badger sunscreen is sold in a stick as well, if you prefer that. This format tends to be good for faces, as well as thorough coverage of scars, noses, and other small areas that you want to isolate.
Mineral Sunscreen for Faces
If you are looking for a mineral sunscreen that’s perfect for adult faces, where something light that doesn’t causes breakouts or rashes is necessary, we’d recommend the Mineral Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ from Avene. It’s incredibly light and goes on to your skin extremely well. It’s a bit pricey and also uses nano zinc, but it does an incredible job.
The Nano Zinc Debate
There has, apparently, been a lot of debate over whether “nano” sized zinc particles are an acceptable ingredient in sunblocks. It’s a complex topic that seems to be filled with more conjecture and opinion than fact, but we know that some manufacturers avoided nano zinc for some time while others adopted it.
The advantage of nano zinc, sometimes known as clear zinc, is that’s it disappears after being applied on your skin, where normal zinc often leaves you with white streaks on your body (not the best look at the beach or pool). The downside, according to some, is that nano zinc might be small enough to be absorbed into your body and that might not be a good thing. This is why some manufacturers that sell mineral sunscreens specifically label their products as being “non-nano.”
We’re going to leave it at that and leave some helpful links below. Shoot us an email if you have any further thoughts or information on the matter! As with all things on this site, we can only tell you how we feel and what we’ve learned. You’ll have to do the research and form your own opinion.