Guide to Mineral Sunscreens
All sunscreens are not created equal. Mineral sunscreens have taken the market by storm, and with good reason. Conventional chemical sunscreens used to be the go-to in the sun-care because they were lighter, smoother, and absorbed right into the skin. However, the next generation of mineral sunscreen (sometimes referred to as “physical sunscreen”), reflects rather than absorbs ultraviolet radiation, making them a better choice.
There are only two ingredients recognized as safe and effective for sun protection and those are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (both minerals). When it comes to physical sunscreens, the word natural means it’s usually using minerals to block UV rays, or just those without oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has shown that it can affect hormones and allergies in humans – its also responsible for coral bleaching and coral death.
Mineral sunscreen provides full spectrum protection
On some bottles, you’ll notice the term “full spectrum” or “broad spectrum”. What this means is that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Chemical sunscreens usually only protect against UVB rays – the kind that damage the superficial layer of skin and give you sunburns. Because mineral sunscreen contains both zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide, it protects against UVA rays – the type that causes aging and skin cancer.
The benefits of switching
If you’re someone with sensitive skin, heavily chemical-laden products tend to irritate and sensitize the skin. Mineral sunscreens seem to be well tolerated by sensitive skin because the ingredients aren’t absorbed by the skin itself – instead it sits on top of the skin and deflect UV rays. Chemical sunscreen on the other hand, can cause contact dermatitis because their formulas absorb into the epidermis.
Mineral sunscreens start working immediately
Like mentioned earlier, chemical sunscreens need to be absorbed into the skin for them to work, which means you’re waiting 20-30 minutes for optimal results. If not, you’ll risk sunburn and signs of aging. Mineral sunscreens don’t need to be absorbed, which means they’re effective as soon as you apply them.
Some tips to remember:
- Whichever sunscreen you use, they have an expiry date. If expired, the sunscreen is rendered ineffective.
- Peak UV ray hours are between 11 am and 3 pm. This means the suns rays are the strongest, so if you can avoid exposure.
- Protect your lips! They burn easier than you think. Wear an SPF lip balm regularly.