Mineral Sunscreen vs Chemical Sunscreen: Understanding the Difference


Mineral Sunscreen vs Chemical Sunscreen: Understanding the Difference

The best way to protect against skin cancer, as well as premature wrinkles, sunscreen is an important step in any daily skin care routine, no matter your skin tone or type. When you choose mineral sunscreens, you’re ignoring known and suspected carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and skin irritants commonly found in chemical sunscreen active ingredients. And the technology in mineral (aka physical) sunscreens has advanced to the point where today’s best formulations can easily dissolve into any skin tone.

No chemical sunscreen meets top standards for cleanliness, but many mineral sunscreens do. The two work very differently: Physical mineral sunscreens block and reflect UVA and UVB rays, while chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays. The SPF ratings for both mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens only reflect protection from UVB rays.

You can easily tell if a sunscreen is a chemical or a mineral: Look at the box of active ingredients; if any of the ingredients are listed Besides zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or both), are chemical and not clean by goop standards. (Goop leads from the Environmental Working Group, which recommends using only mineral sunscreens and avoiding chemical sunscreens altogether.)

Isn’t mineral sunscreen harder to rub off?

No more. Our favorites can now easily dissolve into any skin tone without the need for the whites of previous iterations, and they feel silky and luxurious on skin. your skin. Some of the ways we’re most excited about work almost like makeup, incorporating skin-perfecting technology to smooth the appearance of pores, even tone, and fade blemishes. Others are fortified with skin-boosting antioxidants to further protect and improve skin.

  1. Realistic poreless finish

    Saint Jane Luxury Sun Ritual Pore Smoothing Sunscreen SPF 30

    Saint Jane
    Luxury Ritual Pore Smoothing SPF 30
    goop, $38


  2. Sheer Tint for even skin tone

    Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer

    Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer
    goop, $50


  3. All but Invisible Tint Ice Cream

    Non-mineral tinted face sunscreen

    Run away
    Mineral-colored face sunscreen
    goop, $29


  1. Moisturizing with a translucent finish

    Saie Sunvisor

    goop, $37


  2. Vitamin C and SPF Serum Tint

    ILIA C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40

    C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40
    goop, $64


What about discomfort and flare-ups?

While common chemical sunscreen ingredients are known to cause skin irritation (octinoxate or octyl methoxycinnamate, homosalate and octisalate have all been shown to be skin and eye irritants) and there could be a number of reasons for the name Sunscreens have a bad reputation for causing breakouts, but the very mild zinc oxide is a key ingredient in baby lotions. Look for formulas that contain all zinc if your skin is sensitive or acne-prone.

  1. The ultimate skin-soothing sunscreen

    Clark's Botanicals Invisible Hero SPF 30

    Clark’s Botanicals
    Invisible Hero SPF 30
    goop, $75


What are the problems with chemical sunscreens?

Some of the most common active ingredients in chemical sunscreens — oxybenzone, avobenzone, and homosalate — have been flagged as hormone disruptors by the EWG. The organization’s recent sunscreen report cites four separate studies from 2020 that suggest oxybenzone may act as an endocrine disruptor and may increase the risk of breast cancer and endometriosis. bow. A study in JAMA found that four chemical sunscreen ingredients — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule — could be absorbed into the bloodstream. This is especially worrisome because these chemicals can cause problems even in small amounts — there is no known safe dose for using them. In the United States, the only ingredients for sunscreens generally recognized as safe and effective are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as proposed by the FDA in May 2019 to reevaluate the safety of these ingredients. ingredients used in chemical sunscreens.

Chemical sunscreens can also impact the environment. In 2021, Hawaii banned the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, both of which have been shown to harm corals and other marine life.

The Formulators Had (Beautiful) Creative

New ways of packaging and blending ingredients have changed the way mineral sunscreens look and feel on your skin. The new ultra-light serum formulas are one of our favorite new ways to protect skin from the sun (they soak into skin like magic), and the gentle yet powerful eye cream with SPF 40 that Supergoop has produced is amazing.

  1. Sparkling ending

    MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum

    Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum
    goop, $52


  2. Semimatte is over!

    EleVen Unrivaled Sunscreen Essence SPF 35

    Unparalleled Sunscreen Essence SPF 35
    goop, $50


  3. For eyes only

    Supergoop Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40

    Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40
    goop, $38


Mineral sunscreens for the body have also changed

Improvements in blendability and texture also show up in body products — even at SPF 50.

  1. Smooth and moisturizing

    Unsun Hydrating Full Coverage Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 30

    Run away
    Full moisturizing body lotion SPF 30
    goop, $32


  2. Sinks-Right-In SPF 50

    The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50

    Organic pharmacy
    SPF 50 Cell Protection Sunscreen
    goop, $69


  3. Waterproof

    Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

    Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
    goop, $43


Choose Creams and Lotions for Maximum Safety
(and Sunscreen)

The EWG has advised against sprays and powders for a decade because inhaling sunscreen ingredients (even minerals) can send them deep into the lungs; It is also difficult to get proper coverage when you use spray or powder form. Aerosols are particularly problematic, and the FDA is currently considering banning the entire category. These ice cream recipes are some of our favorites.

  1. Moisturizing (however dry to a matte finish)

    Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30

    The alchemist has grown up
    Natural moisturizing sunscreen SPF 30
    goop, $39


  2. Easy (and Gentle) SPF 50

    Babo Botanicals Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

    Babo Botanicals
    Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
    goop, $17


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