Safer sunscreen does matter if you’re going to be outside for more than 20 minutes. Continue reading to learn about the differences between chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen and why mineral sunscreen should be your go to solution for blocking the sun. From chemical sunscreens disrupting hormones and not actually blocking UVA or UVB rays, choosing safer sunscreen does matter.
Chemical Sunscreen vs Mineral Sunscreen
This is what you can expect in this article, let’s dive in:
- Use a Daily Sunscreen
- Sunscreen in the News!
- What are the Safest Sunscreens?
- Chemical Sunscreen
- Mineral Sunscreen
- Favorite Mineral Sunscreens
- Resources to Research Your Sunscreen
More Sun Means Safer Sunscreen!
Summertime and sunshine go together like many of history’s greatest pairs; peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, milk and cookies. Okay, I got a little off track there. I might just be hungry. Back to my original point: warmer weather is synonymous with more time outdoors and that means fresh air, longer days, and sun. More sun means being more diligent about choosing safer sunscreen.
Are You Using a Daily Sunscreen? You Should Be!
Really, everyone should be using sunscreen daily if they are going to be outside for more that 20 minutes. That 20 minute window is important because we need some exposure to sunshine for vitamin D. Vitamin D is extremely important and usually lacking in about 50% of the population.
Plus, Vitamin D a prevalent deficiency in many autoimmune conditions. Regardless, apply your sunscreen after anything over 20 minutes outside. Even if it’s not a particularly sunny day. Let me help with choosing safer sunscreen while we’re at it!
Sunscreen Protects Us From Harmful Rays!
You may already know how important sunscreen is. It protects our bodies from the sun’s harmful rays, which in turn helps prevent sunburn, protects against developing skin cancer, and stops the clock on prematurely aging skin (looking at you wrinkles and dark sun spots). Growing up in Florida, it was drilled into my head to put sunscreen on before venturing out for summer activities. But did you know the type of sunscreen you use matters?
Sunscreen May Not Be So Good For You After All
Sunscreen has been in the news a lot lately. Maybe you caught the headlines stating 78 major brands of sunscreen have been asked to recall their bottles of SPF after the carcinogenic chemical, benzene, was found during testing.
Yes, you read that correctly. Sunscreen, the very thing that’s supposed to prevent cancer, could cause it?! Scary right? This study found unsafe levels of benzene, a listed Group 1 carcinogen, in brand name sunscreens like Neutrogena, Aveeno, Banana Boat, Coppertone and Babyganics. If you’re thinking a Group 1 carcinogen sounds bad, it is. Benzene is identified as a “definite cause of cancer in humans.”
So you’re probably asking, how the heck do I know if my sunscreen is safe?! Fear not my friends! I have good news. Choosing safer sunscreen does not have to be hard. You just need to know what to look for.
What are the Safest Sunscreens?
There are plenty of safe sunscreens on the market but only one type of these is the safest sunscreens. Let’s talking about Chemical Sunscreen vs Mineral Sunscreen.
The difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens may seem pretty simple. Chemical sunscreens use chemicals as the active ingredient and mineral sunscreens use minerals as theirs. However, there are very big differences between these two options.
Mineral Sunscreen vs Non Mineral Sunscreen
Once you’re done reading this article, I hope you go grab your non-mineral sunscreens and toss them out. Let’s get into the details of non mineral sunscreen (aka: chemical sunscreen) and why I choose mineral suncreen.
The Terrible Truth About Chemical Sunscreens:
Chemically-based sunscreens have been on the market for a nearly a century, and are likely the kind of sunscreen you use. I say this because most big brand sunscreens fall into the chemical category. These sunscreens are supposed to protect you from harm, but could they be more of a problem than what they are said to protect against.
Chemical sunscreens use ingredients that absorb into the skin and enter the bloodstream such as:
Chemical Sunscreens Are Hormone Disruptors
Chemical sunscreen can act as endocrine disruptors. Which means, they can interfere with the body’s hormones and preventing them from working properly. Or they can mimick hormones and confusethe body.
In fact, after getting into the bloodstream, chemical sunscreen ingredients have been found in breast milk and urine weeks after the sunscreen was used. Recent studies have shown that these chemicals components, specifically oxybenzone, octocrylene and homosalate, are being used in much higher amounts in sunscreen than what is considered safe for humans.
Chemical Sunscreens Do Not Block UVA or UVB Rays
The other bummer about chemical sunscreens is they do not actually block UVA or UVB rays from the sun. The sun’s rays still penetrate the skin. This may be due to the sunscreen absorbing into the skin or because chemical sunscreens degrade when exposed to sunlight.
Now, Let’s Talk About Mineral Sunscreens
Mineral sunscreens are newer than chemical sunscreens, and began gaining more widespread use in the 1980’s. Mineral, or physical, sunscreens use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients. This is important to note, because the FDA has currently identified these as the only safe and effective sunscreen ingredients when choosing safer sunscreen.
Mineral Sunscreens Block UVA and UVB Rays
Unlike chemical sunscreens, mineral sunscreens block both UVA and UVB rays because it “sits” on top of your skin due to the mineral component zinc oxide. Since the zinc oxide mineral does not absorb into your skin, you do not have to worry about endocrine disruption or anything lingering in your system.
This also makes them great for young children or anyone with sensitive skin. Bonus, mineral SPFs are effective as soon as they are applied, so you do not have to wait 20 minutes after application to head outside.
So now that you know why mineral sunscreens are safer, how do you know which ones to buy?
Buying Safer Sunscreen
Shopping for safer sunscreen doesn’t have to be difficult. Below are several brands I personally use and trust, plus some fantastic resources for where to find others.
Beautycounter – Any of Beautycounter’s four different sunscreens versions (stick, lotion, spray or face) are great. I highly recommend each one. All products use zinc oxide as the active ingredient. The Countersun Daily Sheer Defense is my absolute favorite! It took me eons to find a sunscreen for my face that did not leave me ghostly-paste face or greasy. This one goes on like a moisturizer and is fantastic!
Badger – Badger Sunscreens also use zinc oxide and they are great. I especially love their kids line.
Bare Republic – Bare Republic is another great option, but stick to the unscented lotions and gels. The added fragrance in a few of their lotions make them less than ideal (it’s those endocrine disruptors again).
Think Baby – A zinc oxide sunscreen option for your littles.
Supergoop – I haven’t personally used Supergoop, but I have numerous friends who do and love it!
Additonal Resources to Research Your Sunscreen
Look up your current sunscreen, or anything you’re planning on buying on sites like Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Think Dirty. They are great resources to get a good idea of how safe a product is. But, as always, do your own research when choosing safer sunscreen. It is the only way to ensure you know, and are comfortable, with the ingredients you are using.
*Please note, I am a consultant with Beautycounter and may receive commissions when you click the Beautycounter links and make purchases. However, this does not impact my reviews and comparisons. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for yourself and your family.*