When it comes to sunscreen, there are more options than ever, whether you’re looking for a mineral sunscreen, something that will help with oiliness or aging, or simply something that won’t make you feel heavy and sticky. See where you fit in the sunscreen spectrum.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the UVA/UVB filters found in mineral or physical sunscreens. These UV filters sit on top of your skin and act as a physical reflector of UV rays, whereas chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin and work by absorbing and deactivating UV rays. Because some chemical sunscreens may be irritating to some, those with sensitive skin may want to stick to mineral sunscreens.
Acure SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion, $17.99: This reef-safe mineral sunscreen features 20% non-nano zinc oxide and plenty of skin-loving, certified organic seed and fruit oils, including sunflower, olive and pomegranate. It’s also water resistant for up to 80 minutes, perfect for a family day at the beach. acureorganics.com
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Daily Tone Correcting Primer, $39.99: If you’re looking for a bit of oomph in your sun protection, try a tinted primer that blurs imperfections while providing an SPF of 50 with 25% titanium dioxide, the gold standard in broad-spectrum protection, according to Dr. Annie Chiu. This primer also boasts antioxidant ingredients, which fight free radicals caused by UVA rays. laroche-posay.us
Unsun Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, $29: What we love about mineral sunscreens? Its all-natural, non-chemical formula. What we hate? The opaque, chalky residue — not a good look if you’re any skin tone darker than porcelain. Enter Unsun, a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide (6.5%) and titanium dioxide (5.5%), but formulated to blend in with skin tones ranging from olive to chocolate. And with all sorts of skin-loving ingredients, like aloe, shea butter, coconut oil and a myriad of fruit extracts, lighter skin tones just may want to use this, too (it’ll give you a nice sheer wash of sun-kissed). unsuncosmetics.com
Brush On Block SPF 30, $32: Reapplication every two hours is crucial, says Dr. Chiu. But how to reapply on a face full of makeup? A sunscreen powder is one option. “Unlike many chemical sunscreens which are absorbed into the skin, natural mineral sit on top of your skin and reflect the sun’s rays away from the body,” says Susan Posnick, who founded a line of natural sun protection in self-dispensing brush form after being diagnosed with skin cancer in her late 30s. brushonblock.com
Promise SPF 30 Coconut Sunscreen Stick, $9.99: Trying to rub sunscreen on your squirmy kids? A feat worthy of a pro wrestler. A sunscreen stick makes the job immensely easier, except this one is super affordable, certified organic, mineral-based (20% zinc oxide), and water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which makes this not just a breeze but a mom’s dream come true. cvs.com
In a global survey in 36 countries, researchers found that one of main reasons people don’t wear sunscreen is because of the texture, says Tyler Steele, an aesthetician and marketing director of La Roche-Posay. So skin care companies are going out of their way to create lighter, more elegant textures.
Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42, $32: A super lightweight sunscreen (you have to shake it first) that also controls excess sebum and has a nice matte finish. Botanical extracts fight free radicals and blurs pores. Bonus: Its 1-oz. travel-friendly size. shiseido.com
Osmotics Age Prevention Sheer Facial Tint SPF 45, $39: This zinc oxide-based tinted sunscreen is oil-free, with a touch of antioxidants and hyaluronic acid for hydration. The tint is super sheer, so you can’t really go wrong, and the finish is weightless. osmotics.com
Amorepacific Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $75: Perfect for reapplication throughout the day, this sunscreen mist also boasts plum extract, which protects against heat-aging (some studies suggest that increased skin temps can also lead to premature aging), and other free radical-fighting botanical extracts, as well as its signature mineral-rich bamboo sap base to soothe and hydrate skin. us.amorepacific.com
Coola Sport SPF 50 Guava Mango Sunscreen Spray, $36: This continuous spray sunscreen offers certified organic, skin-loving ingredients like aloe, cucumber, strawberry, and algae extracts. It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes so feel free to mist with aplomb. (The luscious scent is all-natural, too.) shop.coolasuncare.com
Oily or Acne-prone
If you’re acne-prone or oily, you’re in luck! Beauty brands are offering all sorts of sun protection solutions that sop up oil and mattify, including mineral sunscreens with titanium dioxide, which is non-comedogenic.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen, $19.99: The selenium-rich, prebiotic thermal spring water from a village in France makes up the base in all of La Roche-Posay’s products, including its newest sunscreen made specifically for those with oilier or acne-prone skin. But unlike other sunscreens for oily skin, this one features perlite, a volcanic rock, which only absorbs oil where you have oil. (So you’re not stuck with dry patches.) In fact, after testing in a humidity chamber, researchers found that after 30 minutes, the half of the face with the sunscreen applied was less shiny and less oily than the bare skin side. laroche-posay.us
Iope Air Cushion XP Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Sunscreen in Matte Beige, $40: Iope, the Korean brand first to introduce the revolutionary cushion compact in 2008, now offers one with a semi-matte finish. It’s still got all the good stuff of the original — SPF 50 PA+++, a hydrating base of mineral water, plant peptides extracted from hearty Siberian plants, and skin-beneficial vitamins — but with sponge-like spheres that absorb oil and reduce shine. us.aritaum.com
Revision Intellishade Matte, $56: This nourishing yet matte finish moisturizer and sunscreen-in-one absorbs excess oil and reduces the look of pores, while peptides, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, and yeast and plankton extracts brighten, fight free radicals, and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. revisionskincare.com
Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush on Sunscreen SPF 30, $57: If you’ve got oily skin, you’re likely blotting and patting on powder all day to keep shine away. Now you can apply a powder that also protects you from UV rays. With micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, both physical UV filters, this travel-friendly powder sunscreen won’t clog pores and helps keep complexion shine-free. Zinc oxide even has some antibacterial properties, which would help keeps acne in check. colorescience.com
Anti-Aging Skin Care
While a sunscreen can help filter out UVA and UVB rays (and even then, only about 98% at SPF 50), it can only reduce skin-damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure by up to 75%, according to a recent study. So more and more companies now incorporate antioxidants into their sunscreens to give a boost of free radical-neutralizing power.
Shiseido Future Solution LX Universal Defense SPF50+, $90: With 15.4% zinc oxide broad-spectrum protection, this elegant sunscreen sinks in lightning fast and feels like nothing once absorbed. And yet its patented synthetic amino acids and potent antioxidants are hard at work, helping to protect against environmental pollutants and free radicals, while a unique light reflection technology blurs imperfections. Add to all that the fact that it’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes, and it may well be worth the high price tag. shiseido.com
RéVive Soleil Superiéur Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen PA++++, $115: Endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this luxe sunscreen incorporates the brand’s signature RES technology, a cocktail of bioengineered molecules and Nobel Prize-winning ingredients that boost the natural generation of new skin cells. Another pricey sunscreen that may be worth it to those who want a richer feeling lotion that still absorbs easily without a chalky finish. reviveskincare.com
Coola Face SPF 30 Rosilliance BB+ Cream, $52: Surprisingly sheer and smelling heavenly of roses, this titanium dioxide-based tinted moisturizer features a bouquet of rose stem cells and 70% certified organic ingredients, ranging from cucumber, acai and plankton extracts to sunflower and safflower seed oils. shop.coolasuncare.com
Receutics Active Skin Repair Advanced Sunscreen, $29.99: The new in-house line of skin care by drugstore chain Rite Aid, Receutics also offers a mineral sunscreen with 10% micronized zinc oxide, as well as antioxidants like squalane and vitamin C, which helps even skin tone and promote collagen production. riteaid.com
Bare Republic Natural Mineral Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30, $3.99: It’s easy to forget our lips when it comes to sun protection, but the skin on our lips is very thin, and since the lips have almost no melanin, they have little natural protection against sunburn. So keep an SPF lip balm handy, like this one with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which provides chemical-free protection, while shea butter, coconut oil, and antioxidant botanicals nourish and fight free radicals. target.com
Originally published in Composure Magazine.