Let me be the first person to say that I am no sunscreen expert. Anyone who knows me IRL will be the first to tell you that I always forget/miss a spot when it comes to applying sunscreen. I currently have a very dark tan line on my back at that spot that you can't reach on your own. I do this every summer so trust me when I say, wear sunscreen. Getting crispy and exposing your skin to harmful UV rays is not a nice feeling.
A lot of the time a lot of people think the higher the SPF, the better the sunscreen but what about the ingredients a sunscreen is made up of? Brands that are more "natural" or mineral based are generally considered less harmful however can they be as strong as chemical sunscreens? What is the difference between the two anyways?
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
The most basic difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen is what it does with UV rays. Mineral sunscreen physically blocks/reflects the rays, chemical sunscreens absorbs and dissipates the rays.
There are also two different types of UV rays; UVB (this is what gives you sunburns) and UVA, which penetrates deeper. Because chemical sunscreens absorb the rays, UVA can reach those deeper layers of your skin still and cause all the skin issues that aren't evident immediately, but potentially detrimental in the long run. Mineral sunscreens protect you from UVB and UVA!
WAIT... SO ARE CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS BAD?
Let me preface this by saying that I would argue that a chemical sunscreen is always better than no sunscreen at all. And truth be told a lot of sunscreens that advertise as mineral are actually a blend of mineral and chemical. That being said, in doing research for this post my only real conclusion is that everything gives you cancer.
Chemical sunscreens are effective because they absorb the sun's UV rays through a chemical reaction that absorbs and dissipate the ryas so your skin is protected because the UV rays never actually hit your body. Because it has active ingredients can seep into your bloodstream it can fuck up some of your hormone levels. It is believed by some that it can increase your risk of endometriosis and decrease sperm count in men.
ALRIGHT... SO MINERAL SUNSCREEN?
I opted for a combination of different types of sunscreen depending on how much sun I'll be exposed to, however whenever possible I do try and make an effort to opt for mineral.
Mineral sunscreens uses minerals (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) to combat the sun but don't mistake this as natural! Although these ingredients are naturally occurring they can also be created synthetically. Because it sits on top of your skin and reflects UV rays away from your body it can sometimes be called a physical sunscreen because there is actually a barrier created. Super science-based, I know. I've always been an ingredients nerd and love talking about the "why" behind why something works.
Another thing to consider is that because mineral sunscreen sits on top of your skin it can leave a bit of residue and some result in a bit of a white cast.
MY SUNSCREEN CHOICE PICKS
Neostrata Sheer Hydration Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35. This my (almost) every day chemical sunscreen for my face. I use this one daily because it applies without leaving any residue and seems to balance out my oily skin nicely. Out of all my foundations this is the one I find works best underneath makeup. Because it layers so nicely without irrupting my skin this is my go-to foundation on most days where I plan on wearing makeup.
Apothecary Shade SPF 30. This is my no-makeup days choice mineral sunscreen for my face. Despite it being mineral I do find that it doesn't leave a white residue and that it's not greasy whatsoever. I do find that my makeup doesn't like to stick to this formula so I only use it when I am going barefaced. I also love that it's a physical sunscreen so I usually opted for this one when I know I'll be out for an extended period of time.
Kiehl's Super Fluid Daily UV Defence Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. My favourite chemical sunscreen for extended time in direct sunlight. Unlike the other ones I use this one has the highest SPF. I will say that this is not water resistant so when I wear this one to the beach I find myself reapplying throughout my sun soaking session but it really prevents me from getting burnt.
Coola Mineral Body Sunscreen Spray SPF 30. Anytime I have gotten terribly sunburnt it is usually because I foolishly put my trust in a spray sunscreen. I honestly thought spray sunscreens were a scam before I discovered the Coola mineral one. It comes in a tropical coconut scent and a fragrance free option and I love how finely it mists. It's also water resistant making it a beach bag staple for me.
The fine print: Some of the sunscreens mentioned above were gifted to me for my review consideration however this post is not sponsored. As per usual none of the links above are affiliate links either meaning I make no commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Also I burnt my back at the beach the other day. This doesn't really belong in the fine print but I just want your sympathy.
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