Any dermatologist will tell you that most important thing you can do to keep your skin healthy—no contest—is to slather on the SPF. It’s your first line of defense against the sun’s harmful rays, and the most effective way to protect yourself from skin aging and, far worse, skin cancer. Of all of the formulas on the shelves these days, dermatologists continually sing the praises of mineral sunscreens.
A quick science lesson, as to why: There are sunscreens and sunblocks. Sunscreens, commonly recognized as “organic filters” such as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, absorb the sun’s UV rays and convert them to heat within the skin to keep you protected. Sunblocks or mineral filters, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, actually create a physical block between the sun and your skin, so the rays never penetrate.
“Mineral sunblocks put a layer of protection on the skin like a shield, so the sun’s rays literally bounce off of it,” explains dermatologist Shari Marchbein, MD. Using a mineral sunscreen means that it will block both UVA and UVB rays or give broad spectrum coverage. “The reason why we want broad spectrum is UVA is usually what causes what we think of as skin aging, sun spots and wrinkles, and then skin cancer. UVB is that immediate burn.”
And what’s more, mineral blockers might just be the safest option on the market. In February, the FDA released a statement claiming that only two of the sixteen common active ingredients in sunscreen—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—were “Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective” or GRASE, which gives me major “grool” flashbacks if I’m being honest.
Traditionally, the biggest drawback of using any sort of mineral block was the fact that it would leave a chalky residue on skin, but thanks to new formulations and advances in technology, that’s no longer the case. Case in point: Drunk Elephant and Supergoop (among many, many others) offer tinted mineral SPF products so they blend in better, and Bare Republic now has a product that’s got glitter in it. See below to shop those selects, plus a few more of our favorite mineral sunblocks for 2019.
Shop mineral sunscreen
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