We’ll be honest—the topic of sunscreen has gotten a bit complicated (or should we say heated?) in the past few years. Previously, the major concern was merely whether or not we were wearing the stuff, but now, what’s in or not in our go-to formula seems to be the center of the sunscreen debate. Essentially, you have two options when it comes to SPF: a chemical formula or a physical formula, which are also oftentimes referred to as mineral sunscreens.
The main difference between the two is that chemical options contain avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone as their key sun-protecting ingredients, while physical/mineral options feature titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. Of course, there’s also the issue of how they work differently to deflect against sun damage. According to Piedmont Healthcare, chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays that hit our skin, converting the rays into heat, which is then released from the body. Mineral formulas, on the other hand, sit on the skin and reflect the sun’s damaging rays. While chemical sunscreens have been getting a little bit of a stink eye as of late, both types of sunblock have their pros and cons. My go-to facialist, Renée Rouleau, dives deep on those here.
Right now, however, we’re talking mineral sunscreens, which are often less irritating, are immediately effective (no wait time after application!), and naturally provide broad-spectrum defense against both UVA and UVB rays. Oh, and they’re also touted to have a longer shelf life (more money saved for you) and are less likely to clog your pores—great news for someone like me with easily provoked, acneic skin.
Because I’m ridiculously picky when it comes to things I put on my skin and because I happen to receive, test, and try virtually every beauty product in the game, I’m sharing my personal list of mineral sunscreen favorites—the face, body, hair, lip, and everywhere-else formulas I personally use or recommend to my friends and family. Keep scrolling!