Lifestyle

The Best Sunscreen With Zinc, According to Derms

With the Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to work in order to pick products (from skin care to self care and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently select these products, making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore the SHOP

Known to leave a white cast or a chalky residue on the skin, mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or both) has long had a bad rap. However, there are many new mineral sunscreens on the market that have overcome their reputation in recent years. “Formulas are improving dramatically on this front as technology advances,” says Geeta Yadav, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Facet Dermatology—and while you can opt to use chemical sunscreen (which are often lighter-weight and offer a more transparent finish), mineral sunscreens may be a more suitable option for some people. “It’s less likely to irritate sensitive, reactive, or acne-prone skin types,” says Dr. Yadav, making it suited for those who want a sunscreen for sensitive skin.

Whether you opt for a physical or chemical sunscreen, SPF is an important step in any skin-care routine to protect against harmful sun rays, and the “best” sunscreen is an option that you’ll actually want to apply—and reapply—year-round. Fortunately, there are many zinc sunscreens that fit the bill, promising broad-spectrum protection with the minimum recommended amount of SPF 30, and if you’ll be exposed to water, sweat, or humidity, offer adequate water resistance. Plus, most of the options ahead won’t make you look like Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Best sunscreens with zinc, at a glance

  • Best for sensitive and acne-prone skin: Blue Lizard, Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen, $18
  • Best hybrid: EltaMD, UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $43
  • Best for oily skin: Supergoop!, Mineral Matte Sunscreen SPF 40, $40
  • Best tinted: Kosas, DreamBeam Silicone-Free Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40, $40
  • Best stick: Neutrogena, Ultra Sheer Mineral Stick, $15
  • Best spray: Baby Bum, Sunscreen Spray SPF 50, $16
  • Best powder: Colorescience, Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50, $69

What is mineral sunscreen?

Mineral or physical sunscreens are typically formulated with the ingredients zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or a combination of the two)—and they’re currently the only safe and effective sunscreen actives, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, working to physically block the sun’s harmful rays. As New York-based board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein, MD, FAAD, previously told Well+Good, “Mineral sunblocks put a layer of protection on the skin like a shield, so the sun’s rays literally bounce off of it.”

Benefits of zinc sunscreen

A major benefit of zinc sunscreen—or any mineral sunscreen, for that matter—is that it offers sun protection the moment you apply it on your skin, while chemical varieties must soak into the skin anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes before they can effectively protect against the sun, says Dr. Yadav. Another benefit is that mineral sunscreen is usually well tolerated by people with sensitive or acne-prone skin. “Physical sunscreen is typically quite gentle, and those who have very sensitive or acne-prone skin and experience irritation or breakouts when using chemical SPF find that they don’t have negative reactions to physical formulations,” she says.

See also  The 13 Best Tinted Sunscreens for Oily Skin, According to Derms

Disadvantages of zinc sunscreen

Conversely, a major disadvantage to using zinc oxide sunscreen is that it can leave a white cast on the skin’s surface. “Some mineral sunscreens can appear white or gray on deeper skin tones, but there are many formulas these days that blend well into darker complexions,” says Dr. Yadav. She adds that there are mineral SPFs that come in tinted versions, many of which contain iron oxide. Sunscreens with iron oxide not only provide cosmetic coverage, the ingredient is also thought to protect against visible light exposure that may cause hyperpigmentation.

What to look for when shopping for a face sunscreen with zinc

Broad-spectrum protection with SPF 30 (or higher)

Firstly, it’s important to select a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, which “provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays, which are damaging to the skin,” says Dr. Yadav, with at least SPF 30—anything less won’t cut it, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

Water resistance

If you’ll be swimming or sweating heavily, consider a water- or sweat-resistant sunscreen. According to Dr. Yadav, “Water- and sweat-resistant formulas are best for those who—you guessed it—spend a lot of time in water or sweat frequently. For example, if you frequently participate in water sports like water skiing or water polo, are very physically active, or work strenuous jobs outdoors.” A sunscreen’s label will indicate if it is water resistant and for how long—and, ideally, you’ll want something that offers water resistance for up to 80 minutes or more, says Dr. Yadav.

Application type

Mineral sunscreens come in various formats, including lotions, sprays, sticks, and powders—and, for the most part, choosing among the available options is a matter of personal preference. Lotions area popular choice, but others might prefer the convenience of sticks or powders. “A lot of people like stick or powder sunscreen for reapplication, and powder especially if you wear makeup,” says Dr. Yadav. Some others might prefer sprays, which can make application a quick and easy process—keeping in mind that you’ll want to use spray sunscreens indoors where factors like the wind won’t disrupt application, says Dr. Yadav.

Shop the best sunscreens with zinc oxide

Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen

Best for sensitive and acne-prone skin: Blue Lizard, Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen — $18.00

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

Most zinc sunscreens are ideal for people with sensitive skin, but Blue Lizard’s mineral SPF takes it one step further by omitting potential irritants such as parabens, dyes, and fragrances from its formula. What it does have is broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection that is water resistant up to 40 minutes, plus ingredients like moisturizing hyaluronic acid and antioxidant-rich caffeine and green tea. It’s inexpensive, too—a bottle of the stuff will set you back under $18. Keep in mind that it may leave behind a white cast, but the lotion blends easily into the skin without the greasy residue.

SPF: 30

Format: Lotion

Size: 1.7 oz

  • Paraben-, dye-, and fragrance-free formula
  • Formulated for sensitive skin
  • Budget-friendly
  • Only water resistant for up to 40 minutes
  • Potential white cast

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Best hybrid: EltaMD, UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 — $43.00

See also  Here's Why You Should Wear Sunscreen on a Plane

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide and octinoxate

The EltaMD mineral sunscreen is beloved by beauty enthusiasts and dermatologists, including Dr. Yadav. “I’m a big fan of the EltaMD products, including this one, which is a mineral and chemical formula and contains niacinamide to help soothe skin irritation and inflammation,” says Dr. Yadav. The hybrid sunscreen blends zinc oxide and octinoxate, a chemical sunscreen ingredient, and it provides broad-spectrum SPF 46 protection. Plus, the formula won’t leave a white cast. As per the manufacturer’s instructions, you’ll want to apply it at least 15 minutes before sun exposure—which might be a tradeoff for those who want an SPF that works immediately.

SPF: 46

Application type: Lotion

Size: 1.7 oz

  • Recommended by Dr. Yadav
  • Paraben-, dye-, and fragrance-free formula
  • Formulated without oil, making ideal for oily or acne-prone skin
  • Must be applied at least 15 minutes before sun exposure, unlike other options on the list

Supergoop! Mineral Matte Sunscreen SPF 40

Best for oily skin: Supergoop!, Mineral Matte Sunscreen SPF 40 — $40.00

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

People with oily skin might want to look for a mineral sunscreen with an oil-free formula and lightweight consistency like this one from Supergoop. It appeared in our list of the best tinted sunscreens for oily skin, with the recommendation of New York-based board-certified dermatologist Michele Green, MD, who also mentioned that the SPF goes on “extremely sheer.” The formula contains a blend of zinc, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide, and it offers broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection while safeguarding against visible light exposure, like blue light, without leaving behind a white cast. A bonus: the sunscreen also works as a primer, helping to prevent shine and extend makeup wear.

SPF: 40

Application type: Lotion

Size: 1.5 oz (also available in 0.68 oz)

  • Recommended by Dr. Green
  • Mattifying formula absorbs oil and controls shine
  • Works well under makeup as a primer
  • May not be ideal for dry skin types

Kosas DreamBeam Silicone-Free Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40

Best tinted: Kosas, DreamBeam Silicone-Free Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40 — $40.00

Active ingredients: Non-nano zinc oxide

The Kosas DreamBeam Sunscreen has won over Well+Good editors and writers, who love its lightweight formula, and the near-invisible layer of broad-spectrum SPF 40 sun protection it leaves behind. Despite having zinc oxide as its primary ingredient, it has a peachy-pink hue to offsets the ghostly white cast that comes part and parcel with so many mineral sunscreens. Better yet, it’s made with ingredients like ceramides, peptides, and hyaluronic acid to moisturize without suffocating the skin, plus allantoin, an ingredient that’s known to soothe—and prevent—irritation.

SPF: 40

Format: Lotion

Size: 1.3 oz (also available in 0.5 oz)

  • Silicone- and fragrance-free formula
  • Formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • W+G editors have reported it doesn’t leave a white cast

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Mineral Stick

Best stick: Neutrogena, Ultra Sheer Mineral Stick — $15.00

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide

A 2023 Well+Good SPF award winner, Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Mineral Stick promises broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection and up to 80 minutes of water resistance. The formula glides smoothly on the skin, and it’s great for both the face and body. The formula is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, fragrance, and mineral oil (ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin types). As it protects against harmful rays, it moisturizes skin with antioxidant vitamin E. When using stick sunscreen or any non-liquid SPF, just be sure to apply the right amount of product to ensure full coverage from the sun’s rays.

See also  The Ultimate Guide To Foods High In Zinc: HealthifyMe

SPF: 50

Format: Stick

Size: 1.5 oz

  • Paraben-, phthalate-, sulfate-, fragrance-, and mineral oil-free formula
  • Formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • According to W+G editors, it rubs in easily

Baby Bum Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

Best spray: Baby Bum, Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 — $16.00

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

W+G contributing writer Dory Zayas has raved about the Baby Bum Sunscreen Spray, which offers broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. “The spray application makes it super easy to distribute on skin,” she previously wrote, and she also mentioned that “it doesn’t leave a chalky, white residue behind.” The sunscreen is formulated for babies, but the paraben-, dye-, and fragrance-free formula can work great for adults, too. When using it on the face, the brand recommends that you spritz the product on your hands, then apply to your skin—this will prevent the risk of it getting into your eyes.

SPF: 50

Format: Spray

Size: 3 fl oz

  • Paraben-, dye-, and fragrance-free formula
  • Formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Spray format makes it easy to apply
  • Contains coconut oil, which might irritate sensitive or acne-prone skin

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50

Best powder: Colorescience, Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 — $69.00

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

This powder sunscreen from Colorescience is easy to apply and reapply throughout the day—and it has the stamp of Dr. Yadav, who loves that it is “easy to throw in your bag and apply on the go.” Not only does it come with a convenient built-in brush, but the formula also offers broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Plus, it has iron oxide, making it ideal for people prone to hyperpigmentation. While there’s much to love about the powder sunscreen, the shade range is limited. If you want an option that goes on sheer, consider the mattifying version—just keep in mind that it only offers broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection and up to 40 minutes of water resistance.

SPF: 50

Application type: Powder

Size: 0.21 oz

  • Recommended by Dr. Yadav
  • Wears well over makeup
  • Built-in brush makes it convenient for on-the-go application
  • Only water resistant for up to 40 minutes
  • Limited shade range

Can you use zinc sunscreen everyday?

Absolutely. “You can—and should—wear any form of sunscreen everyday, including zinc oxide,” says Dr. Yadav. “Just be sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin at the end of the day.”

What sunscreen has zinc oxide?

Mineral or physical sunscreens often contain zinc oxide as one of its active ingredients—and if you want to be sure that a particular product has the ingredient, simply look at the ingredients list.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button