We asked a dermatologist what to look for in a mineral sunscreen — here are 7 recommendations at every budgetFebruary 17, 2021
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- Sunscreen should be a part of your daily skin-care routine year-round.
- Mineral sunscreens are generally regarded as an effective alternative to chemical ones.
- We spoke with celebrity dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman about the need-to-knows for mineral sunscreen.
Every time we step outside, our skin is exposed to harmful UVA and UVB rays. Even 10 minutes of sun exposure per day can add up to significant sun damage over time. Using sunscreen is a simple and necessary step to keep skin looking healthy, and, more importantly, for preventing health risks like skin cancer. During the summer, when the sun’s exposure is at its height, it’s more important than ever to get serious about protecting your skin.
Recently, there has been a lot of debate surrounding the effects of chemical sunscreens — more specifically, the ingredients oxybenzone and avobenzone — on our overall health. The question of whether or not these ingredients affect our bodies long-term has yet to be answered, but what we know is that they’ve been found to linger in our blood system after use. If you’d feel more comfortable forgoing any ingredients in question, mineral sunscreens are a great alternative.
On a mission to find a daily mineral sunscreen that blends easily into skin, I reached out to an expert. Dr. Dendy Engelman, board-certified dermatologic surgeon and celebrity dermatologist, stepped in to give us the low-down on mineral sunscreens. Below, we round up seven mineral sunscreens, as recommended by Dr. Engleman and our team of testers.
These are the best lightweight mineral sunscreens in 2021:
SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield
How do mineral sunscreens work?
Mineral sunscreens (also called physical blockers) contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These ingredients work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays, whereas chemical sunscreens penetrate deeper and convert UV rays into heat that then gets released from the skin.
Mineral sunscreens are a great choice for people with sensitive, acne-prone, and rosacea-affected skin. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of 30 or higher, and Dr. Engelman cautions that the product needs to be applied generously and in all areas exposed to the sun, or else UV light can still get between the molecules.
What ingredients to look for when buying a mineral sunscreen
If you’re looking to avoid chemical sunscreens and use a mineral option instead, make sure to read your labels. Here are the ingredients you should look for, and avoid, when searching for a mineral sunscreen.
Look for these: titanium dioxide, zinc dioxide
Avoid these: oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone
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