My skincare regimen is extensive, to put it lightly. I slather miracle serums and potions on my face (and neck!) with wild abandon. But this summer, I've finally given in to some streamlining. And now there's one secret ingredient that I won't leave the house without—and what it is just might surprise you.
It's not a $500 oil phenom but good old zinc oxide. Every dermatologist I've ever interviewed (and there have been many) has insisted that mineral-based sunscreens such as zinc are the only real way to prevent skin damage and premature aging. N.Y.C.-based dermatologist, Cybele Fishman M.D. told us that it's an inert mineral that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sit on top of the skin, forming a barrier against the sun's rays. Sunscreens with zinc start protecting you as soon as you put them on. You may have heard you should look for a "broad-spectrum" product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Any sunscreen that contains the physical blocker zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will have you covered.
This year I turned 40 and my charming freckles that I hadn't seen since childhood reemerged as sunspots—significantly less charming. Dermatologist David A. Colbert M.D. told me the damage wasn't new or recently acquired. It was all the days at the beach that I lay around with nothing but a reflector and a bottle of baby oil coming back to haunt me. Colbert said the only way to truly prevent them from returning is with zinc sunscreens. Even wearing an SPF 50 UVA doesn't have the same protection as a mineral sunscreen. If zinc brings to mind the white, pasty noses of '80s lifeguards, let me introduce you to the new wave. Click through the gallery below to see the best, most lightweight and effective products out there. Happy Summer!
1. SkinMedica Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+
SkinMedica’s sunscreen ($44; skinstore.com) claims to be “very water resistant,” and combines antioxidants Green Tea, Caffeine, Vitamin E, and Picea Excelsa to help shield skin from free radicals.
2. Elta MD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45
When it comes to sunscreen, sprays are certainly the most convenient formula, yet can be tricky in terms of ensuring you receive full coverage. EltaMA’s spray ($31; dermstore.com) is white rather than clear, leaving no missed spots.
3. Chantecaille Protection Naturelle SPF Powder & Refill
The NYC based brand's powder ($72; neimanmarcus.com) melds naturally to skin whether applied to bare skin or layered over makeup, and doesn’t have the chalky feel or residue of many other powders on the market.
4. Mustela SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
Mustela’s mineral lotion ($22; mustelausa.com), intended for children and babies, provides the perfect solution for those with sensitivity to the harsh chemicals and fragrances found in many formulas.
5. CeraVe Sunscreen for Body SPF 50
Zinc Oxide is notoriously heavy, however, CeraVe’s sunscreen ($16; drugstore.com ) is lightweight and won’t disturb even sensitive skin.
6. SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50
Many sunscreen labels warn against applying near the eye area, however SkinCeuticals’ Physical Eye UV Defense ($30; skinceuticals.com) is specifically formulated for its delicate surface, and won’t cause irritation.
7. MAKE Face Primer SPF 30
This primer ($32; birchbox.com) provides an easy way to incorporate SPF into your routine, protecting against UV-rays while concealing imperfections.
8. Badger Organic Sunscreen Base with Zinc Oxide
In addition to being organic, with a base of Sunflower Oil, Beeswax, Seabuckthorn, and Vitamin E), Badger’s formula ($16; badgerbalm.com ) is environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
9. <p>Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40</p>
<p>Kiss My Face’s double-acting formula ($18; <a href="https://www.kissmyface.com/natural-sun-care-sunscreen/item/275/Natural-M... target="NEW" title="kissmyface.com">kissmyface.com</a>) incorporates Hydresia, a moisturizing oleosome from safflower, as well as a clear, water-resistant formula.</p>
10. Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder SPF 45
With sunscreen needing reapplication every 80 minutes, this mineral powder ($30; sephora.com) is perfect for quick touch ups, and unlike most sunscreens, leaves a matte finish.