The 8 Best Non-Toxic Sunscreens for Summer 2019
The importance of wearing sunscreen to prevent burns, visible signs of aging, and skin cancer is a no-brainer. It's the ingredients in the SPF products you're slathering on every day that make this skincare category so controversial.
There's a lot to consider when choosing sunscreen, the biggest debate being whether you should go with a chemical or physical SPF. Traditionally, chemical sunscreens are made up of, well, chemicals, that absorb into the skin to absorb the sun's rays so you don't burn. Physical sunscreens use minerals like zinc and titanium dioxide, which act like a mirror to reflect the rays away from your skin.
Many chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like oxybenzone, which is now considered an environmental hazard to coral reefs. That same ingredient has also sparked controversy, as it's argued as being a potential hormone disrupter. So, if you're looking for an effective, reef-friendly, non-toxic SPF in 2019, a mineral sunscreen might be your best bet.
As for what SPF level you should go with? Think 30 or higher. "In general, SPF 30 or higher will block 97 percent of UVB rays," says Houston TX-based dermatologist, Dr. Susan Chon. "However, to have full-spectrum coverage without a chemical sunscreen, the product should also contain zinc oxide."
There's dozens of mineral sunscreens out there that offer this level of protection, but there's only problem: Zinc is notorious for leaving a white, greasy cast on skin. Thankfully, physcial sunscreen formulas have come a long way, and there's now options that go on without a trace, too.
Here, the eight best mineral sunscreens with clean, non-toxic, non-greasy formulas to wear this summer.
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IF YOU'RE PRONE TO SPILLING: Bare Republic Mineral Sport Stick SPF 50
The bottom line: Whatever the tube or bottle, there's always the chance of a liquid sunscreen spilling all over the contents of your bag. That's where a stick sunscreen comes in. Bare Republic's mess-proof SPF is a zinc oxide formula that also contains vitamin E to protect skin from environmental damage, plus shea butter for extra hydration.
IF YOU'RE LAZY: Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist
There's really no excuse for not wearing SPF when spray-on formulas exist. How to apply these sunscreens is pretty self-explanatory, but not all spray formulas are created equially. Beautycounter's is one of our favorites because the non-aerosol, non-nano, zinc oxide-based mist also protects against blue light rays emitted from eletronics like computer and iPhone screens. While it sprays on white so you can ensure you've preotected all exposed skin, it blends effortless and doesn't feel sticky or greasy — just don't forget to reapply often.
IF YOU HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN: Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Fragrance-Free Lotion SPF 30
Whether you have a fragrance allergy or sensitive skin, this scent-free, waterproof formula is your best bet. Even better: The biodegradable formula is completely void of ingredients identified as potential hormone disrupters and harmful to coral reefs.
IF YOU HAVE OILY SKIN: MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 30 Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB Sunscreen
Think of a MDSolarSciences lightweight cream as a sunscreen and makeup primer in one. On top of providing SPF 30 protection, the formula mattifies, controls oil, and is slightly tinted to make skin look more even.
IF YOU HAVE A DARK SKIN TONE: UNSUN Mineral Tinted Sunscreen
Physical sunscreens might be considered the safe sunscreen choice, but mineral ingredients like zinc oxide are notorious for leaving a white cast on skin — especially on dark skin tones. That's where UNSUN's tinted SPF comes in. Specifically formulated for deep complexions, it goes on without a trace. The formula also contains shea butter, vitamin E, and fruit extracts for extra hydration and free radical protection.
IF YOU PLAN TO GET SWEATY: Juice Beauty
If your outdoor plans involve physical activity like going for a run, opt for a sweat-proof sunscreen that's not going to melt off. Juice Beauty's SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen does just that. It's a non-nano face and body lotion that stays water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
IF YOU'RE ON A DRUGSTORE RUN: Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion With SPF 30
Yep, there's clean sunscreen options at the drugstore, too. Neutrogena's zinc oxide-based sunscreen features technology that helps it dry quick without that infamous greasy finish. And if you have a skin condition like eczema, this SPF is a great choice for you, too. The formula is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, so it's easy on sensitive skin.
FOR MINERAL SPF FIRST-TIMERS: Suntergrity Skincare Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body
Approved by the EWG, this natural mineral SPF is a safe choice for anyone who's making the switch from chemical sunscreens for the first time. The formula, which can be used from head-to-toe, goes on smooth and isn't greasy. Plus, it's vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn't contain parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil.