Mineral Sunscreens (sometimes called physical sunscreens) are quite different than the common sunscreens we grew up with. Top mineral sunscreens* are much healthier and more effective at keeping sunburn and skin cancer at bay, but they call for a different approach to skincare in the sun.
Thicker than chemical sunscreens, top mineral sunscreens last longer and offer comprehensive UVA and UVB protection. A little goes a long way, they don’t need application 20 minutes before sun exposure, and they don’t degrade in the sunshine like chemical varieties.
Top mineral sunscreens don’t squirt and spread as easily as those using synthetic chemicals as active or inactive ingredients because they don’t have those nasty chemicals to keep them emulsified in the tube and thinner to spread. But once applied, they work better by a wide margin.
1. Knead tube to mix.
Most truly mineral sunscreens lack chemicals to keep ingredients homogenized, so a bit of water may squirt from tube varieties before the thicker cream appears. This is totally OK, and there’s nothing wrong with your sunscreen. Just close the lid and knead the tube, which should reduce (but not totally prevent) any water separation. Of course, if you’re using a sunscreen stick, you can skip this step.
2. Dot onto skin in sections.
Mineral sunscreen goes on differently than the common brands. When using mineral sunscreen tube varieties, first squirt some onto fingertips and apply it in small dots on sections of the body.
3. Spread out over one area at a time.
Once a section is dotted, continue to spread and thin out into an almost invisible layer across your skin. And if you’re using a sunscreen stick, use the applicator to dot onto the skin, then spread and rub similarly.
4. Rub in to eliminate whiteness.
After you’ve spread out the sunscreen, you can further rub in the cream to a thinner coverage and basically eliminating the white color on your skin. It takes a few more seconds, but you can achieve complete coverage without any white residue. Mineral sunscreen will not fully absorb into the skin like chemical sunscreens, even though after rubbing it can appear transparent.
PRO TIP > For little kids, leave a bit showing. Truth is you may want a little to show so you’ll know where it is and more importantly, the places you’ve missed. When they wipe it off with a towel, you’ll clearly know where reapplication is needed. Plus zinc oxide is the only sunscreen active ingredient that’s FDA approved for use on infants less than 6 months old.
5. Walk proud and feel good.
Mineral sunscreens are better for you, your kids, and your planet. They keep you from sunburning, protect from skin cancer (much) better than chemical versions, they don’t bombard you with nasty toxins that cause hormonal changes, and they won’t hurt reefs and other water habitats. Like paleo dieting and intermediate fasting, mineral sunscreens are a best practice from our past to live a better life in our present. That white sunscreen on your face is a nod to ancestral wisdom and a badge of smart living. Wear it proudly.
It’s true. Mineral sunscreens are different than common sunscreens. They are usually thicker and whiter and are healthier and more effective and longer-lasting … and they’re the only way to truly thrive in the sun.
PRO TIP > If the white residue still gives you trouble, try a tinted sunscreen or a tinted sunscreen stick. Both are made for facial areas, and can be used anywhere.
* Just because a sunscreen calls itself “healthy” or “mineral” or “for sensitive skin” or “broad spectrum” or any other marketing catch all, does not mean it’s as good as it needs to be. Before choosing a sunscreen, always read the sunscreen label and research each active and inactive ingredient. Regardless of marketing messages, avoid any product that uses anything other than non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide as an active ingredient (titanium dioxide is not as good at protecting across the entire UVA/UVB spectrum), uses less than 25% zinc oxide (the highest concentration legally allowed), or uses any inactive ingredients you’re unsure of.