These natural face sunscreens block UV rays with mineral ingredients rather than chemicals.
What Are Natural (AKA Mineral) Sunscreens?
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A few weeks ago, chemical sunscreen users everywhere panicked as the FDA issued a statement that some of the chemicals in sunscreen enter your bloodstream. The agency is still looking into whether the chemicals cause harm, but many people are switching to mineral sunscreens just to play it safe.
Refresher: Mineral (AKA physical) sunscreens are typically zinc oxide- and titanium oxide-based and they don't sink into your skin the way chemical sunscreens do. "Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and work like a mirror reflecting the sun’s UVA and UVB rays," says Deanne Robinson, M.D., a Connecticut-based dermatologist. While mineral sunscreens are casually referred to as natural sunscreens, they're not technically all natural. Their ingredients do go through a chemical process during formulation, but on the whole, they're a clean option, and unquestionably safer than going without sunscreen. (In case you're wondering, DIY all-natural sunblock is a recipe for sun damage.)
Whether or not you're fazed by the recent FDA warning, you're better off choosing mineral if you have sensitive skin. "People with sensitive skin should use physical SPF," says Tanya Kormeili, M.D., a Santa Monica-based dermatologist. "Chemical sunscreens such as those containing avobenzone can be irritating." Plus, some chemicals commonly found in sunscreens have been linked to coral reef damage, leading some places to ban sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate.
In case any of above have you wanting to make a switch, here are the best natural sunscreens for your face.
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Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+, 3oz
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Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+
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A hit on Reddit, this sunscreen milk contains plant ingredients like centella asiatica and acai. It's rated PA+++, meaning it offers a high level of protection from UVA rays.
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30+
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Dr. Robinson recommends Australian brand Blue Lizard's sunscreens, especially for people who'll be sharing with their kids. If you're bad at reapplying, carry this natural sunscreen with you. Its bottle turns blue when hit with harmful UV rays, so you'll get a little reminder to use it every few hours and seek shade. The bestseller on Amazon is water resistant, formulated for sensitive skin, and has received a 1 score for safety (1 being the best on a scale of 1-10) by EWG.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Body and Face Gentle-Lotion Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
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Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer
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Kopari Sundaze Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 30
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Kopari's natural sunscreen earns Sephora's clean beauty seal for its ingredient list. It's formulated to block skin from blue (HEV) light, the light rays emitted from smartphones and other screens that are said to damage skin's collagen and elastin. This sunscreen also contains hydrating ingredients like coconut water and hyaluronic acid.
Sun Bum SPF 50 mineral lotion
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This natural sunscreen cream checks all the boxes. With a water-resistant, non-greasy formula that offers broad-spectrum protection, it'll have your back during outdoor runs or beach outings.
ISDIN Mineral Brush Facial Powder 50
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Dr. Robinson recommends this powder mineral sunscreen for reapplication and protecting hard-to-reach areas like your ears and hair part. "This shouldn't be your primary form of sun protection, but is great for touchups and layering overtop of makeup," she says.