How do I know what is the safest sunscreen to use these days 2023?

The Battle Between Mineral-Based and Chemical-Based Sunscreen

Welcome, sun lovers, beach-goers, and outdoor enthusiasts of every variety! Whether your adventures take you to a summer barbeque, an intense hiking trail, or simply your backyard garden, one thing’s certain: sunscreen is an essential companion. We all know the drill. Slather on the lotion, spray or stick, and off we go into the sun’s warm embrace, confident we’ve done our best to protect our skin from harmful UV rays. But what if I told you there’s an ongoing battle, hidden behind those sun-kissed moments? This war is not fought with swords or shields, but with ingredients found within our sunscreen bottles. It’s the battle between mineral-based and chemical-based sunscreens.


The Contenders: Mineral-Based Vs. Chemical-Based Sunscreens

The world of sunscreens can be categorized broadly into two types: Mineral (physical) and Chemical sunscreens. The primary difference lies in how they function to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.


The Superior Choice: Mineral-Based Sunscreens

At the crux of this debate, we find two distinct types of sunscreens: mineral (also known as physical) and chemical. Mineral-based sunscreens employ nature-derived minerals, primarily zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, to form a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, reflecting harmful UV rays. Conversely, chemical sunscreens use various chemicals to absorb UV radiation before it can penetrate the skin. So, which one emerges victorious? When we consider aspects such as skin sensitivity, potential toxicity, and environmental impact, mineral-based sunscreens stand tall as the clear champion.


Best Mineral Sunscreens For The Face

  • Badger Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen Stick SPF 35: This sunscreen is a personal favorite due to its skin-friendly and sun-resilient ingredients. With a hefty 22.5% of uncoated zinc oxide, it provides excellent sun protection. The organic extra virgin olive oil nourishes the skin and doesn’t oxidize in the sun. Other base ingredients such as organic beeswax, organic cocoa butter, organic shea butter, and sunflower vitamin E ensure your skin is nurtured and cared for, sans toxic chemicals.

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  • Think Everyday Face Sunscreen SPF 30+: Whether you’re running errands, taking a stroll in the park, or just chilling on your patio, Think’s Everyday Face Sunscreen is a dependable pal. It has a clean mineral formula and is water resistant.


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  • Raw Elements Face & Body SPF 30: This one is the Swiss Army knife of sunscreens. If you’re all about cutting clutter and prefer a one-and-done kind of deal, then this is your match. Face, body, beach, or mountains, Raw Elements has got you covered, literally. It is EWG’s top rated sunscreen and lasts up to 80 minutes without having the need to reapply.



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These were the Champions of the mineral-based side, specifically tailored for facial use! And for those casual, sun-dappled days when you’re not planning on going for a swim or sweating it out, Cocokind Daily SPF is your go-to option. This little champ in the yellow bottle is perfect for daily protection, serving as your sun-shielding sidekick from dawn to dusk.


Best Mineral Sunscreens for Your Body

Now, moving on from your face to the rest of your body, let’s explore some top-notch mineral-based sunscreens that have been formulated specifically to protect your body:


  • Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50: A high-performance sunscreen, it’s like an invisible bodyguard for your skin. Whether you’re playing beach volleyball or hiking a sunlit trail, this sunscreen ensures your skin is sheltered from those intense UV rays.
  • Badger Clear Zinc Oxide Sport Sunscreen SPF 35: No stranger to us, this trusty pal from the facial sunscreens also makes an appearance here, showing off its versatility. It’s equally good at protecting your body as it is your face.


  • Thrive Market Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30: A sunscreen that believes in doing its job without any fuss. Its high-quality formulation is all about keeping you safe under the sun, while you get on with your day.



And for the little sun-seekers out there, there’s no need to get a different sunscreen. These adult formulations are gentle yet effective enough to keep your kiddos safe under the sun. After all, good sun protection knows no age limit.



Toxic Chemicals in Chemical-Based Sunscreens

While chemical-based sunscreens have been widely used and are effective in protecting against UV rays, concerns have been raised about the potential toxic effects of certain active ingredients. Some of these chemicals have been linked to hormonal disruptions, skin allergies, and even possible environmental damage.


Here are the culprits you should keep an eye out for:
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Avobenzone
  • Parabens
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)


The Environmental Impact: Another Side to the Sunscreen Battle

The battle between mineral-based and chemical-based sunscreens goes beyond your skin, extending to the environment. Recent studies have shown that certain chemical sunscreens can harm aquatic life, particularly coral reefs. Oxybenzone and octinoxate, common in chemical sunscreens, have been linked to coral bleaching, a phenomenon that can lead to the death of these critical marine ecosystems.
Meanwhile, mineral sunscreens, primarily those that use non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, are considered reef-safe. These minerals don’t break down as easily in the water, lessening their impact on marine life. In fact, Hawaii and Key West have already taken legal steps to ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, underscoring the seriousness of this environmental concern.
So, choosing mineral sunscreens is not only a win for your skin, but it’s also a win for our oceans and the amazing creatures that call it home. As the saying goes, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints,” and that includes our sunscreen’s footprint on the environment.


Tips for Applying Sunscreen Effectively

Armed with the knowledge of which type of sunscreen to choose, let’s dive into some tips to ensure that your sunscreen works effectively.


Quantity Matters: No matter the SPF, ensure to apply enough sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend a shot glass (approximately an ounce) for the body and a nickel-sized dollop for the face.
Time it Right: Sunscreen needs time to soak into your skin to work effectively. Apply it at least 15-30 minutes before heading outside.
Don’t Skip the Lips and Ears: These areas are often forgotten but can suffer from sunburn just as easily as other parts of your body. Use a lip balm with SPF and apply sunscreen to your ears as well.
Reapply Often: Sunscreen isn’t a one-and-done deal. It should be reapplied every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Even “water-resistant” sunscreens can lose their effectiveness after 40-80 minutes in the water.
Don’t Rely Solely on Sunscreen: Remember, sunscreen is just one part of a comprehensive sun protection plan. Seek shade during peak sun hours (10 AM to 2 PM), wear protective clothing, and don’t forget your sunglasses.
Bottom Line
The battle between mineral-based and chemical-based sunscreens isn’t just a matter of skin protection, it’s a question of overall health and environmental conservation. Your choice of sunscreen affects not just you, but the world around you. By making informed decisions, we contribute not only to our well-being but also to the well-being of our planet. So the next time you venture out into the sun, consider your choices wisely. In this battle, you have the power to choose the winner.



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  1. CR says:

    Loved this article! Thank you for sharing this information with us

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