What Are Mineral Sunscreens?
Mineral sunscreens, sometimes called physical sunscreens, use Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide to block harmful UV light from reaching the skin. Instead of absorbing into your skin, mineral sunscreens stay on the surface, deflecting UV rays like thousands of tiny shields.
Chemical Sunscreens are the most common type of sunscreen and can typically be found on shelves at any drugstore or supermarket. The chemicals absorb into the deeper layers of your skin, allowing the sun’s rays to be absorbed as well. The chemicals provide protection by converting the absorbed UV rays into heat, which is released into the skin. UV light can also destroy the chemicals in the sunscreen, leaving you unprotected.
Mineral-based sunscreens, on the other hand, use Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide (sometimes both) to form an invisible barrier on your skin’s surface, which reflects and scatters UV rays away from your body. These minerals do not degrade in UV light, so you stay protected. When you use a mineral sunscreen, the sunscreen’s active ingredients do not absorb into your body, which can reduce the chance of irritation.
What is Zinc Oxide?
Zinc Oxide is a white-colored powder believed to have been used medicinally as early as 500 BC. Today, it can be found in food products, bandages, medicines and sunscreens. It is even used in calamine lotion as a treatment for diaper rash.
As a sunscreen ingredient, Zinc Oxide offers true broad spectrum protection, blocking the widest range of harmful UV rays. While older Zinc Oxide-based sunscreens would leave a white cast on the skin, modern formulations (including Blue Lizard Sunscreens) are designed to rub in clear and dry smooth on skin.
What is Titanium Dioxide?
Titanium Dioxide is an odorless powder often used as a white pigment. In fact, “titanium white” is the most commonly used pigment on the market, giving medications and candy their white sheen. Its characteristic brightness comes from Titanium Dioxide’s outstanding ability to reflect UV rays. Titanium Dioxide’s superior light reflection makes it the perfect mineral to work alongside Zinc Oxide to protect your skin from UV rays.
Why Do Dermatologists and Pediatricians Recommend Mineral Sunscreens?
Experiencing five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 increases one’s melanoma risk by 80 percent and nonmelanoma skin cancer risk by 68 percent.
Pick a sunscreen with
- Broad spectrum protection
- SPF 30 or higher
Studies have shown that by using a quality sunscreen daily, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer, premature aging, melasma and dark spots.
Pick a sunscreen with:
- Broad spectrum protection
- SPF rating of at least 15
- No Oxybenzone (a chemical sunscreen ingredient)
Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide for use on at least the nose, cheeks and tops of ears or for children with sensitive skin.
Remember, even one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double a person's chance of developing melanoma.
SPF Protection With Minerals
SPF stand for Sun Protection Factor and measures a sunscreen’s ability to block UVB rays. Zinc Oxide is able to block the full spectrum of UVB rays, providing superior SPF protection. While some big sunscreen companies push the idea that higher SPF sunscreens keep you protected longer, the actual difference in protection is smaller than you may expect.
An SPF 15 product blocks about 94 percent of UVB rays while an SPF 30 product blocks only 97 percent of UVB rays. After that, the difference in protection between an SPF 30 sunscreen and an SPF 50 sunscreen is a minuscule 1 percent, and no sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays.
There is also a common misconception that higher SPF sunscreens allow you to stay in the sun longer without reapplying, but this just isn’t true. Every sunscreen, regardless of SPF, should be reapplied at least every 2 hours. If you’re swimming or sweating, you should be reapplying every 40 or 80 minutes, depending on the water resistance rating of your sunscreen.
Broad Spectrum Protection With Minerals
Broad spectrum refers to a sunscreen’s ability to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. The broader the coverage the better. A sunscreen must undergo strict testing to be called “broad spectrum.” Studies have shown that Zinc Oxide is the only sunscreen agent that provides protection from UVB, short-wave UVA and long-wave UVA rays, making it the most reliable broad spectrum sunscreen agent available. Dermatologists stress the importance of broad spectrum protection and its role in preventing skin cancers.
UVA rays, or aging rays, make up the majority of UV light that reaches the earth’s surface—about 95 percent. UVA rays can pass through windows and clouds, making them dangerous even when it doesn’t feel “sunny” outside. These rays can cause premature aging, wrinkles and dark spots. They can also cause skin cancer—including melanoma.
UVB rays are responsible for every beach-goer’s enemy: sunburn. UVB rays’ tendency to cause sunburn has earned them the title of “burning rays.” Like UVA rays, UVB rays are another leading cause of skin cancer.
Benefits of Mineral Sunscreens
Mineral sun protection is often a better option for those with sensitive, oily or acne-prone skin. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide tend to be easier on the skin than chemicals included in other types of sunscreens. Plus, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide have been shown to camouflage skin redness and prevent irritation, especially in those with sensitive skin.
Rosacea and Mineral Sunscreen
Eczema and Mineral Sunscreen
Mineral sunscreen is more than just a buzzword: it is a tried-and-trusted alternative to chemical sunscreens. Dermatologists trust Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to deliver chemical-free, physical sun protection to you and your family. Pediatricians trust them to be gentle enough for your children. Mineral sunscreens are even a good choice for those with sensitive skin, eczema or rosacea.
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