Okay I admit it, I don’t wear sunscreen everyday–which is horrible from what I hear/read! Not only does sunscreen protect you from future skin cancer and damage but it also prevents wrinkles and “age spots”. I guess the reason (or excuse rather) that I haven’t completely committed myself to a daily sunscreen regime is due to the fact that until recently I had not found one that I really liked! My face is already prone to oiliness and breakouts and most sunscreens just exacerbated this! Not mention the fact that many sunscreens contain some questionable chemicals…
There are two types of sunscreen (abbreviated as ss from here on): chemical and physical. Chemical ss absorbs the rays, whereas a physical one blocks the rays. Anything with hard to pronounce active ingredients ( like avobenzone or octinoxate) is usually a chemical ss. Physical ss usually contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. Personally I prefer to use a physical ss, especially for my face as they are often less irritating.
When looking for a physical ss it’s best to try and find one that does not contain nano particles, which some studies have shown to increase absorption into the blood stream and free radicals (again I’m not a science person, so Google if you want a real explanation). Most companies use micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which from my understanding is not the same as using nano particles, it just means they are finely ground (that’s how they make them translucent–I clearly recall using some pasty white zinc ss as a kid that must not have been micronized because it made my nose snow white).
Most sites I’ve visited recommend a high zinc oxide based ss for children as it is the most gentle formula and blocks UVA and UVB rays. So with that information I decided that I wanted to find a zinc only based ss for my sensitive/clog prone face. Zinc is also said to help calm irritated skin (hence the inclusion of it in many diaper creams). In my search I found a few that met my criteria:
Badger SPF 30– haven’t tried it, but most reviews say it’s very thick, chalky and pasty so doesn’t sound like something I would want on my face all day everyday!
BurnOut SPF 32– on my list to try, isn’t supposed to be too greasy nor chalky
Devita Solar 30– I LOVE this ss! I ordered a sample pack from Lucky Vitamin and it came with a small pot of this. It goes on very smooth, just like a moisturizer would. It’s not greasy but also not dry or chalky! Those with very dry skin may need to use a moisturizer first (though I think their new formulation now has hyaluronic acid). My mineral make up goes on really well after this, unlike a lot of ss that leaves my foundation and blush splotchy. My only complaint is that this ss isn’t officially SPF rated (probably because it’s expensive to get SPF rated and they are a small Arizona company), so I don’t know if I would trust it for a super sunny day at the beach or pool, but it is a great daily ss! Many people use Devita’s body block on their face instead, as it has almost the same ingredients but it’s way cheaper!
Epicuren Zinc– also on my list, I’ve heard very good things about it!
Loving Naturals SPF 30– yet another one on my to try list, it rates as a zero on EWG’s Skin Deep!
Pratima Neem Rose– I really want to try this ss, I’ve heard/read really great things about it! Unfortunately it’s only available through Pratima’s site and shipping is a ridiculous $12 for this $16 tube of ss. I just can’t justify that (especially since it would only be going from NYC to DC, not far)… They have a brick and mortar store in New York City so if I ever happen to be there I will go pick it up and save myself the money!
Soleo Organics SPF 30– rates well on EWG’s Skin Deep (only a 1), I haven’t tried it because reviews say it’s greasy, so it may work well for dry skin (mine is already on the oily side so would be a bad match for me)
UV Natural SPF 30– also supposed to be more on the greasy side…
This is a really good compilation of zinc based ss , it even lists approximate prices and ingredients! http://www.makeupalley.com/user/notepad/zincsunscreens
You may be wondering why I mentioned only SPF 30 ss. Well, many studies have shown that anything above 30 doesn’t necessarily protect better (it’s more of a false sense of security and people tend to not reapply as often). The U.S. doesn’t have regulations regarding SPF number labeling. Australia only allows SPF number ratings up to 30 and the European Union’s limit is 50.
It’s also important to remember that SPF ratings can NOT be added up. For example, if you put on a moisturizer with SPF 15 and then a ss with SPF 30 that does NOT mean that your protection adds up to 45, it means that your protection is 30 (or whatever the highest number rating is of the products you applied).
Lastly, your mineral foundation powder with an SPF 20 rating ultimately does not cut it. Powder ss ratings aren’t that accurate in the end because you would have to use A LOT of powder to achieve that rating, it would need to be caked on, which obviously most people don’t want to do with their foundation.