Sunscreen might once have been a chore to apply, with thick, heavy textures and unsightly white casts. We implore you, though, to look toward the new generation of SPFs that have evolved into something far more sophisticated. These days, there are SPF serums, milks, mists and more. They cater toward all skin types and skin tones, meaning protection against harmful UV has never been easier (nor more appealing).
What's The Difference Between Mineral And Chemical Sunscreen?
You may have heard of both chemical and mineral sunscreens. The difference between the two? Fundamentally, chemical and mineral sunscreens work in different ways to block and filter out harmful UV rays.
Chemical sunscreen use filters like octinoxate and oxybenzone, that work by absorbing harmful rays once they touch the skin. Mineral filters, which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on the surface of the skin and physically reflect those UV rays away. Mineral SPFs have historically been better for sensitive skin types, and here's why.
What Are The Benefits Of Mineral Sunscreen?
'Essentially, mineral sun creams are unlikely to cause allergy, so it is perfect for those with sensitive skin,' explains Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall. 'If pigmentation issues are a problem (for example, melasma) I would usually advise looking for a high factor broad spectrum mineral sun cream as it is probably the best at protecting against all unwanted wavelengths of light.
As mineral sun creams reflect light and don't create heat energy, they may also help to keep skin cooler, and as their formulation can be in a [compact or powder,] (it is perfect for those with sensitive skin.) they're great for using to top up your protection over make up during the day.'
Should I Use A Mineral SPF Or A Chemical SPF?
‘One is not better than the other, and it largely comes down to personal preference with regards to which SPF format you opt for,’ says consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto. With that being said, Mahto adds that ‘many people with sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may find that mineral sunscreens are less irritating to their skin.’
One advantage of a mineral SPF is that they get to work as soon as they’re applied, unlike chemical SPFs which take approximately 20 minutes after application to become effective. The downside? ‘Previously, mineral formulations were chalky and thick,’ says Mahto and those with darker skin tones may find that older, thicker formulas like these leave a white cast, ‘however, newer products rub into the skin much more easily.’
Main image credits: Instagram @haileybieber
Shop: The Best Mineral Sunscreens To Buy, 2022
Best Mineral SPFs 2022
Consider this one of the most sophisticated mineral SPFs to hit the shelves in a long time. Milky, serum-like and quick to absorb, this SPF serum leaves no trace on the skin; oily and acne-prone skin will particularly love its lightweight, fluid texture, too.
If there's one thing we know, it's that Aussies make a great SPF. New to the UK market, Naked Sundays' formulas are as hardworking as they are chic. This mineral SPF feels like a refreshing gel cream, that quenches any dryness, pronto. Despite the peachy tint it has upon application, it blends completely transparently. Much to love...
The most chic SPF we've found to date. A genuine joy to apply, this lightweight SPF has a serum-like texture that blends in seamlessly under make-up (read: no pilling). As well as protecting skin from harmful UV rays, this SPF bolsters radiance and glow with added vitamin C.
Isn't it nice to find an unsung hero in such a saturated market? This SPF deserves high praise. Scientist and fellow at The Royal Society, Bruce Green founded this skincare brand for those with highly sensitive skin. This mineral SPF is so airy, and feels more like a lightweight serum than an SPF50. Somehow, the texture feels cooling, too (perfect for fussy, easily reddened skin). This is a formula that feels far more expensive than it actually is, too; you can buy a giant 200ml bottle here for only £35. Hurrah for brilliant, accessible sun care.
6 years in the making, this silicone-free SPF is a total game changer. The formula is matte, which helps keep shine at bay. It's also housed in a bottle made from 50% recycled plastic (the highest level they can use while still protecting the active ingredients). The texture feels like a hydrating moisturiser, absorbing into skin with real ease and speed.
There's good reason everyone is obsessing over Supergoop!. The barely-there texture is a far cry from those gloopy, sticky SPFs of the past. Rather, this SPF absorbs for a second skin feel.
A great option for all the family, this SPF is a richer cream and therefore better suited for bodies rather than faces. Very sensitive skin will enjoy how mollifying the formula feels, and how it quenches any dryness.