Have you ever been out in the sun and noticed that your skin feels irritated and has a burning sensation, even though you put on sunscreen?
Some people with sensitive skin experienced skin irritation and redness due to the chemical ingredients in many common sunscreens. For those individuals, mineral sunscreens for the face are a must!
Mineral sunscreen contains physical barriers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead of harsh chemicals, making them less likely to cause outbreaks or exacerbate allergies. In this article we’ll review some of the best mineral sunscreens for face use and why they’re a better choice than chemical ones.
Why Do So Many People Choose a Mineral Sunscreen for Face Use?
There are a variety of face sunscreens available, but increasingly more peope are opting specifically for physical mineral sunscreens, rather than chemical sunscreens, for their face.
This is largely due to some controversy around certain chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which some fear alters hormone distribution as well as increasing risk for skin irritation, if you have sensitive skin.
In general, mineral sunscreen ingredients are considered less irritating and more suitable for those with sensitive skin types.
While many people do find that mineral sunscreens work best for their face, others prefer a chemical sunscreen in order to avoid the white cast associated with mineral sunscreens.
The good news is that many newer mineral face sunscreens are designed to eliminate and white cast and go on just as smooth as any chemical sunscreen.
What to Look For in a Physical Mineral Sunscreen for Use on Your Face?
- Ingredients. For those who are opting for a mineral sunscreen, you’ll want to look for a sunblock that has zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These two ingredients are some of the best natural, mineral ingredients used to block both UVA and UVB rays. The best mineral sunscreens for face use will usually have listed one or both of these in their ingredient list.
- SPF Rating. When buying a sunscreen to use on your face, look closely at the SPF rating of the product to make sure that it’s at least 30 SPF.
- Sweat-proof and water proof. Most will want to ensure that the mineral sunscreen they choose will be sweat proof and water proof. While this isn’t always a necessity, a sweatproof formula is essential if you plan on working out or doing physical activity during the day, and you’ll certainly want a water resistant formula if you plan on going swimming!
- Ease of Application. For best results, most people will want to choose a mineral sunscreen for their face that’s easy to apply. Lotions are popular and fairly easy, but some individuals may prefer mineral powder sunscreens for their face or even sunscreen sticks, both of which are very quick and easy to apply (as well as reapply).
- Skin Sensitivity. Mineral sunscreens are great facial sunscreens for those who suffer from sensitive skin. Mineral-based facial sunscreens as less likely to cause outbreaks or irritate your skin as they rely more on natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. Mineral ingredients like zinc oxide in physical sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin itself to block UV penetration, unlike chemical formulas which absorb into your skin.
- Fragrance. Another plus for using a mineral sunscreen for your face is that they tend to be unscented. This is particularly nice for people with sensitive skin that tend to react poorly to strong scents or even the slight fragrance in some sunscreens.
- Makeup Compatibility. If you like to wear makeup with sunscreen during the day, you’ll likely want a mineral powder or spray that can double as a makeup setter. However, even many high-quality mineral based sunscreen lotions can perform very well under makeup, often functioning as a kind of primer. If you know you’ll be using makeup alongside your sunscreen, look for a formula that does not pill and is designed to work well with makeup.
- Tinting Properties. Some face sunscreens are tinted, offering a slight color tint that can seamlessly even out your face. For those who want a bit of extra coverage, this can be a huge bonus. However, if you religiously use foundation every day, a tinted face sunscreen may not matter much to you.
Best Physical Mineral Sunscreens to Use on Your Face
Let’s jump into our favorite physical mineral SPF sunscreens for facial use! These sunscreens are mineral-based formulas that shouldn’t irritate your skin while keeping you safe from the sun’s harmful rays!
1. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face BB Cream
Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face BB Cream was designed to combat the negative effects of UVA/UVB rays while also providing light coverage through its subtle tinted formula.
Using mineral ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the main active ingredients, it contains no oxybenzone, alcohol, dye, oils, or PABAs.
Specially formulated with ingredients like kakadu plum, red algae and eucalyptus oil, this SPF 50 broad spectrum formula will help protect your face while also providing extra antioxidant properties and vitamin C to keep your skin hydrated.
The lightweight formula is designed to not only protect your skin but also minimize fine lines and wrinkles through its matte finish, as this mineral SPF physical sunscreen doubles as a BB cream too!
This tinted sunscreen offers a perfect coverage for varying skin tones and is vegan, gluten free, cruelty free and dermatologist tested.
2. DERMA E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30
Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Powder SPF 30 is a great option for those who want a mineral SPF sunscreen for face use that relies on a powder formula.
This powder sunscreen for faces was developed in collaboration with a makeup artist, so its designed specifically to play nicely with makeup, even functioning as a setting powder. This translucent sunscreen mineral powder softens skin and absorbs excess oil to help you avoid that dreaded shine that appears on oily parts of your face throughout the day due.
With clear non-nano zinc oxide, this powder utilizes mineral ingredients that provide broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection without fear of contaminating chemical additives. Plus, this sunscreen contains bonus antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea, vitamin E, and chamomile flower extract.
This formula is designed to be eco-friendly with recycle packaging and no parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin, gluten, soy or GMOs. It’s cruelty-free and 100% vegan too!
3. CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
CeraVe is one of the most popular sunscreen brands out there, and this 100% mineral-based option is no exception. Customers love how fast this product absorbs into your skin, as well as the solid SPF 50 rating with broad spectrum protection against both UVA rays and UVB rays.
Using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as the active ingredients, this formula is best suited for those who like a cream-based formula, and it doesn’t contain any fragrances, oil, chemical filters, or parabens. This mineral face sunscreen also includes ceramides to retain moisture, and it’s oxybenzone and octinoxate-free, which means it’s compliant for use in Hawaii.
Ideal for sensitive skin and for those with skin issues like perioral dermatitis, CeraVe’s mineral sunscreen is allergy-tested and noncomedogenic (which basically means it shouldn’t irritate your skin at all).
4. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Mineral Face Sunscreen
Neutrogena’s liquid mineral sunscreen is best for those who have sensitive skin and need to avoid ingredients such as parabens, oils, fragrances, and dyes.
This quick-drying formula offers sheer coverage, so it blends easily with your makeup. It doesn’t clog pores or feel heavy at all–it even absorbs quickly into the skin and is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and oil-free.
If you’re looking for a lightweight sunscreen that stays put in the water, this is a great choice! Neutrogena’s “dry-touch technology” ensures that it dries with a non-greasy finish while providing an SPF of 50 and broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Made with naturally-sourced zinc oxide, it’s free of irritating chemicals that could cause outbreaks or rashes on your face. It also offers bonus anti-aging benefits as well thanks to its antioxidants that protect your skin against free radicals!
This face sunscreen with zinc oxide is also affordable compared to some high-end options, and it’s available at most drug stores for easy access.
5. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Ultra-Light Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a lightweight liquid mineral sunscreen that delivers broad spectrum protection from UV rays.
It also boasts an antioxidant boost to help protect your skin safe and moisture-rich. Manufactured with titanium dioxide as the active ingredient, with no irritating chemical filters, it’s a favorite pick for sensitive skin types.
The tint acts as a light coverage foundation, perfect for those days when you don’t feel like putting on a full face of makeup. With a sleek matte finish, it looks great on your face and won’t leave a white cast while evening out uneven skin tone. The formula absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving behind any heavy residue, supporting all day wear.
We also love that this formula is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and has no fragrances, so even irritation-prone skin is in good hands. With it’s mix of tinted coverage and soothing sun protection, it’s a great sunscreen for melasma sufferers too.
6. EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen is another great mineral sunscreen for the face. A favorite sunscreen brand of dermatologists, EltaMD is a popular option for those who struggle with acne prone skin, rosacea, or other skin discoloration, as its designed to be ultra-soothing and gentle on sensitive skin types.
It provides plenty of sun protection with its SPF 46 rating, and blocks UVA and UVB rays. This formula’s active ingredients are zinc oxide as well as octinoxate, which some might bother some, but most customers seem to take no issues with it.
You can apply this broad-spectrum sunscreen with ease as it uses a smooth, clear zinc application. Since it’s unscented, you don’t need worry about fragrances giving you a headache or irritating your skin.
If you’re worried about finding a sunscreen that won’t disrupt your sensitive face, there are plenty of mineral based sunscreens for face use available. We recommend looking for an unscented, hypoallergenic formula with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient, reducing any risk of being exposed to irritating chemicals. You should also always look for broad-spectrum coverage in order to protect against both types of harmful UV rays (don’t worry, all the sunscreens reviewed here are broad spectrum)!
We hope these sunscreen suggestions have proven helpful. Any favorite formulas we missed? Share them in the comments section!
FAQ for Mineral Sunscreens for Facial Use
Why should I use a mineral sunscreen on my face?
Mineral sunscreens are best suited to those with sensitive, irritation-prone skin. Chemical sunscreens can sometimes cause irritation and breakouts, while mineral SPF sunscreens lack the risk of these side effects. Mineral formulas don’t typically include ingredients such as fragrance, parabens, and other common chemical irritants.
What SPF should I look for in a good mineral sunscreen for my face?
The best mineral facial sunscreens will typically have an SPF of at least 30 – 70. This is because the delicate skin on our faces is more vulnerable than skin on any other part of our body. Choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage to best protect your face from sun damage!
How do I choose the best mineral sunscreen for my face?
Choose an unscented, oil-free formula to best suit your sensitive face. Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are both good options, as they’re generally less likely to cause irritation than other types of sunscreens. Look for a formula that doesn’t include fragrance, parabens, or common chemical irritants.
Is mineral face sunscreen different than normal body sunscreen?
Mineral formulas marketed for facial use are essentially the same as those best suited to a normal body application. However, because the skin on our faces is more delicate and vulnerable than on other parts of our bodies, face-based sunscreens tend to be more gentle and are often pose less of an irritation risk. If you rarely deal with breakouts or skin irritation due to sunscreen, you may be able to use body sunscreen on your face without issue. But those who have sensitive skin will usually want to opt for a face-specific sunscreen formula.