Is mineral sunblock better than chemical sunblock?

Mineral Sunblock vs. Chemical Sunblock

By now you may realize that there are two types of sunscreen on the market. The stuff that rubs in, and the stuff that “doesn’t”. The cheap stuff at the drug store, and the expensive stuff at Whole Foods.

So does it really matter what you are purchasing and what you are putting on your skin? Here we break down the difference between the two so you can decide.


Mineral Sunblock: 

What ingredients block the sun? Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

How does it block the sun? Zinc and/or titanium dioxide act as a physical block. They sit on the surface of the skin and deflect harmful rays from the surface of the skin. 

How effective is it? Minerals protect from UVA & UVB rays, begin working instantly and last longer in direct sunlight. Mineral sunscreens are also the preferred type for sensitive skin and for those who are prone to redness. 

Is it safe for the skin? Minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safe for the skin as they do not enter the bloodstream. Zinc oxide & Titanium dioxide may cause allergenic effects if airborne and inhaled. 


Pros: Safer for the skin and bloodstream. Less frequent reapplication.

Cons: Can be white, thick and difficult to rub in, may be more expensive. 


Chemical Sunblock: 

What ingredients block the sun? Chemical sunscreens contain carbon-based compounds such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone.

How does it block the sun? Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing rays and converting them to heat, then relating the heat from the skin. 

How effective is it? Chemical sunscreens are effective and actually require a less precise application over mineral sunscreen. However, chemical sunscreens may not protect the skin as long and must be applied often. 

Is it safe for the skin? Chemical sunscreens tend to be irritating and drying. The chemical Oxybenzone is not safe for the skin. Oxybenzone may cause a photoallergic reaction, disrupt the hormone system and affect the reproductive system

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Pros: Easier to rub in. No white-cast. You can get away with a less precise application. 

Cons: Chemicals not safe for our system or eco-system, More frequent application.

Shop Sunscreen & Stay Protected

You can find mineral & chemical sunscreen blocks at The Green Beauty Collective:

Salt & Stone SPF 30: 20% Zinc Oxide $22

CyberDERM Everyday Sun Whip SPF 25 : 15% zinc oxide and 7.5% encapsulated octinoxate $40

*Octinoxate: This chemical is rated a 6 on EWG database, however, CyberDERM's technology to encapsulated the octinoxate prevents skin permeation. This makes it a large particle that sits on the surface of the skin (but does not come into actual contact) while remaining in protective silica bead. Octinoxate will not enter the bloodstream. 

Further Prevention:

We can all agree that the best way to prevent sun damage is regular & daily SPF use, wearing a hat and limiting sun exposure when the sun is the strongest (between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm). 

If you've spent a little too much time in the sun unprotected, you may start to notice signs of sun damage in later years. If you are concerned about sun damage and would like to learn about skin care options that can treat this condition gently and naturally, watch the video below.


February 21, 2020 by Jacqueline Parker

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