The Pioneer Woman posted "12 Best Natural Sunscreens for the Beach and Beyond" featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel, founder of Visha Skincare.
Protect your skin and the environment.
We all know you're supposed to protect your skin when you go outside. (It's so important to Ree Drummond, who's advocated for sun protection ever since she had a basal cell carcinoma removed from her neck when she was 30.) But why choose natural sunscreen over other kinds? While chemical sunscreens penetrate your skin's surface and absorb UV rays, generally the best natural sunscreens (also known as physical or mineral sunscreens) sit on top of your skin to block the rays entirely. This means they're less likely to irritate sensitive skin—plus they'll work right away, whereas you typically have to wait at least 30 minutes before catching some rays with the chemical kind.
The most common active ingredients in natural sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. "These ingredients are safer for you than those found in chemical sunscreens because they aren't absorbed into the body," says Dr. Purvisha Patel, MD, a Tennessee-based dermatologist and the founder of Visha Skincare. Recently, the FDA has proposed stricter regulations that would only recognize zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as safe ingredients. Natural sunscreens have environmental benefits, too: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide don't contribute to coral reef bleaching like many chemical ones.
With all these things going for it, why isn't natural sunscreen more popular? Well, the same minerals that protect your skin can make natural sunscreens thicker and leave behind a whitish cast. In most cases, a slight white tinge is unavoidable if you choose to use mineral sunscreen, but thankfully the 12 below, including sunscreen for your face, won't leave you looking like Casper.
1. BEST DRUGSTORE FIND
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Sunscreen
This hypoallergenic sunscreen is sheer enough that you can layer it under makeup. It's also fragrance-free and noncomedogenic, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
2. BEST FOR YOUR FACE
EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen
3. BEST SPRAY
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray
This sunscreen is a great pick if you're afraid of that white pallor we mentioned before: It has a matte finish. Reviewers also rave about how lightweight it is.
4. BEST WATERPROOF PICK
TropicSport Mineral Sunscreen
This sunscreen passes Australia's intense "water resistant" label test—it stays effective for up to 240 minutes in H2O! Reviewers love that it has a thick, creamy texture, but looks totally clear once applied.
5. BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen
Dr. Dendy Endelman, a New York City-based dermatologist, prefers fragrance-free and noncomedogenic sunscreens, like this one from La Roche-Posay. It's great as a facial or body sunscreen, so you can apply it all over!
6. BEST ANTI-AGING PICK
Ocean Potion Scent Of Sunshine Sunscreen
This sunscreen contains antioxidants like vitamins A, E, and C that help fight free radicals for more youthful-looking skin. The "scent of sunshine" is a subtle citrus!
7. BEST FOR KIDS
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen for Kids
Mineral sunscreen can be great for kids, since they likely won't want to wait 30 minutes to go play outside! This one doesn't have any parabens or fragrances, making it perfect for sensitive skin. Plus, it's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
8. BEST FOR MATURE SKIN
SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield
Dr. Engelman likes this sunscreen developed for mature and sensitive skin. It's slightly tinted, so it can double as foundation.
9. BEST SPORT PICK
$18.00 (25% off)
This popular sunscreen has had the Environmental Working Group's approval for more than a decade. It's waterproof for up to 80 minutes!
10. BEST BARGAIN PICK
Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen
This lotion will run you only about $8 and is formulated with shea butter, so it's moisturizing but not greasy. Bonus: Mango fruit extract gives it a totally natural tropical scent.
11. BEST SCENT
Bare Republic Mineral Coco-Mango Spray
Pretend you're on a tropical beach with this coconut mango-scented spray—even if you're just running errands!
12. BEST MOISTURIZER WITH NATURAL SUNSCREEN
Elizabeth Arden Prevage SPF 50 Hydrating Shield
It's a splurge, but Dr. Engelman loves this tinted moisturizer with SPF 50. It also contains idebenone, which helps to combat free radical damage from UV rays and pollution—good news for city folk!