I Tried a Bunch of Natural Sunscreens, And This Is My Absolute Favorite

Sunscreen is supposed to be good for you, right? Apply it every day and you can reduce the signs of aging and chances of getting skin cancer. Unfortunately, it’s not all good. There are active ingredients within most sunscreen products that can cause harm. That’s why I started a search for the best natural sunscreen. And I’m happy to say that after years of looking, I’ve finally found an effective sunscreen without toxic ingredients. It’s DERMA E Natural Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization that researches and educates consumers about toxins in personal care products, you should avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor that can interfere with our body’s normal hormone functions. Specifically, it can act like estrogen in the body and has been shown to alter sperm production in animals. Oxybenzone is also linked to endometriosis and allergic reactions. Octinoxate is another hormone disruptor commonly found in sunscreen that may interfere with reproductive functions and also cause skin allergies. EWG also warns against retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A often listed as an “inactive ingredient” in sunscreens. Retinyl palmitate could heighten sun sensitivity. (Learn more from EWG’s 2018 Sunscreen Guide.)

Luckily, most mineral sunscreens do not include these potentially dangerous ingredients. If you want a safer sunscreen, you should look for products that include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals act as a physical barrier and do not penetrate the skin. While that’s good for safety reasons, often that lack of penetration means you’re left with a stubborn white film when you apply mineral products. Your hormones may be protected, but you look like Casper the ghost.

Like Goldilocks, I kept looking until I found a natural sunscreen that is juuuust right.

While the extra time it takes to rub in safer mineral sunscreen is worth it for me, some just won’t rub in no matter how hard I try. But like Goldilocks, I kept looking until I found a natural sunscreen that is juuuust right. And I’m happy to say I have! It’s DERMA E’s Natural Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30. It goes on smoothly, isn’t too greasy, and does the job of protecting me from UV rays.  

DERMA E’s product definitely tops my list of mineral sunscreens. But keep reading to find out how it stacks up against the other five mineral sunscreens I’ve tried. I’ve ranked them all from best to worse below, based on how they work on my Caucasian skin. Hopefully, this  — along with a wide brimmed hat and some shade — will keep you safe from both the sun and harmful chemicals this summer.

Best Mineral Sunscreen: DERMA E

 

Pros:

  • Gets a 1 on EWG, meaning it includes safe ingredients.
  • White film rubs away easily.
  • Plays nice with makeup, including liquid foundation. 
  • Very lightweight.
  • Not greasy, but also doesn’t leave skin dry.
  • Can use body sunscreen on the face as well, meaning you just need one product (the only difference in ingredients between body and face products is that the body version includes sunflower seed oil).
  • Effective at preventing sunburn.

Cons:

  • There is some white film that you have to rub in diligently, but less than other mineral sunscreens I’ve tried. 
  • The tube isn’t that huge, so if you plan to go on a long vacation or use it for the whole family, you’ll want to buy a few.

DERMA E Natural Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is available on Dermstore (Free shipping) 

Other Good Mineral Sunscreen Options:

Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen Kids, SPF 30

Pros:

  • Gets a 2 on EWG, meaning its ingredients present a low hazard.
  • Effective at preventing sunburn.
  • It’s possible to rub in white film.

Cons:

  • Not as moisturizing as DERMA E’s product.
  • Doesn’t rub on as easily.

Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen Kids, SPF 30 is available on Amazon

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Pros:

  • Gets a 1 on EWG.
  • A little goes a long way.
  • Effectively blocks sun.

Cons:

  • Leaves a white cast that is difficult to rub in.
  • Is still visible under makeup.
  • Thick composition feels heavy on the face.

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is available on Amazon

Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30 

Pros:

 

  • Gets a 1 on EWG.
  • Effective at blocking the sun.
  • Has staying power: it doesn’t wash off too easily if you’re in and out of water.

Cons:

  • Almost impossible to get all the white film away.
  • Doesn’t play nice with makeup.
  • Greasy.
  • Better for your body than your face.

Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30 is available on Amazon

Skip These Mineral Sunscreens:

Bioderma Photoderm Mineral Very High Protection Spray SPF50+

Pros:

  • Does not include oxybenzone or octinoxate.
  • Effective at blocking the sun.

Cons:

  • Difficult to rub in and leaves a stubborn white film.
  • Greasy.
  • Messy spray bottle. The product ends up on my clothes and on my bathroom mirror and walls somehow! The mess is the biggest deal breaker for me. 

Goddess Garden Organics Facial SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen

 

Pros:

Cons:

  • Very hard to rub in. Feels like it’s slipping off your skin.
  • Leave a stubborn white film.
  • Not effective at blocking the sun. I got a bad sunburn using this one.
  • Small quantity.

My Conclusion

The DERMA E mineral sunscreen is now part of my skincare routine. It works well under my everyday makeup look. I honestly can’t believe it is a zinc sunscreen!

Here’s the list of safe cosmetics I use on most days, all of which worked well with DERMA E sunscreen:

Skin:

Face:

Eyes:

Lips:

 

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