Zinc Oxide Sunscreens
Photo: Harper’s BAZAAR

Mineral sunscreen—that is, SPF that relies on zinc or titanium dioxide—is skyrocketing in popularity. Not only are the formulas reef-safe, but they also tend to be gentler on skin. “Mineral sunscreens are sunscreens that use zinc oxide by itself, or in combination with titanium dioxide to block UV light,” explains New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. “Many people think that zinc-only based sunscreens are more natural and feel more comfortable applying those types of sunscreens on their skin.”

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Mineral Sunscreens Protect Against UV and Blue Light

Zinc sunscreens may be a better choice from an overall skincare perspective as well. “I will typically recommend a zinc-oxide-based or mineral blocker for sensitive skin, because they tend to be a little more gentle on the skin,” says Zeichner. This type of sunscreen also helps protect against HEV, or high-energy visible light, a.k.a. blue light. “Light within the blue visible spectrum has been shown to deeply penetrate the skin and promote premature aging, including sun spots and wrinkles,” explains Dr. Zeichner. “Mineral blockers like zinc oxide protect against some level of HEV light, while chemical blockers do not.”

But Does It Apply Clear on Darker Skin?

In the past, the downside to mineral sunscreens has been their opaque, white consistency, which has made it harder to blend into skin (and therefore, making you less likely to use or reapply it). But science has finally caught up with user behavior. “The newest generation of mineral sunscreens use micronized technology so that they fully rub into the skin, not leaving behind a white cast, or an ashy appearance on darker complexions,” explains Zeichner. Read on for 7 easy-to-wear, easy-to-blend zinc sunscreens we recommend for spending time at the beach, the park, or just in front of your laptop.

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This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.

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