Written by Stephanie Sutton, M.D. –
It’s that time of the year when people are headed to the pool, hitting the golf course, and going on summer vacations. All of these activities have one thing in common: spending a lot of time outside in the sun. Being prepared for sun exposure is your best defense against sunburns, skin cancer, and skin aging. Preparation includes appropriate clothing, sun accessories, and sunscreen. You may have heard or seen the term “mineral sunscreen.” What is it and is it a good fit for you?
Mineral sunscreen is another term for a physical sunscreen. It contains the minerals zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients and therefore gets the name “mineral sunscreen. They are often contrasted to chemical sunscreens, which work to absorb UV rays and break them down. Mineral (physical) sunscreens block the UV rays from reaching your skin.
Mineral sunscreens can be a good fit for patients who have sensitive skin. They are hypoallergenic and therefore have less risk of causing acne breakouts. They are safe for children (over 6 months of age) as well as people concerned about chemical sunscreen ingredients being absorbed by the skin. They are also beneficial for patients who want to prevent melasma.
A couple of our favorite mineral sunscreens can be found on our online store and in the Aesthetics Center. They are available as either tinted formulations or without tint:
- SUNFORGETTABLE® TOTAL PROTECTION™ Face Shield Glow SPF 50
- SkinMedica® Essential Defense Mineral Shield with SPF
Stephanie Sutton, MD, is a contributing author to the Sutton Dermatology Blog. Stephanie Sutton is a psychiatrist and she focuses on wellness.