Never heard of mineral SPF? We’ve got you covered…
By now, we’re all aware of the importance of sunscreen.
It’s a staple in our beach bag, but in the same way we all know we should be drinking more water, we still don’t include sunscreen in our everyday routines.
The science of suncare and all its complications doesn’t exactly help the situation, either.
We’re talking acronyms, numbers, symbols and impenetrable jargon before you even start thinking about how much sunscreen you need apply – and crucially, why you’re even being told to do it in the dead of winter.
To help separate the science from the sunburn, we’ve broken down what mineral SPF is and why you need to know about it.
What’s the difference between mineral and chemical SPF?
Those of you who’ve already graduated from Sunscreen Basics might have a few questions around a relatively new topic of discussion: mineral or chemical?
Well, sunscreens work in two different ways.
A chemical filter absorbs the sun’s rays and denatures them so that they can’t damage your skin. A mineral filter uses ingredients such as zinc oxide to scatter the sun’s rays away from your skin, acting as a more literal ‘block’.
Mineral sunscreens are sometimes called ‘physical protectors’ for this reason. And on top of that, they’re generally considered to be less pore-clogging and irritating to the skin.
Which is better?
Some of the filters used in chemical sunscreens are thought to be harmful to the environment.
In 2018, Hawaii banned oxybenzone and octinoxate after fears arose that traces of it in the water were damaging the local coral reefs.
There’s even very early research which makes possible links between chemical filters and hormone disruption.
Plus, a mineral sunscreen works immediately, unlike chemical versions which can take up to 30 minutes to ‘kick in’.
Because mineral sunscreen works by deflecting heat, they can also be a lot more comfortable for those who suffer from prickly heat or rosacea.
Zinc (which often features in sunscreen formulas) is a brilliant skin-friendly ingredient thanks to its antibacterial properties – which is why bareMinerals choose zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for products such as their Skinlongevity Vital Power Moisturiser SPF 30.
So, mineral sunscreen is actually likely to be a safer, more comfortable bet than the suncare we usually slather on.
Why does SPF matter outside of summer?
Most of us learn after at least one childhood summer spent massaging aloe vera into our scorched shoulders that sunburn is real and very, very painful.
But even if you’re not on a rammed beach in the height of summer or you don’t tend to burn easily, you should still be layering up with SPF.
It comes down to this: the sun’s rays are made up of two parts, UVA and UVB.
UVB rays cause your skin to burn, while UVA rays are more like a silent assassin.
Leaving no immediately visible traces such as redness or peeling, UVA rays attack your natural stores of collagen and elastin, meaning your skin will show signs of stress and fine lines faster.
There are no ‘safe’ UV rays, as both are linked to the development of skin cancers. So, even on a day when you’re unlikely to burn, your skin is still going to be receiving those damaging rays loud and clear.
To keep a dermatologist happy, you’d be applying sunscreen any time it’s not so dark outside to need a torch.
It might sound extreme, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
How can you slot mineral SPF into your daily routine?
Many of you will already be shuddering at the thought of applying some sort of gloopy, greasy lotion each and every morning – especially if you’re thinking of the bright white zinc oxide that cricketers sport on their noses.
Happily, sunscreen technology has come a long way and the current crop are lightweight, blendable and breathable.
The fastest way to protect yourself is to pick a moisturiser with a mineral SPF, then apply it as the final stage in your morning’s skincare routine. bareMinerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Moisturiser SPF30 contains a patented herbal complex to defend against environment stressors and glow-boosting green coffee bean plus peony extract to brighten tired skin as well as defend you against the rays.
It’s all blended into a featherweight formula that sits effortlessly under your make-up. Plus, it’s vegan and chemical free, meaning you’ll be doing your bit for the planet as well as your face.
Massage it in during the morning and it’ll melt into your skin without any sticky residue or unwanted chalkiness.