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Blog > Hair Health > Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreen: What You Should Know

Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreen: What You Should Know

woman holding sunscreen bottle while covering face with wide brim hat

Unarguably, one of the most important skin care products is your sunscreen. This is because, while other products may help make your skin smooth and lovely, sunscreen is what protects it from the adverse effects of the sun rays.

The sun can damage your skin quickly, and accumulating these damages over time can lead to life-threatening conditions such as skin cancer. Sunscreen slows down the aging process, giving you radiant and youthful skin.

Sunscreen slows down the aging process

Now that we have agreed on the importance of sunscreen in your daily routine, finding the one that suits your skin type and its unique requirements might sometimes be a bit of a drag.

There are two main types of sunscreen— Chemical and Mineral Sunscreen. Both are effective, have different mechanisms of action, and have their unique drawbacks.

In this article, we will talk about mineral vs. chemical sunscreen and everything you should know about these two types of sunscreen, including the ingredients of both chemical and mineral sunscreen, the best mineral sunscreen for your face, and more.

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What Is Chemical Sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreens are produced from non-natural chemical compounds. Different chemical compounds can act as active ingredients in chemical sunscreen; however, the primary ones include; Oxybenzone, Octocrylene, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Homosalate, and Octisalate.

Chemical Sunscreen Primary Ingredients

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing and dissipating ultraviolet rays from the sun. Thereby preventing the UV rays from touching your body, the first step to doing this is for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and, through chemical reactions, neutralize the destructive effects of the rays.

Chemical sunscreens can also damage the skin as some of the active ingredients have been associated with causing irritation and discomfort. In fact, Oxybenzone, one of the constituents of chemical sunscreen, has been associated with endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, and contact allergies.

What Is Mineral Sunscreen?

woman holding sunscreen bottle at beach

In simple terms, mineral sunscreen is a sunscreen that contains mineral substances as its active ingredients. They are naturally occurring substances that can also be produced synthetically. The primary active ingredients in mineral sunscreen are titanium oxide and zinc oxide. Other components include; Allantoin, Alumina, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, and Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, among many others.

Mineral Sunscreen Primary Ingredients

Unlike chemical sunscreens, mineral sunscreen sits on your face and acts as a barrier between the sun and your body. More like it reflects ultraviolet rays from your body. Hence, mineral sunscreens are also called physical sunscreen because of their mechanism of action; they act as a physical barrier between your skin and the sun's rays.

Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreen

chemical vs mineral sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens are different from those with a chemically reactive base because they use a natural mineral defense to block UVs from your skin. Mineral sunscreen does not cause a reaction to your hair texture and color by utilizing active ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide.

The difference between chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen is that mineral sunscreen doesn’t allow the UVs to penetrate the skin at all. Small particles sit on your skin and physically block damaging UVs from entering your skin, period.

Chemical sunscreen is a different process because it allows the UVs to enter your skin which activates a chemical reaction to turn UVs into heat; that heat then leaves the skin.

Why Is Mineral Sunscreen Better?

Mineral sunscreen is preferred to chemical sunscreens because of the reduced exposure to chemical compounds. Mineral sunscreens are composed of two main active ingredients; titanium oxide and zinc oxide, which are naturally obtained compounds certified by the FDA as effective and safe for use.

Also, mineral sunscreens are ideal for people with sensitive skin, children, and people with skin issues such as melasma. Ordinarily, the chemical compounds in chemical sunscreens will aggravate melasma.

Why is Mineral Sunscreen Better

Finally, unlike chemical sunscreens that take about 20-30 minutes to get absorbed into the skin, mineral sunscreens provide immediate protection after application and last longer, even under direct UV light. You can apply mineral sunscreen on top of make-up and other skin care products.

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How To Apply Mineral Sunscreen

fingers applying sunscreen to arm

Because of the mechanism of action of mineral sunscreens, you will need a considerable amount of sunscreen product to produce the desired result. Follow the steps below.

  • Ensure your skin is hydrated
  • Take some portion of the mineral sunscreen, rub it gradually between your palms, and spread it on the part of your body you want to cover.
  • Keep rubbing until the white layer disappears, indicating even distribution.
  • Reapply every 2 hours of normal activity, after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating, and immediately after towel-drying.
  • Ensure you apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Ask a doctor for use on children under six months of age.
  • Do not apply the cream to wet skin.

Although sunscreens are safe and effective, they can damage your hair color when they come in contact with your hair. Let’s talk about sunscreens and how to protect your hair.

Sunscreens And Your Hair Color

protects hair from discoloration

As we have established, all sunscreens are not formulated equally. They, chemical and mineral sunscreen, contain different active ingredients that affect and protect your hair color differently.

However, you can be sure that if ingredients in traditional sunscreens come in contact with your hair, a chemical reaction can occur and discolor your hair. Similar to how SPF and other beauty products have been known to stain clothes, sunscreen may also have the potential to discolor your hair.

Let’s examine what sunscreens cause your hair to change color and why.

Ingredients In Sunscreen That Causes Hair Discoloration

Discoloration of hair from sunscreen results from a chemical reaction from 2 ingredients found in most traditional sunscreens.

The first is Avobenzone. Avobenzone (Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane) is an oil-soluble ingredient used in sunscreen products to absorb the full spectrum of UVA rays. However, it breaks down quickly when exposed to the sun, so for that reason, they have to add another ingredient to help slow down that process.

Octocrylene is added as a stabilizer as the avobenzone degrades in light. Together they are found in differing quantities in most traditional sunscreen.

If sunscreens that contain these ingredients touch your hair, once you go in the water, they cause a chemical reaction that changes the color of your hair. The reactions vary with your hair colors. For lighter-colored hair, common colors are pink, orange, and peach tones. Darker hair may notice a tone shift or brightening of the hair color itself.

How To Protect Your Hair From Being Stained by Sunscreen

woman laying down on towel with sun care products next to her

The first is avoiding your hair from touching your chemical sunscreen, but this is more complicated than it sounds, especially with hair touching your face and long hair brushing against your body where you have applied the sunscreen.

If you run your fingers through your hair, you will further deposit more sunscreen residue onto your hair and sweat and moisture, which will continue to accelerate the process.

The most effective and easiest way to avoid your hair being tinted, stained, or discolored by sunscreen is to opt for something not containing these hair discoloring agents.

What better substitute than mineral sunscreen? And for mineral sunscreens, Goldie Locks® Sheer Mineral Sunscreen is your perfect pick. It was specifically formulated to give you all the benefits of traditional sunscreen while protecting your hair from discoloration.

Benefits of Goldie Locks® Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

sheer mineral sunscreen benefits

Why Goldie Locks® Sheer Mineral Sunscreen? This mineral sunscreen brings hope to blondes, extension wearers, and those that love their current hair color. It is mineral-based sunscreen formulated to shield and enrich your skin while protecting your hair from discoloration. Our nourishing formula goes on white and dries clear, leaving you with a velvety finish as light as air.

  • Protects hair + extensions from discoloration
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Water + sweat resistant
  • Tear-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Travel friendly; TSA compliant
  • Cruelty-free
  • Reef-friendly

The importance of sunscreen to your skin is not debatable. It acts as a shield and protects your skin's integrity against the sun's damaging rays. And although chemical and mineral sunscreens offer adequate protection for your skin, mineral sunscreens are preferred and a lot safer.

You can trust Goldie Locks® with your skin. This sunscreen is designed and formulated to give your skin the best protection possible from sunlight and maintain the color of your hair while at it.

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sheer mineral sunscreen spf 30

Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30


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