How Do I Choose the Best Mineral Sunscreen?

Rhonda Rivera

You can choose the best mineral sunscreen by considering a product’s sun protection factor (SPF), form, and quantity. The amount of protection a sunscreen offers determines how long it protects, and its form is important to how it is applied. For example, lotions are rubbed into the skin, while makeup is generally brushed or buffed on. The quantity of sunscreen also matters since most people apply as little as 25% of the sunscreen needed to offer maximum protection. In addition, you should choose a sunscreen that appeals to you in some way, whether it’s the brand or convenient packaging, to best ensure daily use.

Sunscreen should be worn before all outdoor activities to avoid sunburns.
Sunscreen should be worn before all outdoor activities to avoid sunburns.

In general, a minimum of SPF 15 is best for everyday use, such as short outdoor activities and protecting your skin while indoors but near windows. If you are planning to spend more than 10 minutes outdoors, consider buying a mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Greater SPFs, such as 50 to 80, are fine but not necessary because they do not provide much extra protection.

Mineral sunscreens can be more difficult to rub in.
Mineral sunscreens can be more difficult to rub in.

Choose the form of sunscreen that is most convenient for you to wear on a regular basis. Mineral sunscreens come in various forms, with lotions and makeup being most popular. Sunscreen lotions often have extra ingredients to moisturize your skin while protecting it from the sun. They can also be difficult to rub in and relatively expensive compared to chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreen in makeup form usually comes as a fine powder and is among the best protective makeup.

For protection against the sun's rays, sunscreen should offer at least an SPF of 15.
For protection against the sun's rays, sunscreen should offer at least an SPF of 15.

Purchase enough sunscreen to last for more than a couple uses. Sunscreen can be expensive per ounce, and you might be tempted to buy a small bottle and use it conservatively. It takes about one ounce (28 grams) of mineral sunscreen to cover the exposed body parts of an adult. In addition, while mineral sunscreen does not break down like chemical sunscreens, you should still reapply it after swimming or sweating. Taking all this into account, the typical three ounce (85 gram) bottle might not last an individual who enjoys being outdoors for even one day.

It is a good idea to choose a mineral sunscreen that you will use. Sunscreen is only useful when it is applied properly on a regular basis. If you find your sunscreen to be uncomfortable or dislike using it, for whatever reason, it will be less effective. If possible, ask a salesperson if you can try a small amount of sunscreen before purchasing it, as this can help you determine whether or not you will use it on a daily basis.

How long a sunscreen will keep you protected is important to take into account.
How long a sunscreen will keep you protected is important to take into account.

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