What you need to know about mineral sunscreens and how they differ from chemical formulas

Curious about buying a mineral SPF but want to know more before making the switch? Here’s what you need to know…

There’s no denying that we all need to wear SPF every day to avoid signs of premature ageing and to reduce the risk of skin cancer – but the question is what type of sunscreen is best to use?

With extensive chemical and mineral SPF offerings to choose from, it can be hard to work out what formula is best for you.

In short, the main UV filters in mineral SPFs are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which sit on the skin’s surface and deflect the sun’s harmful rays. Mineral filters are also commonly known as physical sunscreens.

Chemical formulas work in a different way. They contain ingredients like octocrylene and avobenzone which are absorbed into the skin and then convert UV rays into heat energy instead.

So why opt for a mineral SPF? 

Some people like that mineral formulas don’t absorb into the skin. They are useful for people who have sensitive skin and can’t tolerate a product with an extensive synthetic ingredient list. 

Those with inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema may also find a mineral SPF causes fewer flare-ups than a chemical one.

Other people like a zinc-based SPF formula because it’s currently the only recognised reef-safe UV filter available. This means that when you swim in the sea, it shouldn’t wash off the skin and have potentially detrimental effects on marine life or coral reefs.

Where to shop a mineral formula

Loving the idea of giving a mineral SPF a go? We have the perfect product to suit all skin types and tones – Hawaiian Tropic Mineral Sun Milk SPF30 Face.

A 30ml tube of this sunscreen features in this month’s summer saviours-themed OK! Beauty Box. The box is worth £70 but available to buy from just £9 for first-time subscribers. 

It’s Hawaiian Tropic’s first-ever suncare with 100% mineral filters, making it the dream for even the most sensitive faces. This deliciously-scented, reef-friendly milk has you covered for both ageing UVA and burning UVB, and it’s the perfect size for slipping into your hand luggage.

And don’t think for a minute that zinc oxide sun filter equals chalky residue – this high-tech natural formula blends invisibly into all skin tones and makes the perfect, silky base for make-up. 

Plus, you’ll also nab five other gorgeous summer-ready products in the box – ranging from a dew-boosting face mist to a volumising hair spritz.

Each monthly box normally costs just £15 inc P&P for products worth a minimum of £60, and it’s totally flexible so you can pause or cancel any time. As a subscriber, you’ll also get a free glossy beauty and lifestyle magazine every three months.

Now THAT’S a box with benefits.