The secret to the best sunscreen in 2021 is mineral.

Updated: 4 days ago


Wearing sunscreen should be the same as brushing your teeth. It’s a daily habit that you don’t think about you just do it. Every.Day. Especially as a midlife woman because time seems to move so quickly and what's reflected in the mirror doesn't always translate to how you feel or look. Mineral sunscreen is not only clean but also shields rather than deflects the sun.


Why mineral sunscreen.

I became a convert to mineral sunscreens after following BeautyCounter’s clean beauty mantra, "beauty should be good for you." Taking a holistic approach to my body just makes sense, especially given that the changes I'm feeling in midlife are real. All of a sudden, I want to do everything I can to protect my health and my skin. Maybe it’s because I want to look the way I feel? I’m still trying to figure it out.


Not to mention, it just makes sense to shield your skin, like using an umbrella when it rains, rather than having chemical products absorbed into your skin that deflect the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. I'll take a shield any day. Unfortunately, some of the original mineral sunscreens fell short when it came to consistency and blending. I tried several last year that left my skin tacky and with a gray, purplish hue that didn’t go away even after I applied a tinted moisturizer (obviously those didn’t make the cut for the top physical sunscreens of 2020).


As a woman on the midlife journey, finding the right sunscreen that doesn't accentuate wrinkles is huge. We want something that protects, preserves, plumps, and hydrates. I know, a very. tall. order. Like anything, with a little research and some searching, you will find it.


Is mineral sunscreen worth it?

Mineral has come a long way in the last few years. These sunscreens have only one or two key active ingredients: either zinc or titanium dioxide, or both. Basically, they work by acting to physically block UVA and UVB rays versus chemical-based sunscreens, which work by absorbing the sun’s rays and deflecting them. I will say that chemical sunscreens go on more smoothly, are absorbed quickly, and require less rubbing but, it’s been suggested that chemical sunscreens may disrupt hormones and contribute to the killing of coral reefs. If you care about your health in midlife, the environment or both, you may want to switch to mineral if you haven’t already.


Make sure you're wearing enough.

We all know that applying sunscreen every day is important. That message is loud and clear. But did you know that we may not be applying enough? According to Dr. Shereene Idriss's instagram reel you need more than you think. She recommends 1/2-1/3 of a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face and neck. I'll be honest, it's definitely more than I was using, but I'm now taking a page from her playbook.


Pay attention to expiration dates.

Expiration dates are rarely discussed and often overlooked. I find that with over-the-counter brands, the expiration date is sometimes hard to find. But, it's important to know when sunscreen expires, because it loses its effectiveness. What good will it do if it's expired and ineffective? If you have some SPF and aren’t sure how old it is, look for the expiration date stamped on it and discard it if it’s past the date. I try to buy sunscreen every year. I hate tossing what I haven't used, but the thought of using a less than potent product to protect my skin, makes the decision to toss it a little easier.


Last year I sought out the best mineral sunscreens I could find and let me tell you, I tried a lot of different brands. I didn’t go digging through the half-priced bin at Marshall's or TJ Maxx. Nope, I did my homework, tried them on, and came up with a few of my top choices.


This year, I continued that journey because I’m obsessed with finding sunscreens that keep my midlife skin not only looking the way I feel and that I love, love, love.

For 2021 my best sunscreen recommendations for midlife skin are (drum roll please):

Best Everyday

ISDIN Photo Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50 - (new obsession)

Pros:

  • 11% Zinc Oxide

  • Ultra-light

  • Blends well; doesn’t sit in your wrinkles

  • Not greasy or sticky

  • Good under make-up

  • Comes in a tinted formula

  • Includes vitamin E

  • Water-resistant up to 40 minutes

  • From their site: helps repair existing sun damage in the skin through the use of DNA Repairsomes®. Known otherwise as photolyase, DNA Repairsomes are enzymes derived from plankton, which recognize and directly help to repair UV-induced skin damage. Actinic is another term for sun damage.

Cons:

  • Not reef safe

  • $$$


eltaMD UV Daily SPF 40 (love this too!)

Pros:

  • 9% transparent Zinc Oxide; 7.5% Octinoxate

  • Sheer and lightweight

  • Blends well; doesn’t sit in your wrinkles

  • includes hyaluronic acid

  • Not greasy or sticky

  • Good under make-up

Cons:

  • Not water-resistant (they do have other products with this option)

  • Not reef safe

  • $$


Tizo3 Age Defying Fusion Tinted SPF 40 - (top choice second year in a row)

Pros:

  • Zinc 3.8%; Titanium Dioxide 8%

  • Available in tinted and non-tinted formulations

  • Blends well; doesn’t sit in your wrinkles

  • Slightly sticky at first but dries quickly

  • Good under make-up

Cons:

  • Not reef safe

  • $$


Best for Being Active

BeautyCounter Countersun Daily Sheer Defense SPF25*

  • High non-nano zinc oxide percentage (14.96%)

  • Contains antioxidants to protect skin from pollution and keep it hydrated

  • Lightweight and blends well; doesn't sit in wrinkles

  • Reef safe

Cons:

  • Sticky when first applied

  • Reapply every 2 hours

  • Not water-resistant

  • $$

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