If there’s one ingredient we all require, swear by and need in our lives - it’s sunscreen. If you’re an old follower of POPxo’s beauty content then you already know that we take our sun protection seriously.
In order to avoid skin damage, tanning, pigmentation, dark spots and other signs of ageing then sunscreen is non-negotiable.
But a lot of us end up using our sunscreen the wrong way and end up believing some silly myths about sunscreen. It’s important to get your facts right before you decide on SPF. Picking a sunscreen isn’t as easy as going to the department store because you’ve got a plethora of options to choose from. There are a bunch of sunscreens for oily, acne-prone, dry and sensitive skin. And if that’s not enough, you’ve got different formulations and key ingredients too.
When you’re looking to buy a sunscreen - there are physical sunscreens and then you have mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide sunscreen. More on that in this post.
Broadly most sunscreens in the market have a combination of physical and chemical filters. Chemical filters react with the surface of the skin and reduce the effect of any UV damage. Physical filters on the other hand act as a physical barrier between your skin and the sun, reflecting the rays off your skin. Physical sunscreens have Zinc or Titanium Oxide as a key ingredient in them. Today, we’re going to dive deeper into an ingredient present in sunscreens called Zinc Oxide. Here’s everything you need to know about zinc oxide sunscreens.
Zinc oxide is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s a key ingredient found in many physical sunscreens. It basically blocks the UVA and UVB rays from damaging your skin - like a physical shield. It’s an important ingredient, especially if you have sensitive skin. Sunscreen with zinc oxide is also the recommended sunscreen for children and people with extremely sensitive skin because it’s mineral composition won’t irritate your skin or cause skin damage. It’s one of the ingredients that’s been approved by the FDA.
Since not all SPFs are created equal, get ready to check out a list of the best zinc oxide sunscreens in India that measure up.
This is one of the most affordable zinc oxide sunscreens in India. It’s mineral-based and offers an SPF of 50. Wear it to the beach or wear it every day, it's going to offer broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.
Pros: Easily available, affordable.
Cons: Thick consistency takes time to blend and leaves a white cast on skin.
If you want to gift your significant other a sunscreen, this is a great option. It’s perfect for any kind of sports activities. It’s going to keep your skin matte and shine-free, it’s non-sticky.
Pros: It’s perfect if you spend a majority of the day out and about or if you play any kind of sports. It has an SPF of 50 to protect you against UVA and UVB rays.
Cons: It’s designed specifically for men.
If you’re looking for a sunscreen with a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this one from Coola is perfect for everyday wear. It has an SPF of 30 with ingredients like Rose Hip Oil and Vitamin C. It’s going to help smoothen out fine lines and wrinkles while brightening up your skin.
Pros: Keeps your skin matte and shine free and it’s water resistant.
Cons: It may not work for people with dry skin types.
Looking for a sunscreen for your little ones? This one from Mamaearth is perfect for your children. It contains an SPF of 20+ to protect your baby’s skin from sun damage.
Pros: toxin-free and won’t cause any allergies.
Cons: It’s only SPF 20 ]which means you will have to constantly re-apply.
This sunscreen has a whipped formula and a transparent colour making it easy to blend and spread out. It’s going to protect your skin from UV damage and any hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Pros: Perfect for all skin types, fragrance-free and the whipped transparent formula is easily spreadable.
Cons: Expensive and not easily available.
If you are looking for a good quality sunscreen with a physical and chemical property but with zinc as the primary ingredient then The Inkey List is your brand. It’s got a no-nonsense mantra where the packaging of all their products is quite basic while ingredients are absolute high-quality. This particular sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection of SPF 50+. It’s light-weight and easily spreadable and won’t clog your pores or leave a white cast on your skin.
Pros: Perfect for people who want the feel of a moisturiser in a sunscreen. Can be used under makeup and it’s got a high SPF of 50.
Cons: Not easily available in India.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra money on a brand that focuses on clean beauty and is toxin-free, check out Drunk Elephant. This sunscreen is formulated without any potential irritants like essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and SLS.
Pros: It’s got 20% of zinc oxide in the formula as well as raspberry seed and marula oil and it’s cruelty-free. It’s got a very fluid-like formula that blends easily and won’t leave a white cast.
Cons: Expensive and not easily available in India.
If you’re looking for a brand that provides you with absolutely clean and safe ingredients, look no further. This Zinc based sunscreen gives you an SPF of 30 minus all the baddies. It’s also mattifying and vegan.
Pros: Vegan, cruelty-free, silicone-free and non-toxic. It’s got a broad spectrum SPF of 30.
Cons: Not suitable for dry skin
If your skin has reacted badly to sun exposure or to another product, this sunscreen is perfect for you. It's formulated to be ultra-soothing and mild with ingredients like oat extracts and zinc.
Pros: Fragrance-free and perfect for sensitive, reactive skin
Cons: Only SPF 30 which is not enough to give your skin adequate protection if you spend the majority of your time outdoors.
If you have sensitive skin, a zinc oxide sunscreen might be better than other chemical sunscreens. This is because zinc is a naturally occurring mineral and it is milder on your skin as compared to other ingredients like oxybenzone that are found in chemical sunscreens. If your skin is prone to acne, irritation or even a rash, definitely give this kind of sunscreen a try.
“Sunscreens, which have zinc oxide, blocks both the rays and give better protection to the skin. Unlike our regular sunscreens, a sunscreen with zinc oxide helps in lowering skin inflammation associated with rashes, allergies and irritation. Sunscreens with zinc oxide help in improving wound healing and preventing bacterial infection, they help in treating acne breakouts and keep moisture locked into dry skin.” says Dr. Chiranjiv Chhabra, Director and Consultant Dermatologist at Alive Wellness.
Yes, it is in fact recommended by dermatologists for children and people with very sensitive skin.
Unfortunately yes. A lot of sunscreens formulated with zinc oxide are known to have a paste(y) consistency and leave a white cast on your skin. If you wear makeup, this white cast is easy to hide. If you don’t wear makeup then make sure you blend the sunscreen well so that there are no white patches. There are a few higher end sunscreens that don’t give you a white cast that are definitely worth the investment.
Unlike other sunscreens that require to be put on 30 minutes before sun exposure, sunscreens with zinc in them start protecting your skin from the sun the minute you put them on. But it’s always better to put them on 10 to 15 minutes before sun exposure. The ingredient sits on the surface of your skin while deflecting light. Think of it as a reflective surface, a mirror perhaps. That's what a layer of zinc oxide on your skin does to the UV rays, it deflects them. Sunscreens with zinc oxide in them have a milky consistency and a paste-like appearance. They do tend to leave a white cast on your skin.
A chemical sunscreen absorbs the UVA and UVB rays and converts them into heat. This absorption sometimes causes allergic reactions or skin irritation in some people with sensitive skin. That’s when you turn to a physical sunscreen. A physical sunscreen is like a physical barrier, it reflects the UVA and UVB rays away from the skin. It basically bounces off the rays like a mirror.
“Skin type: Oily, combination and acne-prone. Zinc oxide is widely used to treat a variety of skin conditions in products such as calamine cream and antiseptic ointments and as a skin protectant ingredient as it helps in healing wounds. The most common skin care issue is acne-prone skin. Zinc oxide as an ingredient in sunscreen can help in preventing breakouts and control sebum production. It is a substance that effectively works in drying excess oil in the skin. More than that, it also helps revive your skin’s glow by shrinking large pores and tightening skin to help conceal damaged skin.” adds Dr. Chhabra.
We asked Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra to tell us why zinc is such a key ingredient used while formulating sunscreens and here’s what she said. “Zinc is a key sunscreen ingredient because it is effective in providing protection from UV light.