Like any other sunscreen — physical or chemical — the best zinc oxide sunscreens offer broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage, have an SPF of at least 30, and are water resistant. Zinc oxide sunscreens can be used by anyone, but they're especially great for people with sensitive skin.
Ahead, you'll find seven of the best zinc oxide sunscreens on the market. But first, some general sun-safety tips.
As a reminder, no matter what kind of sunscreen you use, apply yours about 20 minutes before heading out into the sun, making sure to use enough to cover your entire body. Of course, facial sunscreens should be worn every day, all year round, regardless of the weather. When you're outdoors, reapply your sunscreen about every two hours, or immediately upon coming out of the water. Don't forget the oft-neglected areas like your ears, eyelids, and the tops of your feet — and be sure to pick up a lip balm with SPF for your lips, too!
With that in mind, scroll on to shop seven of the best mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide for sun protection.
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1. The Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreen For Your Face
This mineral sunscreen, which was designed to treat and prevent sun damage, comes from European brand ISDIN, who call themselves the "experts in photoaging." It's amazingly lightweight and non-greasy, and best of all, it blends into skin transparently without leaving behind a white cast — a rare feature among most mineral sunscreens. In addition to 11% zinc oxide for sun protection, the formula contains the antioxidant vitamin E to protect skin from environmental aggressors, as well as photolyase enzymes to repair existing sun damage. It has a nice, high SPF of 50, is water resistant up to 40 minutes, and wears nicely under makeup.
2. A More Affordable Zinc Oxide Sunscreen For Your Face
For a more budget-friendly facial sunscreen, you can't go wrong with Neutrogena's Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen. The hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic formula is oil-free, fragrance-free, and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. The brand says it's tear-free, too, so it shouldn't cause eye irritation on sweaty days. It even received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, so it should be tolerated by even the most sensitive skin types. 21.6% zinc oxide gives it an SPF of 50, though you might find it to be a little less transparent than the ISDIN sunscreen, despite the 'sheer' in its name.
3. The Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion For Your Body
If you're looking for a full-body mineral sunscreen at an affordable price point, you can't do much better than Coppertone's Pure & Simple sunscreen lotion. With a high SPF of 50 courtesy of 24% zinc oxide, it's water resistant for up to 80 minutes and enriched with good-for-skin botanicals like tea leaf, sea kelp, and lotus extracts. It's also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, so it's a great choice for highly sensitive skin types.
4. The Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Spray For Your Body
Love a spray-on sunscreen? Then pick up this Sun Bum mineral sunscreen spray, which has an SPF of 30. Some sprays can feel sticky or tacky, but this one has a lightweight feel (as well as a pleasant summery scent). The formula is vegan, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, reef-safe, and water resistant up to 80 minutes. 14% zinc oxide fights off UVA/UVB rays, while ingredients like sunflower seed oil, aloe leaf juice, and jojoba esters leave skin feeling moisturized and soft.
5. The Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Stick
Sunscreen sticks offer a convenient, mess-free way to target smaller areas like your ears, lips, and nose. You can use this one on your face and body — it's a must-have for keeping in your purse or beach bag throughout the summer. The non-nano zinc formula is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, has an SPF of 30, and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. It's also fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and reef-safe, and enriched with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, and jojoba oil.
6. The Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreen For Kids
Some kids resist wearing sunscreen because it can sting their eyes as they start to sweat or go into the water, but this Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Mineral Sunscreen Lotion has a tear-free formula for a less irritating experience. It's also fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. In addition to 21.6% zinc oxide, the formula contains skin-soothing oat, which should make this a good choice for kids with eczema.
7. The Best Lip Balm With Zinc Oxide
Lips are vulnerable to sun damage, too, so using a lip balm with sunscreen is a smart way to keep them protected all year long. Summer Lotion's moisturizing, non-tinted lip balm contains naturally derived ingredients like coconut, jojoba, and sunflower seed oils, cocoa seed butter, and raspberry seed oil. In addition to providing water-resistant sun protection for up to 80 minutes, the coconut-flavored balm leaves lips feeling soft and smooth. The best part is, for $10, you get two tubes.