• UK Dermatologist Reviewed | 10 Best Mineral Sunscreens 2022 1
  • UK Dermatologist Reviewed | 10 Best Mineral Sunscreens 2022 2
  • UK Dermatologist Reviewed | 10 Best Mineral Sunscreens 2022 3
  • UK Dermatologist Reviewed | 10 Best Mineral Sunscreens 2022 4
  • UK Dermatologist Reviewed | 10 Best Mineral Sunscreens 2022 5

UK Dermatologist Reviewed | 10 Best Mineral Sunscreens 2022

No matter the time of year, you always need to keep on top of your suncare game! The winter sun can be just as damaging, if not more so, than in the summer as we tend to let our guard down around the cooler months. So whether you’re off on your jollies, spending time in your garden or just commuting to work, you’re going to need a good broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays.


Many of us are choosing mineral sunscreens as a safer, environmentally-friendly alternative, and luckily there are a growing number available with brands like Neutrogena, Clinique and Badger getting in on the action. We’ve put together a guide to help you pick the best sunscreen for the face and body, alongside a ranking of our top products including tinted, silicone-free and non-nano options.

This Article's Contributors

Felipe Partarrieu
mybest Editing Team
  • Last updated: 14-03-2022
Table of Contents

With Specialist Consultation From Dermatologist Felipe Partarrieu

With Specialist Consultation From Dermatologist Felipe Partarrieu

Felipe Partarrieu is a final-year dermatology resident who is GMC-registered with a full licence to practise in the UK. Specialising in cosmeceuticals, facial skincare and hair disorders, we worked with Felipe to bring you top quality information to help you make informed buying decisions and understand more about what goes onto your skin.

Compare the Best Mineral Sunscreens

For those after a quick look, here is our Top 5:

  1. Babo Botanicals - Clear Zinc Sunscreen for £15.77
  2. Alba Botanica -  Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen for £8.88
  3. Badger - Unscented Mineral Sunscreen for £20.95
  4. Derma E - Natural Mineral Sunscreen for £17.80
  5. Avène - Tinted Mineral Fluid for £16.46

For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of mineral sunscreen available and understand how our ranking was determined.

Image
1
Babo Botanicals  Clear Zinc Sunscreen  1

Babo Botanicals

2
Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen 1

Alba Botanica

3
Badger  Unscented Mineral Sunscreen 1

Badger

4
Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen 1

Derma E

5
Avène  Tinted Mineral Fluid  1

Avène

6
Heliocare 360° Mineral Fluid for Sensitive and Intolerant Skin 1

Heliocare 360°

7
ThinkSport  Mineral Sunscreen  1

ThinkSport

8
Clinique Mineral Sunscreen for Face  1

Clinique

9
Blue Lizard  Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen  1

Blue Lizard

10
Neutrogena  Sheer Zinc Sunscreen for Face  1

Neutrogena

Name

Clear Zinc Sunscreen

Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

Unscented Mineral Sunscreen

Natural Mineral Sunscreen

Tinted Mineral Fluid

Mineral Fluid for Sensitive and Intolerant Skin

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral Sunscreen for Face

Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

Sheer Zinc Sunscreen for Face

Features

An Excellent-Value Natural Sunscreen for Children and Adults Alike

Naturally Soothing and Protective With Great Eco Credentials

A Family-Friendly Choice Made With Only 4 Natural Ingredients

A Quick-Absorbing, Vitamin-Enriched Sunscreen Designed for Mature Skin

Tinted Option for the Face With 50+ SPF and a Non-Comodegenic Formula

Vegan-Friendly and Ideal for Easily Irritated Skin

Perfect for Active Types Wanting High Protection

A Luxurious, Easy-to-Apply Facial Sunscreen From Clinique

Effective Sensitive Protection That's Kind to Marine Life

A High-Protection Facial Sunscreen for Oily or Sensitive Skin

Price£15.77£8.88£20.59£17.80£16.46£22.95£10.95£22.00£24.90£18.95
100% Mineral FiltersYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Non-nano/NanoNon-nanoNon-nanoNon-nanoNon-nanoNanoNanoNon-nanoNanoNanoNano
SPF3030303050+5050+503050
Broad SpectrumYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Water-Resistant80 minutes80 minutes40 minutesYesYes80 minutesNo40 minutes80 minutes
Oil-FreeNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoYes
Silicone-FreeYesNoYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Face/BodyBothBothBothBodyFaceFaceBothFaceBothFace
Link

About the Differences Between Mineral Sunscreen and Chemical Sunscreen

About the Differences Between Mineral Sunscreen and Chemical Sunscreen

Mineral Sunscreen Creates a Physical Barrier Whereas Chemical Sunscreen Absorbs UVA and UVB Rays

The major differences between these two types of sunscreen are the core ingredients that create the protective barrier for your skin. Mineral sunscreen uses active mineral ingredients instead of chemicals to prevent the sun’s harmful rays from damaging your skin. The particular minerals that are used as filters in these sunscreens are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Chemical sunscreens work by way of absorption into the skin (which soak up UVA and UVB rays), whereas mineral sunscreen remains on top of the skin to prevent the rays from reaching you in the first place. They are sometimes called 'physical' sunscreens due to this preventative barrier.

The Main Benefits of Mineral Sunscreen Include Protecting Nature

Some of us are concerned about the harmful effects of chemicals used in regular sunscreens from their absorption into the bloodstream, such as hormone disruption. The ingredients in chemical sunscreens can also be harmful to marine life and coral reefs when transferred from your skin to the ocean and can irritate children’s or sensitive skin.
Additionally, there has been some research to suggest that some chemical sunscreens aren’t actually as high an SPF as they claim, and contain too few active ingredients to block the full spectrum of UV rays. With a mineral sunscreen, the ingredients reflect the sun’s rays, preventing them from reaching your skin at all.

How to Choose a Mineral Sunscreen in the UK

Key Points to Consider

  1. Select From Well Formulated Ingredients and Know Which Chemicals to Avoid
  2.  Choose Between Nano or Non-Nano
  3. Go for SPF 25 or Higher, Broad Spectrum Protection and Water Resistance
  4. Breakout-Prone Skin Will Prefer Oil-Free and Silicone-Free Formulas

1. Choose A Sunscreen With Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide for the Best Protection

1. Choose A Sunscreen With Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide for the Best Protection
The two minerals that make up a non-chemical sunscreen are titanium oxide and zinc oxide. Titanium oxide alone is not enough to completely protect against both UVA and UVB rays, so make sure that your mineral sunscreen contains either just zinc oxide or a combination of both as the active ingredients.
Looking for '100% mineral' sunscreens or those with only titanium and zinc oxide as the 'active ingredients' will ensure that you are buying a completely mineral sunscreen, as some products may market themselves as 'mineral-based' but actually include other chemical ingredients alongside a small number of minerals.
Some of the chemical filters common in traditional sunscreen – and therefore the ones to watch out for – are Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octinoxate and Avobenzone. There are guides available online with full lists of these ingredients if you want to do some extra research to avoid them completely.
Felipe Partarrieu
Dermatologist
Felipe Partarrieu

Zinc oxide offers a broader spectrum of UV protection than titanium dioxide as the latter does not offer much protection against UVA radiation, the ones responsible for photo-ageing; so it's always better to go for products that include both ingredients in its formulation.


Although mineral sunscreens have benefits compared to chemical ones, formulations that combine chemical and mineral actives can achieve a higher SPF with a more cosmetically elegant look and feel than either of them.

2. Choose Between Nano or Non-Nano Depending on Your Need for Transparency and Health Concerns

2. Choose Between Nano or Non-Nano Depending on Your Need for Transparency and Health Concerns
The thick, white texture associated with some sunblocks is down to large particles of the zinc and titanium, which take longer to sink in than chemical versions and can leave us looking a little ghostly.
Zinc 'nano' particles are the smallest type, as the name implies, and are used in modern mineral sun protection to decrease the chalky qualities and provide a more natural appearance. Their small size does mean that they are more likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which may be of concern to some people, but these nano particle formulas are great for everyday application and those who wear makeup.
'Non-nano' on the other hand, have larger particles of the active minerals, so will not potentially enter the bloodstream. Current research shows there is no harm in these minerals doing so, but it’s up to you to decide if you don’t favour this. Non-nano formulas are great for day trips to the beach or other times where you are exposed to the sun for a long period of time. 
Felipe Partarrieu
Dermatologist
Felipe Partarrieu

Titanium dioxide is typically scaled down to a much smaller size than zinc oxide (10-100 nanometers vs 200 nm) making it invisible to the naked eye, hence a cosmetically appealing option. 


More research is needed to fully understand fully how these nanoparticles may interact with cells and organs, but a large number of studies have failed to prove that zinc oxide or titanium dioxide nanoparticles can cross the skin in significant amounts.

3. For the Best Defence, Make Sure Your Daily Sunscreen Has SPF 25 or Higher With Broad Spectrum Protection and Water Resistance

3. For the Best Defence, Make Sure Your Daily Sunscreen Has SPF 25 or Higher With Broad Spectrum Protection and Water Resistance
Let’s break down the difference between the UVs for you: UVB rays are the ones that burn your skin, UVA rays cause ageing of the skin, and too much of either of them can lead to skin cancer.
UVA protection does not have a rating system, but we use SPF to determine UVB protection. Therefore, it is best to ensure your mineral sunscreen is 'broad spectrum', which means it shields you from both types of UV light.
Go for the highest protection you can for large amounts of sun exposure, especially if you're buying for babies and kids, and try to choose water-resistant sunscreens. Even if you aren’t swimming, they will ensure sweat-proof SPF protection. Most will state the minutes they are resistant for, so choose a high number for safer care.


Looking for more ways to protect yourself? How about sun hats or polarised sunglasses?

Felipe Partarrieu
Dermatologist
Felipe Partarrieu

Most dermatology societies around the world recommend using a sunscreen that’s 30 SPF or higher, no matter the skin tone, time of the year or latitude. By definition, all sunscreens with a sufficient amount of zinc oxide offer broad-spectrum UV protection.


It's important to remark that 'water-resistant' does not mean 'water-proof'. Therefore, no matter what the bottle says, you should always reapply sunscreen after profuse sweating and bathing.

4. Opt for Oil-Free and Silicone-Free Formulas If You Have Breakout-Prone Skin

4. Opt for Oil-Free and Silicone-Free Formulas If You Have Breakout-Prone Skin
If your skin is prone to acne or breakouts, you will want to choose a sunscreen that is oil-free. They will sink in more quickly too, which is always appealing in a lotion. You could also seek out non-comedogenic products, which are formulated not to clog pores. 
Although oils can be nourishing, you may want to choose oil-free if you suffer from prickly heat, as they can heat up the skin and leave those with sensitivities feeling uncomfortable.
Some sunscreens add silicones, a type of plastic, to make the skin feel smooth and resist water. They do this by forming a barrier on the skin, but this can block pores by trapping dirt, bacteria and sweat. Opt for silicone-free sunscreens if you’re spot-prone or simply prefer a plastic-free product.
Felipe Partarrieu
Dermatologist
Felipe Partarrieu

The right amount of oil protects our skin from external toxic elements, but oil excess can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Therefore, people with acne-prone skin should use products labelled as 'oil-free'. 


However, given the unregulated nature of this term within the skincare industry, read the ingredient list and look for glyceryl tribehenate, lanolin, waxes, petrolatum and squalene, which are substances that have an oil-like effect on the skin.

10 Best Mineral Sunscreens in the UK 2021

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used. 

1

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen

89ml

£15.77

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNon-nano
SPF30
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-Resistant80 minutes
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeYes
Face/BodyBoth
2

Alba BotanicaSensitive Mineral Sunscreen

118ml

£8.88

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNon-nano
SPF30
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-Resistant80 minutes
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeNo
Face/BodyBoth
3

Badger Unscented Mineral Sunscreen

87ml

£20.59

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNon-nano
SPF30
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-Resistant40 minutes
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeYes
Face/BodyBoth
4

Derma ENatural Mineral Sunscreen

118ml

£17.80

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNon-nano
SPF30
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-Resistant
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeYes
Face/BodyBody
5
100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNano
SPF50+
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-ResistantYes
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeNo
Face/BodyFace
6

Heliocare 360°Mineral Fluid for Sensitive and Intolerant Skin

50ml

£22.95

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNano
SPF50
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-ResistantYes
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeNo
Face/BodyFace
7

ThinkSport Mineral Sunscreen

89ml

£10.95

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNon-nano
SPF50+
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-Resistant80 minutes
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeNo
Face/BodyBoth
8
100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNano
SPF50
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-ResistantNo
Oil-FreeYes
Silicone-FreeNo
Face/BodyFace
9

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

148ml

£24.90

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNano
SPF30
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-Resistant40 minutes
Oil-FreeNo
Silicone-FreeNo
Face/BodyBoth
10

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Sunscreen for Face

59ml

£18.95

100% Mineral FiltersYes
Non-nano/NanoNano
SPF50
Broad SpectrumYes
Water-Resistant80 minutes
Oil-FreeYes
Silicone-FreeNo
Face/BodyFace

Tips for Applying Mineral Sunscreens

Tips for Applying Mineral Sunscreens
You’ve heard us talk about the potential for mineral sunscreens to leave a chalky or white residue on the skin due to the mineral ingredients, but there are some ways you can try to minimise this.
Firstly, bear in mind that you will need a lot less mineral sunscreen than you may be used to. Either dot on small blobs or take a pea-sized amount and rub it between the hands, then blot it over before rubbing in well. Work bit by bit on each area of your body to further reduce any whiteness from over-application.
You should also apply your mineral sunscreen around 15 minutes before you head outside due to the fact it may take a little longer to put on the skin. And of course, remember to re-apply after swimming and every couple of hours, just as you would a traditional sunscreen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Mineral Sunscreens Reef-Safe?

'Reef-safe' is currently not a regulated term, so you must make sure to look at the 'active ingredients' used in the sunscreen. Generally, it is advised that you look for sunscreens with 'non-nano' zinc oxide or titanium oxide. It is also helpful to avoid single-use plastic packaging and opt for biodegradable alternatives.

Can You Mix Mineral Sunscreens With Moisturisers?

You shouldn’t be mixing your mineral sunscreens with your moisturisers as this will essentially be watering down their efficacy and potentially rendering the ingredients completely inactive. However, you can layer them by allowing your moisturiser to absorb into the skin first and then going on to apply your physical sunscreen.


Why not take a look at the best facial sunscreens too?

Can You Mix Mineral and Chemical Sunscreens?

On the whole, it is generally not advised that you mix and match your sunscreens as there is potential for ingredients to clash with one another. Nevertheless, if you have two products from the same brand with similar ingredients, then it may be okay to layer them throughout the day.

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Written and researched by Natasha Dziubajlo

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