Why You Should Be Using Mineral Sunscreen Over Regular SPF

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

Though Labor Day often feels like the end of Summer, the season officially comes to a close on Sept. 22. That means the sun is still strong and you need to wear daily SPF. (You should also wear sun protection in the Winter, just saying.) To ensure you have the best UV coverage we consulted beauty expert and brand owner Tata Harper.

As a natural-beauty enthusiast, Tata leans toward mineral sunscreen over the regular kind. Here, we asked her to explain why . . .

POPSUGAR: What is the biggest difference between mineral and regular sunscreen?
Tata Harper: There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreens use ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate, which are UV absorbers. Sunlight is basically a burst of energy, and these absorbers take that light and turn it into heat that releases from the skin.

Minerals, including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are big particles that reflect light, so they don't become less effective over time like the absorbers. They can rub off, so they still need to be reapplied, but not as often. I prefer mineral sunscreen because of the way it works as a physical barrier and because of the potential health risks linked to chemical sunscreens, particularly oxybenzone, which can affect hormones and cause allergies.

PS: Are there any benefits to regular SPF?
TH: Chemical sunscreen will still protect you from UVB rays, can be thinner, and easier to apply than mineral sunscreen. And it doesn't cause the temporary whitening effect you get from layering mineral sunscreen on your skin.

PS: What is your favorite brand of mineral sunscreen?
TH: I like Suntegrity. They are 100 percent natural, and they come in multiple shades.

PS: Anything else we should know about this topic?
TH: A lot of people get confused about which SPF to choose or think that using a really high SPF will give them a lot more protection. In reality, SPF 50 doesn't block much more than SPF 30. SPF also doesn't work the same on everyone. One way to measure it is by multiplying how long it would usually take for your unprotected skin to burn in the sun by your SPF. If your skin takes 10 minutes to burn, then applying SPF 15 would give you about 150 minutes of protection. However, your protection varies depending on your skin type, how much you apply, and how intense the sun is.