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New to Mineral Sunscreen? Read This First

Mineral Sunscreen v Chemical Sunscreen

Congratulations on making the switch to mineral sunscreen! It’s a great option for you, your family, and the planet because mineral sunscreen is safe and effective.

If this is your first summer using mineral sunscreen, it’s helpful to review some basics before hitting the beach.

Using sunscreen isn’t complicated, but it’s important to understand how it works. And remember the best sun protection includes sunscreen, seeking or creating shade, wearing protective clothing (including a big floppy hat and sunglasses), and using common sense.

As mentioned in the chart above, mineral sunscreen works by sitting on top of the skin. This means that if you do not apply enough, you are not going to get the protection you expect. And a lot of people under-apply mineral sunscreen because it leaves a white cast on the skin.

No sunscreen can provide 100% protectionnot even SPF 100. So if you’re planning to spend the day at the beach, then find or create shade, or take a break inside during peak sun hours of 10am and 2pm.

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Mineral sunscreen (also known as physical barrier sunscreen) uses only zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to protect you from UV rays. The minerals sit on top of the skin to deflect, scatter, and absorb UV rays. And they work differently than sunscreens with active ingredients like oxybenzone, which absorb into the bloodstream. (See the handy chart above – right click and save for future reference!)


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How you apply sunscreen is the biggest difference when switching from chemical to mineral sunscreen.

Here’s a great blog post on applying mineral sunscreen. When it comes to applying sunscreen, less is not more!

Reapplying sunscreen is equally important. At the beach, where water and sand are reflecting extra UV rays onto your skin, reapplication should occur at least every two hours.

Towels, clothing, and water can remove minerals from the skin, so you should reapply immediately after swimming and towel drying.

If your skin starts to turn pink, your body is signaling that it has had enough sun. Once the burning process starts, no sunscreen can reverse it. So take the hint and pack up the beach bag for the day.

What makes mineral sunscreens so safe?

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Zinc oxide, the active ingredient in Badger’s mineral sunscreens has been used safely on the skin for hundreds of years. The non-nano variety that Badger uses is the same stuff that is used in diaper creams and calamine lotions. Non-nano refers to the size of the mineral particles, which when applied to the skin in a lotion or cream-based product, do not get absorbed into the body, do not enter the bloodstream, and are not a threat to human health.

In addition to being the safest for you and your family, mineral sunscreen is safe for the environment. Certain chemical sunscreen ingredients have been scientifically proven to cause coral reef bleaching, which disrupts the delicate ocean ecosystem. Conversely, there is no connection between zinc oxide and coral bleaching. But just to be extra sure, Badger’s water resistant sunscreen creams have been tested and approved biodegradable!

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Frequently asked questions

Can I mix makeup with mineral sunscreen?

No. If you mix anything (makeup, lotion, water, coconut oil, etc.) into mineral sunscreen you dilute the minerals. If you dilute the mineral concentration you will not get the SPF you expect, and can potentially get sunburned.

Why doesn't Badger make higher SPF sunscreens?

SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. As the SPF numbers get larger, the margin of improvement gets smaller. Sunscreens with really high SPFs, like SPF 50, SPF 75, or SPF 100, can provide a false sense of security, encouraging people to spend more time in the sun, which can lead to getting burned. The Environmental Working group has a great piece on the dangers of high SPFs.


Why are mineral sunscreens more expensive?

It’s all about the ingredients. Minerals are more expensive than synthetic chemicals, and zinc oxide is the most expensive. However, zinc oxide provides the best protection, which is why Badger uses it.

If you are concerned about the cost of sunscreen for your family but are also concerned about synthetic chemicals in sunscreen, consider UPF clothing. If you frequent the beach, the initial cost of the UPF clothing is offset by the amount you’ll save on sunscreen over the summer. A rash guard on your little one means applying sunscreen only on exposed skin, the best protection there is.

Remember, common sense rules when it comes to sun protection.

Check out Badger's Mineral Sunscreens.

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