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Editor’s Picks: 11 of the Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreens That Protect Your Skin With Little to No White Cast

The next generation of zinc oxide sunscreens.
Best zinc oxide sunscreen

If you’re concerned about sunburn, skin cancer and the signs of aging (and who isn’t?!), then a zinc oxide sunscreen is the best way to safeguard your skin. Here in North America, zinc oxide is the only active ingredient that gives you extensive protection against both UVA and UVB rays.[1]

As a mineral, it’s also very safe, since it remains on the surface of your skin instead of absorbing into blood and tissue—so it won’t cause hormonal disruption. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for sensitive and acne-prone skin.

The only downside? Zinc oxide has a bad rep for giving your skin a chalky white cast.

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But that’s changing, thanks to a new generation of zinc oxide sunscreens that virtually disappear on your skin. Here’s what to look for, and the best formulas I’ve found.

Editor’s Picks (At a Glance)

What to Look for in a Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

The Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreens of 2022

EleVen by Venus Williams Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35
Kinship Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen Zinc Oxide SPF 32
First Aid Beauty Mineral Sunscreen Zinc Oxide Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Ghost Democracy Invisible Lightweight Daily Sunscreen SPF 33
Salt Stone Lightweight Sheer Daily Sunscreen SPF 40
Solara Suncare Fortune Teller Brightening Sunscreen Serum SPF 30
Kypris Pot of Shade Heliotropic SPF 30
CyberDerm Simply Zinc Ultra Tinted Transparent Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Love Sun Body Sheer Power Daily Moisturizing Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 30
Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
Ava Isa Sun-e-Serum Drops SPF 35

Further Reading

  1. Faure, Bertrand, Salazar-Alvarez, German, Ahniyaz, Anwar, Villaluenga, Irune, Berriozabal, Gemma, De Miguel, Yolanda R. & Bergström, Lennart. (2013). Dispersion and surface functionalization of oxide nanoparticles for transparent photocatalytic and UV-protecting coatings and sunscreens. Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. 2013 Apr; 14(2): 023001.
  2. BASF Sunscreen Simulator.
  3. DSM Sunscreen Optimizer.
  4. Darvin, M. E., König, K., Kellner-Hoefer, M., Breunig, H. G., Werncke, W., Meinke, M. C., Patzelt, A., Sterry, W. & Lademann, J. (2012). Safety assessment by multiphoton fluorescence/second harmonic generation/hyper-Rayleigh scattering tomography of ZnO nanoparticles used in cosmetic products. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2012; 25(4): 219-26.
  5. Trivedi, Megha & Murase, Jenny. (2017, July 26). Titanium Dioxide in Sunscreen. Application of Titanium Dioxide.
  6. Collins, P. & Ferguson, J. (1994). Photoallergic contact dermatitis to oxybenzone. The British Journal of Dermatology. 1994 Jul; 131(1): 124-9.
  7. Beach, Renée A. & Pratt, Melanie D. (2009). Chronic actinic dermatitis: clinical cases, diagnostic workup, and therapeutic management. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. May-Jun 2009; 13(3): 121-8.
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