How Do I Pick the Best Sunscreen? A Closer Look at ZO, Elta, Alastin, and La Roche-Posay

April 12, 2022

Did you know that more than one in three Americans reports getting sunburned every year? While sunburn can be painful, is it really a big deal?

Yes! Sunburn is a clear sign that you've been overexposed to harmful ultraviolet rays. This can lead to skin problems, putting you at risk for cancer.

It's imperative to protect yourself and your skin. One of the best ways to do this is by using the best sunscreen. Before you run out to the store and buy the first sunscreen you see, do you know what qualifies a sunscreen as the best?

Keep reading to learn how to pick the sunscreen you need.

Know The Difference Between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreens

One important thing to understand when looking at sunscreen is whether it is a mineral or chemical sunscreen. While all sunscreen gets regulated by the FDA to ensure they're safe and effective, mineral sunscreens are generally better.

The difference between the two is how they block the sun.

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens will let the UV light into your skin. However, once your skin absorbs the light, the chemicals create a reaction. This chemical reaction converts UV light to heat, and then the heat will dissipate from your skin.

Active ingredients in chemical sunscreens often include:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octocrylene
  • Octinoxate
  • Octisalate
  • Avobenzone
  • Homosalate

The advantage of chemical sunscreens is that they're quick and easy to apply. They also don't leave a white film on your skin.

However, the disadvantage is that they can cause skin reactions if you have allergies or sensitive skin. In addition, if you already have melasma or rosacea, it can make those conditions worse.

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens are also sometimes called physical sunscreen. The active ingredients in a mineral sunscreen include:

  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide

The ingredients in this sunscreen will leave small particles on your skin. They sit on the surface and physically prevent UV rays from penetrating your skin.

The advantages of using mineral sunscreen are many. However, one that is big is the safety, you're not exposing your skin to chemicals that can be harmful, and the FDA recognizes these ingredients as safe and effective.

In addition, it's a better choice for individuals with skin conditions or allergies and sensitive skin.

In contrast to chemical sunscreen, this type of sunscreen offers immediate protection. With chemical sunscreens, it often takes 20 to 30 minutes for the sunscreen to absorb into your skin. Finally, you can apply mineral sunscreen over makeup and other skincare products.

Mineral sunscreens do have a few disadvantages. You need to apply them more frequently, and they can often leave a white film on your skin. In addition, because it is thicker and sits on your skin, it could contribute to breakouts if you have problems with acne.

What SPF Should You Choose?

Have you ever stood in the aisle at the store wondering what SPF to choose? You might know that the higher the SPF, the more protection you get.

However, what does it really mean? The SPF of your sunscreen indicates the percentage of UVB rays getting blocked.

No sunscreen can block all rays, but the higher the SPF, the more effective. An SPF of at least 30 is recommended. This will help block 97 percent of the sun's UVB rays.

Remember, that if you choose a higher SPF, it doesn't last longer. You still need to reapply around every two hours.

For protection against UVA and UVB rays, be sure to choose a sunscreen labeled broad spectrum.

What Brand of Sunscreen Is Right for You? 

There are many brands to choose from in the sunscreen aisle. Which is right for you?

If you're ready to start shopping for the best mineral sunscreen, we have a few recommendations.


ZO offers sunscreens that give triple spectrum protection. This will help provide protection against sun and light damage.

Their products range from SPF 30 to SPF 50. In addition, many of their products double as makeup products. They have a sunscreen that doubles as a primer and one that doubles as a powder with color pigments.


EltaMD's products are a zinc-based and broad-spectrum line of sunscreens. They have a wide range of SPF as well. These sunscreens are great for all skin types, lifestyles, and conditions.

If you're prone to acne and worried about mineral sunscreen causing issues, this is a great brand. It's non-comedogenic, meaning that it doesn't tend to clog your pores.

Elta is also sensitivity-free, fragrance-free, and paraben-free.


Alastin currently offers two sunscreens. One is an SPF 30, and the other is SPF 36. These sunscreens are antioxidant-rich and broad-spectrum, which helps in protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays.

They also help shield your skin from environmental pollutants and blue light. This is another brand that's great for sensitive skin and works to not clog pores. It does all of this while hydrating and soothing your skin.

La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay is another excellent mineral sunscreen. They are formulated for sensitive skin and have a variety of choices.

La Roche-Posay has an exclusive Cell-Ox Shield® technology. This product provides UVA and UVB protection and antioxidants for your skin.


Coola offers organic sunscreens. However, they do offer both mineral and chemical sunscreens. Make sure to pay attention to the active ingredients to find the right mineral sunscreen for your skin.

One of the significant benefits of Coola is that its products are 70%+ certified organic ingredients. In addition, they're water-resistant, ideal for sensitive skin, offer plant protection, antioxidant-enriched, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, and more.

Choose the Best Sunscreen for Your Skin

Choosing the best sunscreen for your skin shouldn't be rocket science. When making your decision keep in mind that, in general, mineral sunscreen is a better choice and that you should get at least an SPF 30.

Are you looking for more ways to protect your skin? Contact us today about our sun care services and find out how we can help you continue looking great.