The Best Mineral Sunscreen to Reflect the Sun’s Harsh Rays
Mineral sunscreen has come a long way, baby. Here, discover your new faves — all available in Canada.
Mineral sunscreen in Canada
In Canada, sunscreen (aka sunblock or SPF) is classified as a drug, so it needs to meet the requirements in Canada’s Food and Drugs Act before it can be imported, advertised or sold here. Most other countries classify sunscreen as a cosmetic (including Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, India, Korea, the EU, etc) or an OTC drug (U.S.) so Health Canada’s regulations are fairly extensive in comparison. (When it comes to application, sunscreen rules are much easier to follow, we promise!) While that’s definitely a good thing for our health and safety, it may mean a longer waiting time before a brand is able to offer their sunscreen for sale in Canada.
Physical vs chemical sunscreen
Mineral sunscreen falls under the physical filter category of sunscreen, meaning this type of sunscreen reflects UVA and UVB rays (thanks to titanium oxide and/or zinc oxide). The other type of sunscreen, categorized as chemical filters, works by absorbing UVA and UVB rays. Both are great options, but physical sunscreens are growing in popularity thanks to product innovations and improvements (no more chalky white cast!). And, interest in mineral sunscreens is bound to grow even more in light of research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association that calls into question four ingredients commonly found in chemical sunscreen formulas (namely, avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule). Experts aren’t saying you shouldn’t use sunscreen though. Daily use of sunscreen is a must, and be sure you’re also giving yourself a regular skin check for skin cancer. And don’t forget about the most commonly ignored body parts!
Below, a list of the best mineral sunscreen options you can buy in Canada. And since sunscreen can often leave a white residue on skin, here are the best sunscreens for people with dark skin tones.
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Elta MD
A favourite among dermatologists everywhere, EltaMD’s lightweight sunscreen is formulated with zinc oxide, which reflects UVA and UVB rays, and hyaluronic acid, which helps to plump skin and keep it hydrated.
EltaMD UV Daily SPF 40, $57, lacandbeauty.com
Best Mineral Sunscreen: SkinCeuticals
Boasting zinc oxide (5 percent) and titanium dioxide (6 percent), this weightless fluid also contains artemia salina, a plankton extract which helps boost the skin’s natural defenses to environmental stress (think: UV rays and pollution).
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, $50, skinceuticals.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Dermalogica
Made with non-nano zinc oxide to protect against UV rays, this weightless facial sunscreen is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. As with all sunscreens, use it as the last step in your daily skin care routine.
Dermalogica Invisible Defense SPF 30, $64, dermatolgica.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Drunk Elephant
With 20 percent zinc oxide, this sunscreen offers plenty of protection but won’t leave you with a ghostly white face thanks to its tinted formula.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Protection SPF 30, $47, drunkelephant.com
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Coppertone
This family favourite brand is now available in a 100 percent mineral-based formula with 14.5 percent zinc oxide.
Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50, $12, mass-market retailers
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Cyberderm
This luxe formula bestows a sheer illuminating tint on users – in addition to high-quality protection by way of 25 percent zinc oxide.
Cyberderm Simply Zinc Ultra SPF 50, $58, thedetoxmarket.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Live Clean
Some mineral sunscreen formulations are quite thick. This continuous spray option is super fluid and easy to blend. And when you apply, don’t miss these often forgotten about body parts.
Live Clean Sport Mineral Sunscreen Spray 30, $17, well.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Consonant
The name says it all. This tinted mineral sunscreen delivers SPF 30 protection in a smooth, tinted, non-greasy formula. Active ingredients: zinc oxide (10 percent) and titanium dioxide (6 percent).
The Perfect Sunscreen, $48, consonantskincare.com
Best Mineral Sunscreen: LaSpa
This all natural Canadian brand has created a formula with 14 percent zinc oxide to reflect both UVA and UVB rays. (Dermatologists reveal the sunscreen myths that make them cringe.)
LaSpa SPF 30 Moisturizing Mineral Sunscreen Sensitive Skin – Face and Neck, $40, beautysense.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Lovefresh
This all-natural zinc oxide sun stick is perfect for on-the-go touchups for your little one. Toss it in your purse or your gym bag and you never need to worry about spills.
Lovefresh Baby Sun Stick, $15, well.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Sunthera3
This affordable, water-resistant (up to 80 minutes) option uses a combination of titanium oxide (2.53 percent) and zinc oxide (11.9 percent).
Sunthera3 Mineral Sun Protection Lotion SPF 30, $15, Shoppers Drug Mart
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Ombrelle
The active ingredient in this fragrance-free sunscreen is titanium oxide (14.9 percent).
Ombrelle 100% Mineral Sunscreen Body Lotion, $20, mass-market retailers
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Suntegrity
With 20 percent zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection, this sunscreen also has the added benefit of antioxidants thanks to green tea extract and pomegranate seed oil.
Suntegrity Unscented Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Body, $24 USD, suntegrityskincare.com
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Institut Esthederm
The small size (30 mL) of this broad spectrum face sunscreen makes it perfect for travel. Add it to your packing list, along with these other pint-sized clean beauty products.
Institut Esthederm UV Protect SPF 50+ Face Cream, $39, esthederm.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Avène
Available in three smart shades (light, medium and dark) so you get the perfect amount of coverage. Active ingredients: zinc oxide (15.6 percent) and titanium oxide (8.7 percent)
Eau Thermale Avène High Protection SPF50+ Complexion Correcting Shield, $30, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Best Mineral Sunscreen: La Roche-Posay
Pair this 11 percent titanium dioxide mineral sunscreen with a La Roche-Posay My UV Patch (available with the purchase of an Anthelios product). The peel-and-stick wearable patch connects to an app to track sun exposure and act as a virtual “sun coach.”
La Roche-Posay Ultra Fluid SPF50 Tinted Mineral, $36, Shoppers Drug Mart
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Di Morelli
This made-in-Canada brand was created by Dr. Robert Morrell, founder of the Medical Rejuvenation Centre in Vancouver. Active ingredient: zinc oxide (10 percent)
Di Morelli SPF 35, $27, dimorelli.com
Best Mineral Sunscreen: Zorah Biocosmetiques
This mineral sunscreen is coral reef-safe and made with fair trade ingredients, including argan oil —a signature ingredient of the Montreal-based brand.
Zorah Biocosmetiques BIO DEF Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30, $35, zorahbiocosmetiques.com