• Stephanie Drax

The Facts about Mineral Sunscreen - beauty expert Gill Sinclair

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Gill Sinclair is the co-founder of Victoria Health, an online resource for cutting-edge, pioneering products focused on natural health, wellness and skincare. Gill and Shabir Daya - a specialist pharmacist - have, on their site, curated a collection of the most effective health and beauty brands and coupled it with expert advice. With so many sunscreens on the market - and with chemical ones being criticised - Gill has given Storytellhers her take on how to be skin safe in the sun.

What is the difference between mineral/physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen?

Physical sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, reflect the sun’s rays whereas chemical sunscreens convert the UV rays into heat which is then dispersed from the skin.

What are the concerns surrounding chemical sunscreen and the benefits of using mineral instead?

Some chemical sunscreens are said to be toxic and possibly cause changes in the DNA within our cells. The mineral sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are generally regarded as safe, especially when you consider that zinc oxide has been used in nappy rash creams for several decades. There are question marks about titanium dioxide.

What ingredients should we be looking to avoid?

At Victoria Health, we tend to avoid all types of chemical sunscreens including cinnamates and oxybenzones which are, in my opinion, known to be associated with possible toxicity.

There is now a wide range of mineral sunscreens on the market. How do we know which one to choose?

We recommend zinc oxide based sunscreens for the reasons mentioned above. Whilst combinations of zinc oxide and titanium exist for greater protection, titanium (especially when found in nanoparticle size) may cause toxicity to the brain and perhaps affect our genetic material since it may be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Do we need to use a separate sunscreen if our moisturiser or foundation already contains SPF?

It all depends upon the sun protector factor offered by your moisturiser, and of course how long you intend to be in the sun.

Gill's Favourite Mineral Sunscreens

iS Clinical Eclipse SPF50 Sunscreen Translucent

This sunscreen is formulated specifically for daily use and extended outdoor activities, Eclipse SPF50+ is a unique fusion of scientifically advanced physical sunscreens with Titanium Dioxide (transparent), Zinc Oxide (micronized) and pure vitamin E. The resulting blend provides water-resistant broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays in an ultra sheer formula that absorbs quickly for a non-greasy matte finish.

Derma E’s Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF30 For Face

This is a physical sunscreen with clear, nano particle-free Zinc Oxide that provides safe, chemical-free broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection without irritating skin or clogging pores. Fortified with antioxidants Vitamin C and Green Tea - nutrients that have been shown to offer an additional layer of UV protection, help skin recover after sun exposure and fight and reduce the signs of ageing. This formula glides on evenly, absorbs quickly and leaves a non-greasy finish. Suitable for all skin types.

Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF30 For Body - as above.

Note that both Derma E’s sunscreens are suitable for children too.


Devita Solar Protective Moisturiser SPF30

An all-natural brand, Devita produces this ultra-light sunscreen that is free of parabens, phthalates, fragrance and chemicals.  The main sunscreen ingredient is micronized zinc oxide 19% but this is not a nanotechnology product - the average particle size is 250 nm.

Frezyderm Sun Screen Velvet Face SPF30

An innovative, transparent sun protection face cream with unique cosmetic behaviour that spreads evenly with one touch. Thanks to the revolutionary Second Skin Technology innovation, its unique formula leaves a velvety feel on the skin, offers a matte appearance for 6 hours absorbing sebum and softening the appearance of wrinkles. Its clear, non-oily texture leaves no white tint and makes an excellent makeup foundation.

Sun Defense Minerals

A hypoallergenic, non-pore clogging natural minerals powder brush that provides water-resistant SPF 30 sun protection and takes care of shine. Genius.