What type of sunscreen do I choose?

Last updated on March 20, 2024

As I promised in my last post, I came back to develop more the subject of the sunscreen.

The sunscreen or sunblock or sun cream as we know it, is a topical product that protects against sunburn and different outcomes from the sun exposure (negative outcomes).

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links. I will only recommend products that I have personally used! Learn more on my Private Policy page.

The sunscreen can be found in different shapes and forms and formulas and whatnot in pharmacies and supermarkets and of course online. We can choose from: lotions, sticks, powders, gels and many other presentation forms.

But what is important is the active ingredient that divides them and makes us wonder: ” What is the best sunscreen for me? What protects my skin the most and doesn’t endanger the environment? What is healthy and why should I use that specific sunscreen? How will it perform together with my other products I use in my skincare routine and with my makeup?”

Though decision to take when there is so much information out there we didn’t know about.

How do you know if your sunscreen is mineral or chemical? Just flip the back of the box and find the “Active ingredients” section. If you read zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, that is a mineral-based sunscreen. If you have a list you got yourself a chemical sunscreen.

There are two main types of sunscreen on the market: Mineral and Chemical. Each type has it’s pros and cons.

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreen sits on the surface of the skin and physically blocks rays like a shield. 

The main ingredients found in most of these are: ZINC OXIDE and TITANIUM DIOXIDE. These two are the only ingredients recognized by doctors , medical entities as safe and effective and that says a lottttt. These particles block UV damage by reflecting and refracting away UV radiation. 


1. Good for sensitive skin, acne prone, children skin.

2. Mineral sunscreen offer broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB (see previous post)


1. Mineral sunscreen made with bigger particles tends to leave a white cast.

2. They tend to be less water resistant than the chemical ones, which means they need to be reapplied more often , especially after swimming or sweating.

3. In spray or powder forms there is the risk of inhaling the particles of Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.

4. Environmentally thinking, even the titanium dioxide in the water produces hydrogen peroxide, a chemical harmful to marine organisms. So “reef-safe” label is for now just a marketing strategy, a “sales gimmick”.


I personally prefer the mineral sunscreens, the ones I use have nano-particles which never made me problems with the white-cast. Here is some of my favorite ones(my skin type is combination oily).

My combination skin needs a sun block without clogging my pores. And this is the winning product. It is fluid, lightweight, noncomedogenic, no fragrance, NO EYE STINGING, high protection broad spectrum and NO WHITE CAST. So many great things and it goes well under makeup as the last step before foundation. I use this religiously, even in the winter. Don’t get fooled by the sun peeking through the clouds, it’s still damaging for our skin, especially for me that I am using products for T-zone that are acne-treatments.


One of the conditions to be protected throughout the day from the harmful sunrays is to reapply the sunscreen. But if you already have makeup? How will you do that?

The perfect solution lies in a powder form sunscreen, and if it a mineral one, even better. The Supergoop! powder mattifies shine, sets makeup and applies and reapplies sunscreen in a very simple way. Please check this video on how to use it.

It’s a must to blot before so that your makeup will bot get cakey through the day. 

Chemical sunscreen

While the mineral sunscreen are still the preferred ones because they don’t penetrate the skin, the chemical ones have evolved over the years. They use chemicals to prevent the UV rays from entering your skin by absorbing the rays with a chemical reaction. Some of the ingredients you will find in chemical sunscreens are: TINOSORB S AND M(popular in Europe but not approved by the FDA), Mexoryl SX, AVOBENZONE, OCTINOXATE, PABA and TROLAMINE SALYCILATE PABA.


1. They get absorbed easier by the skin, they are likely to be more lightweight.

2. They typically don’t leave white cast and are non-sticky.


1. Some of the ingredients used in the chemical sunscreens can be controversial as they are supposed to be not good for your health- like preservatives, dyes , perfumes which can irritate a sensitive skin. Some of them can be hormone disruptors. Avoid oxybenzone.

2. Chemical sunscreens wash off the skin and enter waterways, threatening marine life. 

1. Anthelios UVmune 400 Oil control invisible fluid

My latest discovery for my combination oily skin. Absorbs sebum and reduces the appearance of pores, mattifies and is sweat resistance. I would have loved this to be mineral, but nothing can be 100% as I want. 

It has broad-spectrum high protection and is enriched with thermal water, and is alcohol free. Goes great on my oily T-zone, underneath the make up.


My first sunscreen fluid I discovered some time ago that didn’t cause me breakouts.

Alcohol free, fragrance free and essence-oil free, synthetic fluid promising to minimize the pores and protect from sun damage. About the pore claim, I can’t say I saw a difference, but it didn’t clog them neither , so I was happy about it. Went well underneath the make up and looked good through the day, not drying my skin and not irritating it. Love it, will always have it with me. 

               CLICK TO SHOP

Oldie but goldie. A classic, reliable sunscreen that has been on the market for years, people give it still the same love.

Although it contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, it’s still a chemical sunscreen as it has other active ingredients from the other list.

I personally use it on my neck and hands as it’s rich and gives a nice glow, plus for me it leaves a white cast. I wear makeup every day so it is hard to deal with that. 

Other than that, for me (as for others as I see the reviews,) it did not mess  my sensitive skin, it’s non-comedogenic, it’s broad-spectrum  SPF 30 and what about the price? Very affordable.

30 thoughts on “What type of sunscreen do I choose?”

  1. It’s great to have guidance on selecting a sunscreen that not only protects my skin but is also environmentally friendly. Your point about considering how sunscreen interacts with other skincare products and makeup is something I hadn’t thought much about before!

    1. Thank you, Catalina. It’s so funny we have the same name. It is really important if we use makeup to make sure they go together, it happened to me to get the texture underneath the foundation or separation through the day.

  2. I purchase when I have a coupon on the product, so that I can save a little bit on the price. Thanks for sharing this amazing information on the type of sunscreen.

  3. thanks for sharing these.. i only recently have started looking more consciously at what is in these sunscreens so good to read honest reviews like this

  4. It’s so hard to know what is or is not safe when it comes to things we slather on our skin. You want protection from the sun though, that I know.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *