Are Zinc Oxide Sunscreens Better?


Are zinc oxide sunscreens better than those with chemical UV filter active ingredients or even titanium dioxide? In my opinion, as a dermatologist who has specialized in skin cancer and sun damaged skin for over 30 years, I think they are. I’ve seen the results of sunscreen choice in my patients since I’ve performed well over 200,000 full skin exams. The skin tells the stories of successes and disappointments. I made notes! From this experience, zinc oxide emerges as the clear winner as the best sun protection UV filter.

In my dermatological practice I see patient after patient, this has proven itself to me over the years.

Why do zinc oxide sunscreens work best as a sunscreen?

  • Zinc oxide particles in sunscreen sit invisibly on the skin’s surface and deflect UV rays like bullets ricocheting off a hard surface. There is no chemical reaction on your skin like there is with chemical sunscreens.

  • Zinc oxide is one of the two FDA-approved ingredients for UV-A1 sunscreens. The other, avobenzone, is too fragile to rely on in my opinion.
  • Zinc Oxide gives you broad spectrum protection from UVB to UV-A1, meaning your skin gets the best possible sun protection.
  • Zinc oxide is a stable sunscreen ingredient that is much less likely to break down in the bottle or on your skin than chemical ingredients.
  • Zinc Oxide offers broader UV protection than Titanium Dioxide and is more cosmetically elegant to use (aka being invisible on your skin).
  • Zinc oxide is not irritating to sensitive skin.
  • Zinc Oxide is not absorbed into your body; It stays on your skin where you put it and where it can protect you from the sun.

One of my long-time patients came to my practice right after returning from a sunny cruise vacation. She loves the sun and puts sunscreen to the ultimate test. When I examined her skin, which looked like it had been well protected from the sun, she said:

“These zinc oxide sunscreens are the best!”

“(During my) long vacation and cruise in the sun… I used zinc oxide SPF 30 sunscreen every day and look how well it worked! Other people have used SPF 50 and didn’t sting like hers.” Brenda W. Sevastopol, CA

Science says a lot about sun protection, but the proof of what really works is visible every day in my dermatologist’s office. Zinc Oxide gave Brenda better protection than her peers because it works better. I recommend that you only trust your own skin and that of your family to zinc oxide sunscreen.


I recommend zinc oxide sunscreen

Are Zinc Oxide Sunscreens Better?  Yes, the best!

Click here to view them Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Products I Recommend for my skin patients and which I use for myself and my family. We tested all of these products. You will not find a single product here that does not meet my approval. We have tried others and the losers are NOT here.

You can also find sunscreen like real UPF 50 sun hats and umbrellas because you want to create shade to deflect direct UV rays onto your skin. I also have a cute little inexpensive UV tester. Protecting your skin is important to me.


It is very important that your sun protection suits your skin type and your activities.

Find the right zinc oxide sunscreen for your skin. You have to love your sunscreen so you can wear it every day, and it has to stand up to your activities so you can rely on your protection.

The tips of dermatologist Dr. Bailey on choosing the right sunscreen.

  • a waterproof and abrasion-resistant sunscreen that lasts:
    • when you are wet or sweaty
    • rubbed on skin by clothing
    • on skin that you wash repeatedly (like the backs of your hands)
  • best zinc oxide sunscreen for face
    a sun protection product that improves the look and feel of your complexion that you love to use every day.
    • Oily complexions prefer oil-free and even matte sunscreen bases
    • Dry complexions prefer a more moisturizing base
    • Hairy skin works best with a thin product that’s easy to massage around the hair.

Tips for choosing the right sunscreen for your skin type and activity.


Best Face Sunscreens:

Sheer Strength Pure Physical SPF 50+ sunscreen is great for all skin types. They are oil-free, non-drying, non-irritating and rub well on hairy skin. Sheer Strength Sunscreens are state-of-the-art, non-nano sized transparent zinc oxide sunscreens. You can’t compare these to any other sunscreen for the great protection you get with a look and feel that’s lightweight and non-greasy on your skin.

Better are zinc oxide sunscreens - tinted mineral zinc oxide face sunscreen is best
Sheer Strength Pure Physical Matte Tinted Cream SPF 30+ Sunscreen is my personal daily sunscreen. The tint comes from mineral iron oxide, which also helps block visible light and blue screen light, which is known to play a role in some pigment problems like melasma. The tinting technology blends well with all skin tones – fair to darker pigmented complexions love this sunscreen!


Are Zinc Oxide Sunscreens Better For Your Face?
Sheer Strength Pure Physical Liquid Sunscreen SPF 50+ is ideal for application on hairy skin and larger skin areas as well as on the face. I use it daily on my arms, neck, chest, ears and back of my hands. I also wear it hiking because it’s moderately water repellent. A favorite for men with beards and hairy arms, this is easy to use even on thinning scalps and parting lines.

Best zinc oxide powder sunscreen

Sheer Strength SPF 50 Refresh Powder Sunscreen gives you a convenient way to reapply sunscreen during the day; Apply powder over makeup or anywhere without having to wash the cream off your hands. Powder sunscreens easily fit in your purse and backpack. This tinted sunscreen powder also contains over 3.2% Iron Oxide to block visible red and blue light (think computer screens) that can darken skin pigment issues.

Best Very Waterproof Sunscreens:

zinc oxide sunscreens are better for the familySheer Strength Pure Physical Water Resistant SPF 50 sun protection. This sunscreen offers purely mineral protection that can withstand a lot of water fun and sweat. It is non-greasy and ideal for the whole family. Convenient non-aerosol is popular for quick and easy application.

Best sunscreen for lips

Best Pure Zinc Oxide Lip SunscreenVanicream lip protectiont Cosmetically elegant, hypoallergenic and moisturizing sun protection for the delicate skin of the lips.

To see my entire range smart sunscreens and zinc oxide sunscreens Click here.

I’m picky and I love nature. I have the best sun protection products and tips to keep your skin healthy and UV protected while enjoying the beautiful outdoors to the fullest!

Author: dr Cynthia Bailey MD is a licensed dermatologist who has been practicing dermatology since 1987. She has performed well over 200,000 skin exams throughout her career and is the author of the longest-running physician-written skin health blog in the world.

Photo Credit: Thanks and gratitude to © Andrew Plewes/ImageZoo/Corbis

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