Elizabeth Dyer

lifestyle blog

Switch to Mineral Sunscreen This Summer

June 21, 2019

Tomorrow is the official first day of summer! Fall is my favorite season, but summer falls quickly behind. Swimming, beach, lake activities, porch sitting, lightning bugs, leafy trees, hot thunderstorms, and more. How much better can it get?!

Amongst all the fun things that summer brings, sunburns are not one of them. Luckily, due to my olive skin, I don’t burn often and if I do it is likely gone after a good night’s sleep. Potentially irresponsibly of me, I never truly gave in to the “wear sunscreen daily” message beauty gurus have been touting for years. I wore sunscreen if I were in the sun for lengthy periods of time, reapplied, and kept covered if I knew my skin couldn’t tolerate anymore. The Vitamin D I would get from a walk outside always seemed much more beneficial to me than putting on sunscreen when I knew there was no risk of burning. The only reason I would buy a lotion with sunscreen in it is that it smelled good. Sunscreen is one of my favorite smells because it is so nostalgic! A quick waft has me dreaming of collecting seashells and walking outside in bare feet. However, many of my friends and family swear by using sunscreen everyday no. matter. what.

Little did we know, that sweet, demure Coppertone girl had it out for us all along. Luring us in with her cute dog and capturing us with the promising smell of sunny days. Sigh.

The conventional sunscreens we grew up knowing and trusting (think Banana Boat, Coppertone, Neutrogena, etc.) have chemicals in them that have been harming us. And for many people, these harmful chemicals have been applied every single day. Common ingredients in chemical sunscreen such as oxybenzone (8 on the EWG Skin Deep database) and octinoxate (6 on the EWG Skin Deep database) are inserted into the formula to “protect” our skin from the sun’s harmful rays but absorb into the bloodstream as endocrine disruptors in males and females.

What are endocrine disruptors and why should you care? I will likely write many future posts on it because it is a serious, serious problem, but long story short, they are chemicals that interfere with your body’s hormone regulation. Imbalances in hormone levels can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, infertility, and other health issues.  Oxybenzone tops the list of toxic ingredients in sunscreens not only due to its ability to cause allergic skin reactions (Rodriguez 2006) but due to it being a weak estrogen in lab studies and its potent anti-androgenic effects (Krause 2012, Ghazipura 2017)(1). Um HELLO, do you want to be rubbing estrogen all over your body and your child’s?! Didn’t think so. Some researchers even believe that oxybenzone contributes to melanoma because it generates free radicals when exposed to ultraviolet light.

If you’re like me, you will ask yourself, “What’s worse? Hormone disruption or melanoma?” Frankly, they are both life-threatening and should be a cause of concern. This is where mineral sunscreen saves the day!

Mineral sunscreen (aka physical sunscreen) is exactly what it sounds like. It is sunscreen made from minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that do not penetrate the skin, they stay on top of the skin as physical particles deflecting the sun’s UV rays.

Chemical sunscreens (aka sun filters) work to absorb the sun’s UV rays and send it back into the universe as heat yet penetrate the skin and absorb rapidly into the bloodstream. Furthermore, according to the EWG, chemical sunscreens often contain “penetration enhancers” furthering their toxic impact and are often accidentally ingested. I know I have put on sunscreen with my hands and then eaten a sandwich. Yuck.

Additionally, chemical sunscreens not only affect our bodies, but they also affect the health of our oceans. The ocean reefs are dying at alarming rates for the same reason we should stop using them on our skin. Toxic oxybenzone is wreaking havoc on the ocean reefs and essentially causing them to go extinct. While all sunscreen will likely affect ocean health in large quantities, switching to a mineral sunscreen can drastically reduce the effect on ocean health. If you can’t justify making changes to a mineral sunscreen for your own health, think of those fishies!

Because mineral sunscreen typically doesn’t include chemicals as endocrine disruptors, additional toxic ingredients, and reef-safe it is all around a safer alternative.



So, how am I supposed to pick out the correct sunscreen, you ask?

  1. Avoid chemicals oxybenzone, octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate),homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. Trade up for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  2. Don’t be fooled by “natural” skin care companies. Just because the product has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in it doesn’t mean it’s automatically good to go. Check all ingredients on the EWG Skindeep database for toxicity concerns and check that they are not doubling up with mineral and chemical active ingredients.
  3. Curb your expectations – you will still need to reapply whether you are using chemical or mineral sunscreen! There is no miracle sunscreen that will stay on all day.


It is important to note that mineral sunscreens are generally thicker and may be white when you first put them on. Depending on the sunscreen, the whiteness will probably go away after a rub in.


Want to make things easy?

I suggest Beautycounter, Raw Elements Face + Body, Adorable Baby Natural Sunscreen, Babo Botanicals, and Made Of Baby Sunscreen. 

I used Raw Elements Face + Body all of last summer and thought it did a pretty good job. It is thick so I seemed to go through it quickly. Stock up if you have a long beach trip.

Beautycounter just released their Countersun collection! Not only is the packaging beautiful, but the products also go on great, feel light, and provide full, mineral-based sun coverage.

I have heard from mom friends that the Mineral Sunscreen Stick is easy to swipe onto their squirmy little ones. Plus, it is great for facial application and hard to reach spots like your hairline. It goes on clear if you’re worried about putting mineral sunscreen on under makeup!



Want to try one?!

I am giving away a full-sized Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick to the first 20 people who sign up for Beautycounter’s Band of Beauty membership through me until 6/28/19! Full transparency, I am a Beautycounter consultant and I will make a commission on purchases made through my Beautycounter URL, but I will genuinely never share anything that I don’t personally love or vet for safety. Beautycounter is a luxury, non-toxic beauty brand that happens to fully align with my personal brand so I love supporting their mission! Plus, extra transparency, I will break even by offering this incentive, I just want to make it easy and rewarding for you to switch to clean beauty with me!!

Here’s how the BOB membership works:

You pay $29 and get allllll of this!

  • Free shipping on orders $100+
  • 10% Product Credit on Applicable Orders (For example, if you spend $100 you will receive $10 towards your next purchase!)
  • Members-only exclusive offers
  • A welcome gift of a free Precision Liquid Eyeliner and a 30 ml Instant Eye Makeup Remover ($38 value) if you spend $50+
  • A full-sized Countersun Mineral Sun Stick (.5 g) personally shipped to you from moi ($21 value)


So, let’s just say you sign up for the BOB membership and spend $50 on product…

  • $29 membership + $50 product = $79
  • Mineral Sunstick (-$21) = $58
  • Welcome Gift (-$38) = $20
  • $5 towards your next purchase! = $15 for tons of clean, pretty, practical stuff!


And that’s all! Now you’re prepared to rock the screen this summer!


xo, Elizabeth



Chemical sunscreen in the news:


ABC News



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