July 23, 2020

I discovered a moisturizing mineral sunscreen

Minerals are inherently drying. So the search for a non-chemical sunscreen that doesn’t leave my face tight and dehydrated at the end of the day was not an easy one.

I may have tried about 100 sunscreens. Most didn’t make the cut. This was what I was looking for:

1.     100% mineral sunscreen – coral reef safe (and less comedogenic)
2.     More than 17% zinc – best UVA protection
3.     No retinyl palmitate – photosensitizing
4.     Non-drying
5.     No white cast
6.     Non-greasy finish
7.     Nourishing ingredients

Most sunscreens failed on points #4, #5 and #6. You wouldn’t believe how many times my face looked like a greaseball. The things I do in the name of research.

Because of these steep qualifications only one made the cut: Juice beauty CC cream. It has 20% zinc oxide for maximum UV coverage, and it’s slightly tinted so there’s no risk of a white cast. For reference, I used the color Natural Glow. 

But I believe the key ingredient that keeps me dewy is sodium hyaluronate. Sodium hyaluronate is a linear polysaccharide that is ubiquitous in the human body and crucial to cellular functions [1]. Sodium hyaluronate in the skin has a superpower: it is able to absorb up to 1000x its weight in water [2]. So, if you have dehydrated skin, it will help hold water in your skin and keep it soft and moisturized. Our epidermal and dermal cells are able to synthesize sodium hyaluronate throughout our lives, but they lose their ability to produce optimal amounts as we age [2]. So, if you’ve noticed your skin feels a little drier than it did when you were younger, this could be why. 

I don't love that they use ethylhexylglycerin as a preservative because it's classified as a mild skin and eye irritant. I haven't noticed a problem after months of using it. But as always, if it irritates your skin, stay away. It's not the worst ingredient in the world, but in the spirit of transparency, I wanted to disclose the good with the bad.

I like to apply this sunscreen over my facial oil and top it off with a hydrosol. Sodium hyaluronate can absorb “up to” 1000x its weight in water, so you want to give it lots of water to maximize that absorption potential. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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[1] Burdick, J., Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications, Advanced Materials, 2011 
[2] Smejkalova, D.Hyaluronic acid: A Natural Moisturizer for Skincare, Vol. 2 Part 4.1.3, 2015 

Full Ingredients:
Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20%, Organic Aloe barbadensis juice*, cocos nucifera (organic coconut) oil*, pyrus malus (organic apple) juice*, vitis vinifera (organic white grape) juice*, caprylic/capric triglyceride†, sorbitan stearate, ricinus communis (castor seed) oil+, polyglyceryl-10 laurate, magnesium sulfate, helianthus annuus (organic sunflower) seed oil*, simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba) seed oil*, tocopherol (Vitamin E)+, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C), sodium hyaluronate†, malus domestica (apple) fruit cell culture extract+, vitis vinifera (grape) fruit cell extract+, citrus medica limonum (lemon) leaf cell extract+, phenethyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin†, citrus reticulata (mandarin) oil+, citrus aurantium (petitgrain) oil+. May contain: iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499). 

* = Certified organic ingredient† = plant derived 

Image courtesy of:
1. Juice Beauty

I sought out this information and was not compensated monetarily or otherwise for this post.