The 10 Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreens for Your Face

Gentle on sensitive skin, tough on sun protection.

(Image credit: K-Angle)

Let's just get it out of the way: You need to wear sunscreen. (opens in new tab) Every. Single. Day. It doesn't matter if it's a cloudy day, or the weather is cold, or you want a tan. Even if your skin doesn't turn bright red, burn, or peel, UVA and UVB rays will still damage your skin on a cellular level. That damage can cause premature aging, melasma, and yes, skin cancer. There are two main types of sunscreen on the market: Physical sunscreens, also known as natural or mineral sunscreens (opens in new tab)—which includes zinc oxide sunscreens—and chemical sunscreens.

What is zinc oxide sunscreen, and how does it work?

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One of the most popular physical sun blockers is zinc oxide, because the ingredient gives the skin strong protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It works by physically blocking the sun's rays, scattering them when they hit your skin. For anyone who has sensitive skin or is wary of chemical sunscreens—some chemical blockers have been linked to harming coral reefs, for one thing—zinc oxide-based sunscreens are a great way to avoid that sun damage we're all trying to avoid. Whether you're looking for a hydrating SPF, a matte formula, or a mineral sunscreen that won't leave a cast on dark skin, there is a zinc oxide sunscreen that will work for you.

Tatjana Freund is a Beauty Commerce Writer, covering makeup, skincare, and haircare products and trends. She's a fan of vodka tonics and creepy Wikipedia pages.