My skin burns easily and is prone to fine lines, so it's super important that I wear sunscreen every day, even in a low-sun city like Seattle. In researching the best daily sunscreens, I discovered that the majority of UV blockers are riddled with crazy chemicals, many of which may mess with your hormones and have been potentially linked to breast cancer, infertility and premature puberty in girls.
Seems like something to avoid, no?
So I refocused my search onto natural sunscreens that use zinc oxide, a regular ol' rock that, when ground down to a fine powder and spread on your skin in a cream formula, creates a fine, transparent barrier against the sun's rays. This is the same white stuff you've seen on lifeguards' noses in old photos, except today's versions blend right into the skin — for the most part. That's where the current offering differs.
I asked my dermatologist for some zinc suncreen samples, and of all the kinds she gave me, only a few rubbed into my skin without leaving white streaks or flaky bits around my hairline. And of those few, only one didn't make my ultra-sensitive skin break out.
The winner? Vanicream Sunscreen Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 35. This stuff is so gentle on my skin. I can use it every day without worrying that it'll clog my pores or cause irritation. It blends in quickly and moisturizes my skin at the same time, so I don't technically have to double up on moisturizer AND sunscreen (though I still do, because my skin is crazy dry). And so far, no burns!
At $13 a pop, one bottle lasts a surprisingly long time. I bought my current one almost five months ago and it still has about a third left.
I'm undecided about what to do when this summer when I'm hanging out and swimming in a bikini. It takes an epic amount of sunscreen to repeatedly cover my whole body throughout the day, so I may have to find a bigger bottle from another brand. But for a daily, natural facial sunscreen, Vanicream is the way to go.