A few weeks ago, users of chemical sunscreens panicked when the FDA issued a statement that some of the chemicals in sunscreens get into your bloodstream. The agency is still investigating whether the chemicals are harmful, but many people resort to mineral sunscreens to play it safe.
Refreshment: Mineral (AKA-physical) sunscreens are usually based on zinc oxide and titanium oxide and do not sink into your skin like chemical sunscreens. "Mineral sunscreens sit on your skin and look like a mirror that reflects the sun's UVA and UVB rays," says Deanne Robinson, a Connecticut dermatologist. While mineral sunscreens are sometimes referred to as natural sunscreens, they are technically not entirely natural. While their ingredients undergo a chemical process during formulation, they are by and large a neater option, and certainly safer than abstaining from sunscreens. (In case you're wondering, the all-natural DIY sunscreen is a recipe for sun damage.)
Regardless of whether you're surprised by the recent FDA warning or not, you should choose minerals if you have sensitive skin to have. "People with sensitive skin should use a sun protection factor," says Tanya Kormeili, a dermatologist from Santa Monica. "Chemical sunscreens like avobenzone can be irritating." Some of the chemicals that are common in sunscreens are associated with damage to the coral reef, which has led to sunscreen products containing oxybenzone and octinoxate being banned from sunscreen for your face.