The Most Important Skincare Step

Put a call out into the ether with a quest for the answer to 'what's the most important skincare step?' the response is loud and clear; to wear sunscreen every day to protect skin from damaging UV rays.

Not only does wearing sunscreen protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but it also helps prevent premature aging and hyperpigmentation. I'm not a dermatologist yet as an organic, 100% natural, vegan skincare formulator I'm interested in and have a passion for products that nourish the skin you're in. After some digging around, and as it's a frequently asked question from my customers, I've pulled together some points to consider about sunscreen.

Now I'm going to come clean, I've been taking the supplement 12mg Natural Astaxanthin (cheeky brand for several years intermittently) on account of prickly heat (regardless of wearing sunscreen) which offers some broad spectrum protection. There are over 300 published studies on Astaxanthin showing its potential in supporting human health. Astaxanthin exerts a strong anti-oxidative activity by scavenging free radicals, In particular, the scavenging effect of astaxanthin for singlet oxygen is approximately 1000 times higher than that of coenzyme Q10. (Source)

The advice seems to be that wearing sunscreen every day is a simple yet crucial step in maintaining healthy, happy skin. 

What does sunscreen do?

Sunscreen helps protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. It works by absorbing or reflecting the UV radiation, which can cause sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer.

Using sunscreen is an important step in protecting your skin from the sun. Here are some additional points to consider according:

• Sunscreen should be applied generously and often - at least every two hours when outdoors.

• Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

• The SPF (sun protection factor) of your sunscreen indicates how long you can stay in the sun without burning compared to how long it would take you to burn without sunscreen. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen allows you to stay in the sun 30 times longer without burning than you would if you weren't wearing sunscreen.

• Sunscreen is not just for the beach or pool - it should be worn daily, even when it's cloudy or you're indoors near windows and don't forget to protect other areas of your skin, such as your lips and the tops of your ears.

Is sunscreen dangerous?

Sunscreen is generally safe for use. However, it is important to follow the instructions for proper use and to choose a product that is appropriate for your skin type. Some studies have raised concerns about certain chemicals commonly used in sunscreen, but more research is needed to fully understand the potential risks.  According to Consumer Reports, common sunscreen chemicals—including oxybenzone and octinoxate—are harmful to coral reefs, fish, shrimp, and sea urchins. 

So what's the alternative?

Mineral skincare which includes sunscreen refers to skincare products that contain minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and copper, which are believed to have various benefits for the skin. These minerals can help to nourish, soothe, and protect the skin, and are often used in products such as cleansers, moisturisers, and masks. Mineral skincare is a popular choice for those with sensitive skin or those looking for natural skincare options.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, mineral skincare products have several other advantages that make them a great choice for your skincare routine. Here are some more benefits of mineral skincare:

• Mineral skincare products have a longer shelf life than other skincare products, as minerals do not break down as easily as other active ingredients.

• Minerals are natural ingredients that are less likely to cause allergic reactions or irritation, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin.

• Minerals such as zinc and magnesium have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to calm irritated or inflamed skin.

• Copper is known for its ability to stimulate collagen production, which can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

• Mineral skincare products are often formulated without harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances, making them a safer and more eco-friendly choice for your skin and the environment.

So, if you are looking for a natural and effective way to take care of your skin, mineral sunscreen products are definitely worth considering  - but does mineral skincare work, is it effective?

Does mineral sunscreen work?

Yes, mineral sunscreen works by using natural minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to physically block harmful UV rays from penetrating the skin. It is a safe and effective option for protecting your skin from sun damage. Here's some useful info:

• Sunscreen should be applied frequently, especially if you are spending a lot of time outdoors.

• Look for sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection, which means they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

• Don't forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially after swimming or sweating.

• Advice is that sunscreen should be worn even on cloudy days, as UV rays can still penetrate through clouds.

• If you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, look for sunscreens that are labelled as non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.

What's the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat, while mineral sunscreens create a physical barrier that reflects and scatters UV rays away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens can be absorbed into the skin and may cause irritation or allergic reactions in some people, while mineral sunscreens are generally considered to be gentler on the skin. Additionally, some chemical sunscreens have been found to be harmful to coral reefs, while mineral sunscreens are typically considered to be reef-safe.

What SPF do mineral sunscreen have?

Mineral sunscreens typically have an SPF (sun protection factor) between 15 and 50+.

General guidance specifies that when choosing a mineral sunscreen, it's important to look for one that has an SPF of at least 30. This will provide adequate protection against both harmful UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, mineral sunscreens are a great option for those with sensitive skin as they are less likely to cause irritation or breakouts compared to chemical sunscreens. As already stated mineral sunscreens are reef-safe and environmentally friendly, as they contain natural ingredients that do not harm marine life. When applying mineral sunscreen, be sure to use enough to cover all exposed skin and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

I've searched out a few which come highly recommended (click each image to find out more):



So do you apply mineral sunscreen after skincare and makeup?

It is recommended to apply mineral sunscreen as the final step in your skincare routine, after moisturiser and before makeup. This will ensure that the sunscreen is able to form a protective barrier on your skin and provide effective sun protection. Apply over your Skin Elixir products and you're good to go.

I hope this has been of some interest. It follows a recent message from a customer who was interested to know what sunscreen was a safe bet.


🌿The Skin Elixir blog is currently number 5 in the top 20 UK Skin Care Blogs.