What is the Difference Between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreen?

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen

There has been a lot of recent media attention on chemicals like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate found in common chemical sunscreens due to their toxic effects on coral reefs and other sea life. Hawaii recently enacted a ban on these chemicals in an effort to save the reefs. This can leave you, the consumer, confused as to which sunscreens are best for you and your family.

We hear a lot about chemical and mineral sunscreens, but what are the differences and which are best for you and your family? 

What is the main difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen?

The main difference between these two types of sunscreen comes down to ingredients and the way they protect against UV rays.

Mineral sunscreen uses ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that sit on the surface of the skin and act as a physical barrier against the sun’s rays.  These natural minerals are simply tiny rocks, so they pose no threat to the reefs. And  unlike chemical sunscreens that absorb and scatter the UV rays through the body, these minerals work by resting on the skin’s surface, where they act like little mirrors, reflecting the rays away. Because the minerals are not absorbed into the skin, they do not interfere with the body’s endocrine system and are safer for sensitive skin and those with allergies. They also do not break down in the sun and lose effectiveness.

Chemical sunscreen is absorbed into the skin, penetrating on a deeper level.  Part of why chemical SPFs are absorbed so deeply is due to the chemical ingredients used, namely, oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and/or octinoxate. Rather than sitting on the surface of the skin, these ingredients sink into pores to react with UV rays there. While this offers strong protection, many of these chemicals are partially absorbed into the bloodstream, and the side effects of such chemicals haven’t been fully studied. The FDA is calling for more testing to analyze the impact of these chemicals and determine if there is a need for increased safety measures.  We already know that some of these chemicals are affecting our coral reefs and marine life.  Since mineral sunscreens are not absorbed into the bloodstream, they are safe for all skin types and ages.

Mineral sunscreens get to work protecting your skin right away, so you can literally slather it on and go.  Whereas chemical sunscreens require more time to sink in. 

The benefits of Goddess Garden sunscreen.

At Goddess Garden, all of our sunscreen products are mineral based accompanied by other beneficial natural ingredients.  All of our sunscreens are also:  

  • Made for Sensitive Skin
  • Reef Safe 
  • Vegan
  • Broad Spectrum
  • Water Resistant
  • Non-Nano
  • Leaping Bunny Certified
  • Cruelty Free
  • Made with Organic, Plant-Based Ingredients
  • Free from toxic, synthetic chemicals
  • Require no wait time and provide immediate protection

Some mineral sunscreen application tips.

  • Begin with moisturized skin. 
  • Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure, cover small area of skin at a time. 
  • If it’s still white, keep rubbing! That’s due to the protection the zinc provides. 
  • Reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating or after drying off with towel.

“Our mission at Goddess Garden is to educate consumers about the benefits of natural mineral sunscreens, which are safe for people, the planet and the coral reefs,” said CEO and Founder Nova Covington. “Since they are different than traditional chemical sunscreens, learning why mineral sunscreens are safer and knowing how to use them are important parts of the educational process.”

Shop our reef safe mineral sunscreens here.

Shop Our Natural Fragrance Products

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Mineral Sunscreen

Daily Facial Ritual

Daily Mineral Sunscreen

Goddess Garden – Daily Mineral Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Sheer, Zinc, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant, Scented with organic lavender essential oil, Vegan, Reef Safe, Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free


Sport Mineral Sunscreen

Goddess Garden – Sport Mineral Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Sheer, Zinc, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant, Unscented, Vegan, Reef Safe, Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free


Kids Mineral Sunscreen

Goddess Garden – Kids Mineral Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Sheer, Zinc, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant, Scented with organic lavender essential oil, Vegan, Reef Safe, Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free


Baby Sunscreen

Reef safe sunscreens & cooling spray
Made with organic aloe vera & lavender oil