Powder sunscreen: better than cream?

powder-sunscreen-bestYou may be about to stock up on sunscreen as the summer kicks in – but before you reach for your usual product on the supermarket shelves – is it worth a rethink?

One of the things that bugs many of us about sunscreen is the sticky or greasy after feel – especially on your face. It rubs off on clothes, attracts sand like a magnet and undermines any makeup you wear.

If you want to protect your skin from sun damage but don’t like the greasy feel of a traditional sun cream  – a  mineral sunscreen could be the answer.

If you are anything like me – you may have hesitated right there. Surely a powder can’t provide the same level of UV protection as a quality cream or spray? From what I have been seeing lately it seems the reverse is true.

Mineral makeup, sunscreen and just about everything else formulated with minerals has really come on in leaps and bounds since the first products launched a few years back.

When Peter Thomas Roth created his mineral sunscreen in 2008 – it was ahead of the times no doubt. Now in 2012 it seems we are all catching up.

Nanoparticles stay put

Mineral sunscreens had been around before then but they tended to be something of a specialist buy on ‘green’ skin care sites for consumers who wanted to steer clear of chemicals with their SPF. Mineral sunscreen is based on zinc and titanium dioxide in minute particle form that rests on the skin’s surface and reflects the bad UV rays away.

One of the problems that was perceived with early mineral products was the issue of nanoparticles – reducing minerals to ultra fine particle size was an issue of some concern to many people worried about the effect of nanoscale minerals migrating below the skin’s surface and causing damage.

The reality has turned out differently.

According to a fascinating new report published on the Environmental Working Group’s Skincare site – mineral sunscreens are likely to have a better safety record AND do the job you want them to do. To quote from their report: “Mineral sunscreens have the best safety profile of today’s choices. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin.”

In the light of this new summary of research – which is definitely worth a read if you are after a good sunscreen – I revisited my earlier review of the Peter Thomas Roth Mineral Powder Sunscreen and looked around to see what else was avaialable.

Mineral sunscreen powder reviews

There are now a lot of products around in 2012 and prices have come down a lot since I first looked. Be sure to search for a powder product – don’t just look for a mineral sunscreen as that will bring up all the sun creams based on minerals as well.

The reviews on Amazon are very helpful in this category – detailed and full of positives. The things that users mentioned over and over again as being advantages for a powder sunscreen over a cream were:

  • goes on under AND over makeup for a top up
  • no greasy or sticky residue
  • no white film
  • doesn’t sting or run into the eyes
  • fits in your purse and you can carry it everywhere

One thing I noticed that did surprise me was the number of people saying how well it went down with kids making that fight to top up the sunscreen as easy as a quick flick of the brush!

In my view you are going to need a cream or spray product as well for the full body sun barrier if you are hitting the beach or pool in peak summertime. I can’t imagine using a powder as an all over sunscreen and most of those available are definitely intended as products for the face.

Best powder sunscreen

The original product I reviewed – Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral Sunscreen – offers the benefits of a broad spectrum sunscreen in a silky smooth mineral powder with protection up to SPF45 at its highest level in the anti aging version.

The transparent mineral powder has been subject to an extra fine milling so that the particles glide on to the skin without leaving a residue. The SPF 30 version is the most popular and gets a great range of reviews on Amazon.

The product is packaged in a compact container (perfect purse size says one reviewer) with a retractable brush so it’s easy to apply and refresh at any time during the day.

It is a little more expensive than the other products on the market – but you are getting a great skin care brand. Also the brush applicator stands up to wear and tear judging by reviews – not true of some others.

There are lots of others to consider as well but a couple caught my eye for value and good reviews. Colorescience Sunforgettable gives you SPF30 via tiny milled mineral particles applied with a similar applicator brush to the Peter Thomas Roth and it is refillable. Popular and well reviewed.

SPF 30 is the minimum to go for in my book if you are looking for anti aging protection for your face. there were some factor 15 and others without any indication of the level of protection offered – I would tend not to go for those. Some products like the Peter Thomas Roth original take the SPF up a level – Bee Sunny SPF35 Powder Sunscreen uses a mix of titanium dioxide and zinc powders and gives an excellent level of protection at a reasonable price.

You can have fun browsing the Beauty section at Amazon for other suggestions – my personal favorite would still be the Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Sunscreen – but if my kids were younger I might be tempted to go for one of the cheaper options instead.

About Eileen

I am the publisher of Simply Anti Aging and a web author researching and writing on all aspects of anti aging. I'd love you to connect with me on

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