Four Physical Sunblocks You’ll Love

I’m forever talking about my preference for physical sunblocks over chemical screens.

While your choice of sunblock is largely personal and based on your own preferences (and while even I will veryoccasionally use a product with a chemical screen), there is lots of emerging research to suggest that chemical sunscreens can have negative effects not only on your body, but also on the environment.

Not to get all Debbie Downer, but I firmly believe that these findings are worth taking into consideration when it comes to deciding how to protect yourself and your family against the harmful effects of the sun.

So if you’re ready to discover some new products that not only protect well but also look great, then these are for you!

Physical Sunblocks vs. Chemical Sunscreens

A physical sunblock is an ingredient that sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays by bouncing them back off your skin, versus a chemical sunscreen, which is absorbed into your skin and creates a chemical reaction which changes the sun’s rays into heat, which are then released from your skin.

Look for these two active ingredients on a product’s label to show that your sun protection is physical, instead of chemical:

Zinc Oxide

Titanium Dioxide

The Benefits of Going Physical

When you use sunblocks with physical blockers only, you’re avoiding exposure to unnecessary sunscreen chemicals that some wellness advocates claim can end up negatively impacting your health in other ways.

Furthermore, other chemical sunscreen ingredients–namely, oxybenzone–have been proven to be dangerous to the ocean’s delicate ecosystem, being blamed for harming coral reefs.

The verdict? If you’re looking to help prevent some premature aging and protect yourself from outright sunburn during those long days outside, sunblock is right for you.

On that note, here are four products with physical sunblocks I’ve been using lately and loving, and I think you will too!

Here are some benefits I’ve noticed since switching over to physical sunblocks:

  • Less sensitivity in bright sunlight (especially when I’m working out or sweating outside)
  • Fewer breakouts
  • Smoother makeup application (I attribute this to the fact that some good sunblocks act as a good makeup primer.)

Here are Some Formulas I Love

For the Body

This Beautycounter Countersun Sunscreen Lotion magically disappears into skin when you rub it. For having a high level of zinc oxide, that’s really something! Plus, it’s lightweight, water-resistant and is also great for kids. If you were to try any sunscreen on this list and get some serious bang for your buck, this would be it!

For the Face

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30 is magic, guys. Yes, it’s expensive ($85 for 2 ounces), but it lasts a looong time, and it is seriously magic, because despite the high SPF level, it magically goes on clear on your face. For anyone who has gotten scared of getting “ghost face” while using SPF, this one is for you! Seriously, you will not regret this purchase!

If you need more convincing, check out the long list of positive reviews here!

For Travel

Are you putting SPF on the backs of your hands? Because if you’re not, you need to be! The backs of hands (as well as the neck and chest) can show the signs of aging (i.e. sun spots and wrinkles) just as much as the face, so you want to make sure you’re protecting all of your visible skin from those aging rays.

On that note, I always leave a stick of this SPF in the console of my car and always swipe it on when I’m at a red light. It’s ten seconds of a time investment daily that will pay off big time in the future!

Speaking of travel, this ILIA Beauty Radiant Translucent Powder, with an SPF of 20 is another must. It goes on clear and can be applied over makeup or on bare skin and give you another layer of sun protection. I love using this on-the-go as a touchup to soak up oil, or just when I feel like I need another layer of protection while I’m out and about.

What are your favorite sunblocks? Have you tried any of these products? Let me know your thoughts in Comments below!


Sonni Abatta is a wife, a mom of three and a writer who runs this Orlando lifestyle and mom blog, and – despite the frequency with which she seems to do it – someone who does not actually enjoy writing about herself in the third person.

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