Growing up in the famously overcast Pacific Northwest, I admittedly put very little thought toward protecting my melanin-blessed skin from the sun’s harsh rays. This could be because I once believed the wildly inaccurate (yet heavily perpetuated) idea that dark skin tones are at low risk for sun damage and other harsh environmental aggressors. Luckily, once I entered young adulthood and began taking better care of myself, I invested time and energy into discovering helpful everyday products. As you may have already guessed, identifying and investing in the right sunscreen was at the top of my list.
As a beauty editor, I regularly come into contact with hundreds of highly rated products marketed as must-haves. But it’s hearing from experts that has had the biggest impact on my shopping habits. For a better idea of where to start when making my sunscreen selections, I spoke to dermatologist Gary Goldfaden, MD, the co-founder of Goldfaden MD. The brand is known for its holistic-based and technologically advanced skincare solutions. It offers products that tackle several concerns, including dull complexions, uneven tone, and fine lines. If you’re itching to learn more about sunscreen and get your hands on the best ones, you’ll want to keep reading.
Did you know different sunscreens can address different skin concerns when used correctly? That’s right, I’m talking mineral and chemical sunscreen, both of which come in easy-to-apply sunscreen stick form. According to Goldfaden, mineral sunscreens contain physical blocking ingredients such as zinc or titanium oxide, which sit on the skin’s surface to build a protective barrier from harmful UV and UVB rays. They work immediately upon application and are ideal for individuals with skin sensitivity. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, may prove to be more irritating for some skin types but contain an effective medley of ingredients that absorb the rays.
One of the other biggest differences between the two can be found in the contact or lack thereof between the skin and the sunscreen of your choice. While chemical sunscreens use ingredients to absorb UV rays, they also allow for those same rays to touch and reach the skin. “These ingredients absorb the harmful UV rays but have been shown to be reproductive disruptors in some studies,” says Goldfaden. Mineral sunscreens contain non-toxic ingredients that physically block and deflect.
In Goldfaden’s opinion, mineral sunscreens have been proven to be more effective than their counterparts. His favorite is Mini Bloom’s Sunny Stick, an SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen. With this in mind, I’ve gathered 17 of the best sunscreen sticks according to thousands of reviews. Believe me: They’re so good you’ll want to try a few of these out yourself.