10 Zinc-Based Sunscreens That Won't Leave a White, Chalky Mess Behind
There are two primary types of sunscreen: Some work by chemical protection (absorbing the sun's harmful rays) and others work by physical protection (reflecting instead of absorbing). Physical sunscreens often contain zinc oxide, which, well, physically blocks the sun's UV rays as they hit your skin.
Though zinc oxide is often more high maintenance and can leave a white and chalky residue on your skin — it's the same white compound lifeguards of the past used to sport on their noses — many people prefer the ingredient because it's often said to be safer, as your body doesn't absorb it into skin in the same way it does some chemical-based sunscreens, like oxybenzone. (Either way, the Skin Care Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology agree that any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen.) It also tends to be better for sensitive and acne-prone skin types since it's less likely to cause irritation and breakouts. If you're in the market, check out this list of our favorite physical, zinc-based sunscreens.