The Sunscreen You’ve Been Looking For (If You’re Me)

I have been on a search for mineral sunscreen for my face that doesn’t have zinc oxide in it. I am divorcing from the chemical sunscreens, primarily from the press they’ve been getting lately – they destroy coral. Not okay. They also may leach into your bloodstream, but I am less concerned about that because we don’t know whether that’s bad or not yet. On a more personal note, my skin doesn’t react well to the chemical sunscreens, either.

But I also seem to be allergic, or at least hypersensitive, to zinc oxide. I discovered this allergy over time, partly from getting rashes around my waist after wearing cheap belts (although that could also be from nickel), and partly from trying a variety of brands of baby sunscreen, all of which have zinc oxide – sometimes a lot of it. The common denominator among the mineral baby sunscreens I tried was zinc oxide in concentrations of 20% or higher. And EVERY TIME my skin would shortly looks like a tomato with small pox.

So I started looking for something with only titanium dioxide as the active ingredient in it. A long time ago, I used the Elta MD face sunscreen. This wasn’t too successful, because that also irritated my skin. Plus it had the irritating aspect of only being available from doctors at the time I was using it. After that, I found the Garnier BB cream, which uses titanium dioxide but also a chemical sunscreen. I used it for a few years, not finding much else on the market, but I felt like my skin was still a bit irritated by it.

I started searching … googling “mineral sunscreens without zinc oxide” or variants of that phrase mostly turned up sunscreens with zinc oxide, but it also turned up a brand I had heard of but had no experience with: Coola.

I started browsing the different Coola sunscreens, still finding quite a few with zinc oxide and some with chemical sunscreens. And then FINALLY I clicked on the Coola Rosilliance BB cream. The ONLY sunscreen in it is titanium dioxide.

maybe it’s the stem cells

So, of course my skin wants $52 BB cream … but after years of searching, I wasn’t going to not try it.

“farm to face” …

It has a tint and smells kind of like roses. It goes on smoothly with sheer, somewhat “dewy” coverage (i.e., not matte). But the best part? My skin is finally calming the f down. The Coola seems to be healing the dry, raw skin I get on my chin and jawline. Rosacea symptoms have diminished.  My skin still needs a lot of help and this sunscreen is too sheer to cover sun damage, but it doesn’t make my skin angry! Not a lot of stuff out there fits that bill! I’ll be using this stuff all summer, and I hope it lasts a while for the price. Titanium dioxide AND healing powers? I think I might buy a second bottle to keep in my purse or barn backpack. This stuff is too good.

I have no idea if any of y’all are sensitive to zinc oxide, or how many of y’all want to ditch chemical sunscreens, or whether any of y’all are struggling with rosacea, but this is a great option if so. Coola is expensive for what I have spent on sunscreens in the past, but so far it seems to be well worth the price.

10 thoughts on “The Sunscreen You’ve Been Looking For (If You’re Me)

    1. It took me SO LONG to realize the zinc oxide was probably what was making my skin so angry. For people not sensitive to it, it’s obviously a great mineral sunscreen!

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  1. Boo, I had missed out on all the chemical sunscreen talk. I have been really liking clinque’s face sunscreen, it doesn’t melt into my eyes when I sweat or feel super thick when I put it on. But now I am sad it’s got all the chemicals. I am almost out, so I’ll have to find a mineral one that doesn’t feel heavy or melt when I sweat. Do you have any data on brands you have tried?

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    1. Well for a lot of the brands I tried, they all had the zinc oxide … which I promptly had to wash off like 15-30 minutes later due to my skin freaking out. So no idea on most of them if they can stand up to sweat. The Coola BB cream blends in really well, and the Garnier BB cream seems somewhat sweat resistant … honestly I bought a second Equivisor and hope to mostly just avoid sun on me. I have heard good things about Supergoop and and even just the Neutrogena Sheer Zinc might work if you aren’t sensitive to the zinc.

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