I moved to Queensland from the UK and learning to deal with the extremely fierce weather here has been a big learning curve. Skin cancer rates are high in Australia and it’s something everyone needs to take seriously (check out this post on the Cancer Council website for stats). I receive so many emails and Facebook messages from readers who share my concerns over sun safety for kids, in particular. Nobody wants to move their kids to a new home that could potentially damage their health. The sun isn’t a reason not to move to Australia or to take a holiday in Australia though – you just need to be sun smart and think about the best sunscreen for your face and body, cover up when you can and make smart decisions about the best sun protection.
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For this guide to choosing the best zinc sunscreen Australia has to offer, I’m going to get straight into the sunscreen reviews of the best zinc oxide sunscreens from Australian brands, but please keep on reading. At the end of the post, I cover more about what to consider when choosing a zinc oxide sunscreen in Australia, what natural sunscreen ingredients to look for and more background about why the sun is more dangerous in Australia than the sun you might be used to in other countries.
Check out this array of zinc oxide sunscreens. Australia has some awesome brands to choose from!
The best zinc sunscreen Australia!
As part of this post about zinc sunscreen in Australia, I’ve trialled and done research into a number of different Australian sunscreen brands of zinc creams. I’m not a scientist – I’m just a mum trying to choose the best sunscreen for my family. I was kindly sent samples of Australian sunscreen to try from some of the brands mentioned in this post and others I’ve bought myself. All opinions about the best physical sunscreen in Australia are my own.
Love the beach but want to stay protected? Check out this post about the best beach shades in Australia.
Compare the best sunscreens in Australia
Below is a comparison table of Australia’s best zinc oxide sunscreens included in my sunscreen review guide so you can see how the zinc oxide creams stack up against one another. Where columns in the sunscreen comparison table have been left blank, it’s because that information isn’t available (i.e. no info in the water-resistant column may mean that the zinc-based sunscreen isn’t water-resistant or it may mean that it hasn’t been tested and approved as being water-resistant for a certain time period.) Discover the best Australian sunscreen below >>
|Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF 30||All over sunscreen||30||3 hrs|
|LITTLE URCHIN Natural Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30||Tinted face sunscreen||30||3 hrs|
|Simple As That 100% Natural Sunscreen||All over sunscreen||30|
|Sun and Earth||Can be used anywhere but ideal for cheeks, nose and chin||30|
|Ethical Zinc||All over sunscreen||50||4 hrs|
|Invisible Zinc Tinted||Tinted facial sunscreen||50||2 hrs|
|Invisible Zinc Face and Body||All over sunscreen||50||4 hrs|
|SunButter||All over sunscreen||50||4 hours|
|UV Natural Sport||All over sunscreen||30||3 hrs|
Find the best natural sunscreen Australia has to offer
Little Urchin zinc natural sunscreens SPF 30 review
Little Urchin has two natural sunscreen products: Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 and LITTLE URCHIN Natural Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 (they also have a LITTLE URCHIN Natural Daily Moisturiser which doesn’t offer an SPF, so be sure to choose the right product). The Little Urchin sunscreen products are Australian made and Australian owned.
The Little Urchin sunscreen brand was started in Australia by founder, Chris Mathews. Chris saw his daughter being smothered in sunscreen at daycare and was worried about the chemical sunscreen ingredients being put on her skin every day. This is something I’m sure many of us can relate to. What followed was a journey to develop an alternative natural sunscreen using essential oils and natural ingredients which he then went on to have professionally developed.
I don’t mind admitting that I’m in love with the Little Urchin zinc oxide sunscreen branding. I think the logo is really cute and I like that the brand is named after sea urchins – creatures who are also sensitive to light and chemicals so they created their own natural way to protect their young from the sun’s harsh rays.
Little Urchin’s aim is to protect your skin from the sun with its natural formula without harming you or the environment. The products are toxin-free and are rich in nourishing oils, antioxidants and butters, along with green tea, cucumber and rosehip extract which makes it one of the best sunscreen for babies in Australia. While the inspiration came because the founder was trying to create the best natural sunscreen for babies and children with delicate skin, don’t be fooled into thinking these sunscreens are only for kids – they’re just as much for adults who don’t want chemicals on their skin.
Both of the Little Urchin SPF products offer up to three hours of water-resistant UVA and UVB broad-spectrum coverage making them one of the best sunscreens for kids (or grown ups) who love to play in the ocean. The sunscreen products are preservative-free and are reef safe sunscreens (zinc oxide doesn’t dissolve in seawater and the other ingredients are biodegradable and safe for the ecosystem). If you’re looking for an organic sunscreen in Australia, Little Urchin products aren’t tested on animals and contain only organic ingredients so it’s a great Australian sun cream for people who care about the environment.
You need to remember to shake the Little Urchin zinc suncream bottles before applying to mix the ingredients. The zinc oxide sun cream is quite thick but is very easy to apply – it feels weighty enough to feel like you are giving yourself good coverage but it isn’t greasy and goes straight into the skin (so doesn’t leave you looking white or greasy). My skin is dry and it drank it up easily and made my skin feel soft – it felt dry to the touch quickly after using. My kids loved that it disappeared easily as they aren’t keen on ones that take some time to dry and sink in – they just like to apply and run.
The Little Urchin tinted sunscreen for your face gives a medium tint to leave you with a healthy glow. I’m not really a big wearer of make up but since moving to Australia I’ve made an effort to protect my skin so I’ve tried a few brands of tinted sunscreen before. I usually struggle to find a tinted sunscreen product that gives me enough coverage while feeling good on my skin (I find they either don’t give enough coverage or they feel too thick and heavy which I hate). I can honestly say, of all the tinted sunscreens with SPF that I’ve tried, this is the best face sunscreen I’ve tried with a tint – it went on so smoothly, gave me a really even skintone and made my skin feel silky soft all day.
I usually wear a mineral powder with an SPF over the top of my sunscreen, but this tinted sunscreen actually gives a nice, even coverage without needing anything else on top and it didn’t make me look shiny. It makes mornings really fast and easy. On sunny days, I can top it up easily with a bit more when I go out to do the school run in the afternoons. Some zinc sunscreens feel drying on your skin, but this feels nourishing instead and my skin always feels soft at night when I wash it off.
The Little Urchin zinc sunscreen products aren’t artificially fragranced. My kids took a while to get used to their smell as they were used to fragranced products but it didn’t take them long to get used to it.
Little Urchin is a member of 1% for the Planet – a global network of businesses working together to create a healthy planet which is another reason why you should give their zinc sunscreen products for your face and body a try. So you can buy the best mineral sunscreen in Australia AND help the planet at the same time!
Simple As That sunscreen review
Simple As That focus on producing natural beauty products with organic, fair trade, vegan ingredients. They offer two zinc sunscreen options: Simple As That 100% Natural Sunscreen Lotion plus that offer a children’s version.
I really like their clean and simple branding – it’s smart and easy on the eye with very clear information.
Simple As That’s lightweight mineral vegan sunscreens contain organic, natural ingredients. Offering UVA and UVB protection, the creams have zinc oxide as their core ingredients with other natural ingredients including green tea and raspberry seed oil. The difference between the two sunscreen options is that the main sunscreen includes raspberry oil and the children’s version includes chamomile oil instead which their site says is more suited for children’s delicate skin.
Both Simple As That zinc sunscreens are reef safe sunscreens and, although they are gently fragranced, the smell is from a vegetable-based fragrance so the very slight smell is all-natural.
Both zinc oxide products rubbed in easily and dried quickly to the touch without feeling greasy or dry. My kids were very happy wearing these – they didn’t mind the smell of the zinc cream sunscreen and they liked how quickly the product disappeared so they could run off to play which makes it good for busy school mornings.
The zinc oxide Simple As That sunscreen products didn’t say they were water-resistant – they just say to reapply after being in the water or after exercising, so that’s something to bear in mind. We really liked the products though and my kids felt comfortable with it on their skin. Given they don’t say they are water-resistant, I’d keep these for school mornings or days at the park or zoo as it dries quickly so would be easy to apply in a rush.
Sun and Earth zinc sunscreen review
These Sun and Earth Natural Zinc tinted pots of sun cream are SPF 30 and they come in three colours. You can buy them here from Nourished Life
I am SO excited to have found this product and it will forever be in my beach bag from now on. It is one of the best all natural sunscreen discoveries that I’ve made since I arrived in Australia!
Sun and Earth Natural Zinc promise their sunscreen will ‘nourish, tint and protect’ your skin from the physical effects of the sun. Because the creams contain coconut, cacao and olive oils, you can be sure your skin will feel soft and moisturised. The zinc oxide protects with a physical barrier from UVA and UVB rays and they offer SPF 30.
These pots of physical sunscreen are handmade in Byron Bay in New South Wales using 100% natural ingredients including locally sourced beeswax. The product is certified organic and is reef safe so it’s perfect if you’re looking for the best organic sunscreen in Australia. I love that the company use solar power to make the suncream so being sustainable is at the heart of the company. All ingredients are biodegradable and non-toxic. It is also perfect for skin of all ages.
Let me get into the sunscreen review. The products come in three different shades – I’ve tried all three out on my family and I absolutely love them. I expected them to be quite strong colours and feel heavy but the colour was quite gentle. They aren’t like a sun cream, more like a wax – they go on thick like the old neon zinc sunscreen sticks but feel much smoother and softer.
My skin feels so soft and moistursed after applying and I love the natural smell (the kids say they smell of chocolate). They do feel sticky when you apply them (it’s not the product for you if you’re searching for the best non greasy sunscreen in Australia) but they aren’t as thick, heavy and gloopy as the zinc sticks we’ve tried – more smooth and sticky a bit like the texture of hair wax. For me, the Sandy Light colour is the perfect tone but the Earthy Cocoa gives me a nice bronze effect if I add it to my cheekbones, nose and chin.
I wouldn’t wear these every day as an all-over tinted face sunscreen but they are AMAZING for big days at the beach when I know I’m going to be in the sun a lot and we need some serious zinc sunscreen for our faces. If you’re looking for an Australian sunscreen to replace your zinc sunscreen stick, then this is such a good option and it’s so gentle on your skin.
My kids are totally hooked on these little zinc pots and they loved being able to choose their own colour.
Now, we spend a lot of time at the beach/parks/swimming pools and no matter how much sunscreen I apply to my kids, the sun always catches them under their eyes and I never seem to be able to keep up with reapplying fast enough as they go in and out of the ocean. This Sun and Earth zinc oxide sunscreen stayed put al day long. It didn’t wash into their eyes in the water (which is often our problem with sunscreens) and didn’t wash off even after an afternoon sitting in water playing with sand. I am so impressed by the quality of it and the staying power. While it doesn’t state on it that it is a water-resistant sunscreen, I have seen that it definitely is.
The products do stay a little sticky as they stay on the surface of your skin rather than sinking in. You can apply a little less if you wanted to wear it as a tinted day cream but I think it really excels as a thick sun protection for beach days. For me, I will use this product in conjunction with another sunscreen on beach days – this is best for around the eyes, cheeks, chin and nose in a strip to protect those delicate areas.
Above is a picture of my daughter wearing a strip of the medium colour across her nose and cheeks looking very happy with herself after being in the ocean body boarding all day. If you’re looking for the best sunscreen for surfing or watersports – this is a definite winner! Did I tell you already how much I LOVE this sunscreen – it really is the best natural sunscreen for face for big beach days out of all of those that we tried.
Ethical Zinc review
Ethical Zinc Clear Zinc Sunscreen is made and tested in Australia and was created by three founders with a passion for safe sun protection. Here is my Ethical Zinc sunscreen review.
Ethical Zinc Clear Sunscreen provides SPF 50 with broad spectrum UVA and UVB coverage. It includes pharmaceutical grade zinc oxide as the only active ingredient.
It offers 4 hours of water resistance and is reef and ocean safe, plus it is suitable for sensitive skin. It only contains natural ingredients, it’s paraben free, PABA free and it isn’t tested on animals. Utilising 20 years of research and development, they have created a natural clear zinc that can be worn on the face or body daily.
The cream is very thick and has a very mild (and very lovely) coconut/vanilla scent (from the coconut oil ingredient). I have dry skin so it rubbed in but it was a little bit greasy and took a while to fully sink. Personally, I like this as it makes my skin feel like it is being nourished (I really dislike thin sunscreens as I also want to feel like I’m being moisturised while also feeling like my skin is getting the protection it needs). I would apply this (as I would any sunscreen) a while before I was heading out into the sun so that it has chance to fully sink in.
My kids thought this sunscreen smelled the best out of all the ones we tried and they loved the brightly coloured bottle (that also made it easy to find in the bottom of our beach bag too!). It took a bit of time to get the amount just right – one of my boys squirted a huge blob onto his face this morning before school and it took some rubbing to stop his face being too white (but that was his fault as he put too much on without realising it was thicker than the thinner sun lotions he was used to!) I’ll be saving this Australian zinc sunscreen product for beach days and pool days (or giving it to my husband who works outside all day as he needs a strong and reliable zinc sunscreen for his face) as it is water-resistant for up to four hours and as it goes on thick I feel confident it will give lasting protection.
I really love the clean and clear branding of this physical sunscreen, and the bright bottle is easy to find in my beach bag. It’s definitely one of the best all natural sunscreens for kids and I feel very confident using it over my kids on pool and beach days (it is the perfect companion to the Sun and Earth zinc pots above). Plus it’s an ethical sunscreen with natural ingredients which means it also aligns with my values too.
Although it can take a bit more effort to rub in on school mornings, if my kids apply this zinc oxide sunscreen before they go to school I feel happy knowing they’ll be protected for the day. It’s a really solid mineral sunscreen product that offers long lasting sun protection. It is definitely a product I’ll keep to hand in my beach bag as I can trust it to give great sun protection.
Invisible Zinc sunscreen review
Invisible Zinc sunscreens offer a mineral barrier, chemical-free sunscreen that isn’t tested on animals. It’s made in Australia specifically developed for the Australian climate.
I tested the following Australian zinc sunscreen products:
Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Tinted Moisturiser SPF 50 Light
Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Tinted Moisturiser SPF 50 Medium
Invisible Zinc SPF 50 Facial Moisturiser
Invisible Zinc Face and Body SPF 50
Invisible Zinc has developed a light and easy formula that rubs into your skin, without feeling chalky or turning you white or being too sticky. It provides a barrier for UVA and UVB rays. Compared with some of the other brands I tried, Invisible Zinc feels a little more lightweight and was very easy to apply – it’s a non-greasy sunscreen and it didn’t turn our skin white. All of the Invisible Zinc products I tried said they were water-resistant for up to two hours (and the Invisible Zinc Sport Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 offers four hours water and sweat resistance so this is your best choice if you’re going to swim or be active).
The Invisible Zinc Sheer Defence Tinted Moisturiser SPF 50 was a lovely product to wear and apply – it went on so easily and made my skin feel really soft. It didn’t give me the sort of coverage you’d get from a foundation (and was much lighter in coverage than the Little Urchin option) so I wore it with some mineral powder over the top to make my skin look a bit more flawless, but I really liked how easy and fast it was to apply and how it made my skin feel. It accepted the mineral powder on the top without going flaky or patchy too. This will be a regular in my make up bag as it felt so light on my skin. An alternative to the Invisible Zinc tinted face cream is to just use the Face and Body sunscreen instead and then apply your foundation or mineral power over the top. It works just as well that way too.
The Invisible Zinc ingredients are safe too with no parabens, mineral oils or PABA.
We all really liked the Invisible Zinc Face and Body SPF 50 too as it was easy to apply, dried quickly without feeling greasy and made our skin feel like it was being protected. I’d be happy wearing it on beach days or as an every day sunscreen as it was fast and easy to apply and felt really good on my skin.
The Invisible Zinc branding is really clean and simple and clear. I like that they offer a wide range of different sunscreen products so you can find exactly what you’re looking for, whether that happens to be the best natural sunscreen for face, the best zinc oxide moisturiser for all over your body or the best tinted sunscreen with zinc oxide.
Sun Butter review
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SunButter was created by a marine biologist and conservation ecologist duo who felt compelled to create a reef-safe Australian zinc sunscreen while working on the Ningaloo Reef in WA. It was created specifically for the purpose of protecting the skin of those working on the reef in an outdoor, ocean lifestyle. It gives four-hours protection and is water resistant. My favourite thing about it is that it comes in a tin – no plastic in sight so it really is sustainable. You can reuse the pot or recycle it when the time comes.
While it looks like the little tin won’t go far, when you actually compare weights there is more in this tin than in many tubes of sunscreen so it’s actually a really good quantity.
The sunscreen can melt a little in the heat making it spill, so the product comes with a card reminding you to pop it in the fridge to cool down and reset. It’s actually really lovely to apply it cool to your skin on a hot day too.
I like that you can unscrew the lid and leave it open while you apply as much as you need – unlike bottles where you need to keep picking them up to squirt them out. Screwing the lid back on can get a little finicky if you get sand in the runs for the lid so you just need to keep them clean. I found it very easy to use.
This SunButter zinc sunscreen has a number of additional natural, sustainable ingredients to help it glide onto your skin easily and the non-aqueous formula means it lasts longer than water-based products. The product is registered vegan (their surf zincs are made with locally sourced beeswax though). It’s also a good product for sensitive skin so is great for my kids.
I found SunButter sunscreen went on really easily. It felt slightly greasy at first but quickly settled into my skin which is dry, leaving it soft (not sticky) and locking in the moisture. It feels lovely to put on your face and it goes on clear. You can also wear it under make up – you just need to apply it 20 minutes before adding your powder to avoid clumping. Overall, I love this product and will definitely continue to use it. I think it works great for big days at the beach as you can slather it on as thick as you like for great sun protection.
UV Natural sunscreen review
UV Natural offers a range of natural sunscreens that were created by founder, Shirley Livesay. Shirley had a dream to create a natural sunscreen product in Australia and worked for years to make it a reality, even after being challenged by chemical companies through the courts. It’s a really inspiring story – the products are the result of one woman’s passion! I’m so glad she fought to get these to market because we love these products.
The UV Natural sunscreens contain zinc oxide combined with natural oils and botanicals including green tea extract, grape seed and lavender. The zinc sunscreens are SPF 30 and offer UVA and UVB protection. The products are cruelty-free, lightly fragranced and water resistant (the main sunscreen is water-resistant for up to three hours and the baby version of the zinc sunscreen for up to two hours) and reef safe. I think UV Natural offers the best baby sunscreen out of the options we tried and it’s also a vegan sunscreen.
My advice is to apply a little of the sunscreen at a time and rub it evenly into your skin. The cream goes on quite thick and is a little sticky while it settles but it doesn’t turn you white. It felt really nourishing on my dry skin, and has a gentle scent that my kids really liked. I used the UV Natural Baby sunscreen on my son who has the most sensitive skin and he really liked the way it felt and asked if he could wear it again when it was time to reapply. I love that the baby sunscreen comes in a small handbag-sized bottle too – that will be handy to carry around.
Even though I wasn’t reviewing the natural aftersun options as part of this post, UV Natural also kindly sent me a bottle of UV Natural Chill skin cooler to try out and I need to tell you about it!
During our day at the beach to test the sunscreens, I started suffering with dermatitis under my wedding, engagement and eternity rings which is something I get from time to time when it is hot. I didn’t want to take my rings off at the beach and risk losing them so I kept them on until we got home. When I finally took them off, my skin was so red and sore underneath – it was much worse than any other episode I’ve had of it.
I had the bottle of UV Natural Chill to hand, so applied it straight away. It didn’t sting or feel cool or anything really so I wasn’t expecting much improvement as my finger was looking pretty sore. Anyway, the next morning I woke up and found my finger wasn’t red anymore – it was my usual skin colour again and my skin was healing already. I applied it again a couple more times that day and within two days I had my wedding ring back on as if nothing had happened. From past experience, I tend to be without my rings for a week or two when I get a flare up – sometimes longer. I actually couldn’t believe how after two days you couldn’t tell I’d even had a problem. Now, I’m using this product to treat everything from dry skin to mossie bites! It is amazing.
(Unfortunately, at the time of updating this post these products are showing as not available on Amazon, eBay and Nourished Life. Hopefully they will come back in stock again in the future!)
Other top Australian sunscreen brands
I didn’t have time to try and review all of Australia’s best sunscreen products (although I’m always working through new products all the time as I love to try as many as possible!) – there are many more zinc sunscreen brands available. I’ll give you a quick run down of a few other Australian sunscreen brands that have zinc oxide and other natural ingredients that you might also want to check out.
I am a massive fan of MooGoo and am slowly moving my skincare over to this range of gentle products after trying their Udder Cream last year and falling in love with it (you can find the Udder Cream here and it is just the most moisturing body creams I’ve ever found which is perfect for my very dry skin!) I’m yet to actually try their natural sunscreen product (it’s on my list to try this year though!). It’s not actually a zinc oxide sunscreen so I didn’t want to include it in the main post but I still felt like it was one worth exploring just because I adore the brand so much and their skincare products feel so good on my skin!
Wotnot has created a reef-friendly, skin-friendly natural sunscreen suitable for the whole family. With UVA and UVB protection, the Wotnot Natural Sunscreen zinc oxide product offers SPF 30.
Suitable for sensitive skin types, the all natural sunscreens has a high level of natural oil making it moisturising and softening. The organic ingredients are GMO-free and free of parabens, fragrances and chemicals. The inclusion of aloe vera and jojoba oil soothe and nourish your skin.
Please note that the two main sunscreen products do not list that they are water-resistant. Only the facial sunscreen and primer which says it offers two hours of water resistance.
Natural Instinct mineral sunscreen Australia
Natural Instinct offers three different types of mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide: Invisible Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, Kids Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 and Tinted Face Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. Shop them all at Nourished Life.
All of their products include zinc oxide and prevent UVA and UVB rays, and they are reef safe sunscreens. They offer 3 hours water resistance. The products are deeply moisturising and include skin conditioning ingredients including jojoba oil, shea butter and vitamin E.
The kids’ version leaves a translucent white protective layer on the skin which allows you to see where the sunscreen has been applied which is a clever little trick.
The tinted sunscreen can be used under makeup. It offers a medium coverage and it has a matte finish that isn’t thick or heavy.
Surf Mud and Surf Baby zinc based sunscreen Australia
Surf Mud is a natural zinc oxide cream that was formulated by surfers. It contains only natural ingredients, is palm oil free plus it has no preservatives, is reef safe and is cruelty-free. You can get it in a little pot or in a tube as a sun lotion. Their Surf Mud The Lotion SPF 30 Sunscreen is 4 hours water resistant and their Surf Baby Natural Zinc SPF 30 Sunscreen also offers 4 hours water resistance. Both offer a good choice of sun protection for families.
Mukti Organics Australian zinc sunscreen
Mukti Organics offer a daily moisturiser SPF 15 with zinc oxide green tea and rosehip. It offers protection from UVA and UVB rays. It’s made in Australia and certified organic, vegan, cruelty-free and is suited to all skin types. They also offer a tinted moisturiser version, again in an SPF 15 if you feel that level of sun protection is high enough for your needs.
SkinJuice zinc oxide sunscreen Australia
The Australian natural beauty brand, Skin Juice, offer a Skin Juice Tinted Moisturiser in an SPF 15 and a Skin Juice Untinted Moisturiser SPF 15. Using superfood ingredients, the SPF 15 protects against UVA and UVB rays. I love the vibrant packaging. Again, SPF 15 is as high as they go though.
Choosing the best natural sunscreen Australia has to offer
Thanks for making it this far into the post about the best sunscreen for Australia. Now you’ve read my zinc sunscreen reviews and learned about the best sunscreen brands in Australia, it’s time to learn a bit more about choosing the right physical sunscreen and why I chose to only review the best zinc sunscreens in Australia instead of including titanium dioxide sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.
Choose the best sunscreen Australia: Reef safe sunscreen and sunscreen ingredients
While we all know we need to wear sunblock, there are a few issues you need to think about before deciding which is the right sunscreen brand for you.
It can be very overwhelming trying to choose the best zinc sunscreen for Australia. Here are a few things to consider before you buy a zinc-based sunscreen in Australia:
- You apply sunscreen to your face and body often in Australia, so you need to carefully consider the sunscreen ingredients to make sure you’re happy putting them on your skin. I know I prefer a physical sunscreen that doesn’t sink into my skin like a chemical sunscreen does.
- When you swim while wearing chemical sunscreen, the chemicals can wash off and be absorbed by corals which can ultimately result in bleaching. National Geographic says that even if you don’t swim while wearing it, it can still go down the drains when you shower and eventually make its way into the ocean. A big reason for us moving to Australia was because we love the environment here – the beaches, the marine opportunities, the wildlife. We definitely don’t want to be involved in causing damage this the environment we love so much.
- Some sunscreens stay on better when you swim and sweat than others. The best sunscreen for watersports and outdoor activities is a waterproof sunscreen. (Be sure to always reapply your sunscreen after being in the water or doing sports too, even if it says it can cover you for a number of hours).
- The best sunscreen for face may not be the best sunscreen for body, too – it’s OK to have different sunscreen products for different needs and also for different times of the year.
- Your skin (or your children’s skin) might be sensitive to certain kinds of sunscreen or particular ingredients in them. Two of my kids are allergic to the neon zinc sticks and the bright neon surf zinc mud so for a long time I thought they were allergic to zinc oxide sunscreens – it turns out they were really just allergic to the colouring used in the neon zinc sticks. Either way, with sensitive skin you want to choose a gentle sunscreen product that won’t cause reactions. And if you have a baby, you want to choose the best baby sunscreen that won’t harm delicate skin.
- If you’re going to be applying the sunscreen to your face, you’ll need to look for a clear zinc sunscreen. Australia is a place where you don’t look out of place wearing white sunscreen on your face on the beach, but for daily facial sunscreen you should opt for either a clear zinc sunscreen or find the best tinted sunscreen to match your coverage and skintone needs.
Best sunscreen Australia
Australia is a unique environment and because of the intense sun here there are some incredible Australian sunscreen brands creating organic sunscreen products that are gentle enough to use as a baby sunscreen or as sunscreen for sensitive skin. Whether you want to find a vegan sunscreen, a reef safe sunscreen or a baby organic sunscreen – the thing we can all agree on is that the best sunscreen protects our skin from harmful rays without causing any damage to us or the environment.
Why are skin cancer rates in Australia so high?
The ozone layer – an outer layer in the Earth’s stratosphere – is there to absorb UV radiation. As it is depleting, the protection it gives reduces, meaning more of the sun’s harmful rays reach us. Australia is located closer to the ozone hole that has developed over the Antarctic and, during summer, Australia is closer to the sun which means we receive more of the potentially damaging rays if we don’t take precautions. Another reason for high skin cancer rates is that migration to Australia is high – over generations, skin type adapts to suit the environment but as many of us have moved from countries that don’t see as much sunshine, our skin just isn’t used to it and we haven’t got any natural sun protection in the pigment of our skin.
The lifestyle in Australia involves going to the beach, playing sport and being outside. We don’t need to stop doing those things but we do need to make sure we’re aware of our sunscreen options and figure out the best sunscreen protection to keep us safe.
Does SPF matter when it comes to choosing an Australian sunscreen?
‘The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of a sunscreen is a measure of how well it protects the skin from sunburn. Sunscreens need to be applied liberally to achieve the SPF protection claimed on the label.’
If your unprotected skin would burn in 10 minutes, then the SPF should theoretically give you 15, 30, 50 times more protection. However, SPF 50 only offers marginally more protection than an SPF 30 sunscreen. What matters the most is that you apply it often and you apply it liberally to make sure you’re getting enough sunscreen coverage. Personally, I always choose a SPF 30 or above.
Why avoid chemical sunscreens, especially as sunscreen for face?
When I first moved to Australia, I used to buy the big pump action sunscreen bottles with an SPF 50 cheaply from the supermarket. I assumed the SPF was all that mattered and that an SPF 50 meant I was making the right choice. I’d use this as sun cream for my face and as a body sunscreen. Over time, I found that my face was showing signs of sun damage and was developing slightly discoloured pigment patches. When I spoke to a skincare professional, she told me that chemical sunscreens can cause this pigmentation because the chemical sunscreen reacts to the heat. This was my first step towards learning more about my sunscreen options and it made me realise I had a lot more to learn about how to keep my skin safe in the sun.
There are two types of sunscreen: you can get a mineral sunscreen (also know as a physical sunscreen) or chemical sunscreen.
Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin and then they absorb the UV rays before they can penetrate the dermis and cause damage. Some ingredients in these are known to damage coral reefs.
Physical sunblock or mineral sunscreen sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the two main mineral sunscreen ingredients. The important thing here is that they stay on the surface of your skin, so don’t absorb into your body.
Whether you choose to use a mixture of chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens, it’s totally your choice and there is no one rule to this. Google it and make an informed judgement.
I’ve decided after doing my research to focus my attention specifically on zinc oxide sunscreen for this post because that is the type of sunscreen I now mainly use for my family. We still use a combination of staying out of the sun and staying covered as our main approach to the sun when possible (my kids aren’t allowed on the beach or in the pool without their rashies on), and I do still have the large pump action bottles of Cancer Council sunscreen in the house which we use sometimes – for me it’s all about balance and having a range of solutions available.
Things to think about when you’re looking for the best sunscreen Australia has to offer
There are a number of questions you need to consider before deciding on the best sunscreen in Australia with a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB coverage.
Will you be using your zinc cream at the pool or beach or while playing sports? Make sure you’re using a waterproof sunscreen (you will still need to reapply it often).
Do you need a sensitive zinc sunscreen?
Do you mind a heavy a zinc sunscreen that sits on top of your skin and feels sticky or do you want something that is combined with other natural ingredients to sink into your skin a little more and leave you feeling drier?
Are you looking for a non-comedogenic sunscreen so it won’t clog your pores?
Do you mind how easy your zinc sunscreen is to rub in your sunscreen? Or how greasy your zinc oxide cream feels?
Are you looking for a tinted sunscreen for your face? If so, will you be wearing your tinted sunscreen on its own or adding a mineral powder with SPF to it to reduce shine and for added protection (if so, you’ll want something that won’t ball up or go patchy as you apply it – trust me a few brands I’ve used before just wouldn’t take a mineral powder on top!) Will the tint of the tinted sun cream give you enough coverage? Are you particularly looking for a face sunscreen for sensitive skin?
Do you want a fragrance free sunscreen or do you prefer a sunscreen with a pleasant scent?
Does it matter to you if its an organic vegan sunscreen or are you just happy choosing the best natural sunscreen even if it’s not vegan?
Are you looking for a sunscreen that is deemed reef safe in Australia?
Do you want a physical sunscreen brand that gives something back to the environment? Many Australian sunscreen brands are involved in environmental charities and donate a percentage of profits or sales.
It’s so important to say this: I think sunscreen in Australia is essential for everybody as you only get one skin. I know many people who choose not to wear anything because they are concerned about applying potentially harmful ingredients to their skin every day. Do your research to find a natural sunscreen product that you’re happy with. The sun causes irrepairable damage to your skin, and you can’t stay out of it all the time. It’s also important to begin a good sun protection routine with your kids from the start – they need to grow up with this being part of their life so it becomes a habit for them.
The best sun protection in addition to wearing Australia zinc suncreen
Obviously, this post about the best Australia zinc sunscreen is focused on protecting your skin in the sun with zinc oxide sunscreen, but the BEST way to avoid skin damage from Australia’s hot sun is to do the following:
Cover up in the sun: Rash vests offer the best protection and I wouldn’t dream of letting my kids go to the beach without a rashie on. This then limits the amount of sunscreen you need to apply too so you don’t have to worry about them burning their back, chest or shoulders (or arms if you go for a long-sleeved rashie).
Wear a hat: Wearing a wide-brimmed hat helps protect your face, neck and ears. For kids, get one with a chin strap on so they don’t keep losing it (not a baseball cap as ears can still burn with those). Even with a hat, you still need to wear face sunscreen but you’re less likely to get burnt when you face is in the shade most of the time.
Avoid going out in the hottest part of the day: If you can, avoid going out in the sun in the middle of the day. Instead, go early morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t as strong.
Take your own shade: Use a large beach shade so you can stay out of the direct sun.
Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water while you’re out in the sun to keep your body hydrated.
Best zinc sunscreen: Which really is the best natural sunscreen Australia has to offer?
I really enjoyed trying out so many of the best natural sunscreens in Australia. I can’t single out one particular favourite as they all had different things that I liked about them and I will use them all again.
Best face sunscreen with tint in Australia
For me, I really love the Little Urchin tinted zinc sunscreen as it gave a really great colour and coverage and it’s so quick and easy to apply in the morning. I generally now wear this as my daily facial sunscreen and I use it instead of a powder or a liquid base. My skin is quite pale anyway so if I’m feeling pasty in the winter months I switch back to the Invisible Zinc tinted sunscreen (which goes on really easily and gives a lighter finish) or I use a regular clear zinc sunscreen like SunButter and then wear mineral powder over the top when it has settled into my skin.
Best sunscreen for daily use
The best natural sunscreen for school days or going to the park – regular days when we just want to apply something quickly and go – my choices would be Little Urchin zinc sunscreen, Invisible Zinc sunscreen, SunButter and Simple As That. They all went on quickly and easily, with no dramas and no big white streaks.
The best zinc sunscreen for beach or pool days in Australia
The best zinc sunscreen for big beach days or pool days in Australia for me was Ethical Zinc combined with Sun and Earth for noses and cheeks. To be honest, I’d be happy wearing any of the sunscreens I tried for beach days as they were all solid products but I feel like Ethical Zinc is just a bit thicker and it feels like it gives a more lasting coverage for those long, hot days on the sand. I also love adding the Sun and Earth pots for the kids to streak over their noses and cheeks for some added protection as the sun always catches their cheeks and under their eyes if I don’t (and this stays put even in the ocean).
I’m excited that I’ve discovered so many clear zinc sunscreen and physical sunscreens options that offer sunscreen for sensitive skin, offer natural sunscreen AND are reef safe sunscreens which is something that is really important to us as a family.
Where to buy zinc sunscreen in Australia?
I prefer to buy zinc suncreen online as it gives you a much wider choice than in the shops. Amazon, Nourished Life and eBay all offer a great selection of mineral sunscreens. Buy natural sunscreen online to get access to the full range of options otherwise in stores you find natural sunscreen brands can be pretty limited.
I hope you found this post about choosing the best reef-safe zinc sunscreen helpful! It’s essential to consider what is the best natural sunscreen product for your skin while also making sure that you are kind to the planet with your choices!
I really hope this guide to choosing the best zinc sunscreen Australia has to offer has been helpful for you. If you enjoyed it, please give it a share! Wearing sunscreen is so important and we can make a real difference to our health and to the environment when we choose the right brands of sunscreen.
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