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October 27, 2023 5 min read

The sun is a force of nature we naturally love (beach days anyone?). However, alongside its uplifting qualities, it also emits ultraviolet (UV) rays that can wreak havoc on our skinThankfully, we have two powerful allies in the battle against sun damage: sunscreen and zinc. Whilst sunscreen and zinc are both related (yes, best buddies) in the context of sun protection there are differences that set them apart. Let's dive into the differences between these sun-savvy superheroes! But first...

1. What is the difference between natural sunscreen and conventional sunscreen?

With lots of different terminology out there, it can be a tad confusing when trying to understand sunscreen. So let’s break it down. There are two main types of sunscreens, chemical and mineral.

Chemical sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen creates molecular shields that absorb into your skin and work by absorbing harmful UV rays. These sunscreens are made by using synthetic chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. Whilst chemical sunscreens do the job of protecting you from the sun, the ingredients within them can be detrimental to your health and the health of our oceans. Research has found that ingredients such as oxybenzone disrupt our hormones, cause a range of skin irritations and harm coral reefs and marine life.

Mineral sunscreen 

Mineral sunscreen, also referred to as ‘physical' or ‘natural’, mineral sunscreen,sits on top of your skin to form a protective barrier that reflects UV rays away from your skin. One of the most common active ingredients used in physical sunscreens is zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a naturally occurring mineral that won't absorb into your skin and is much less likely to cause irritations. Upholding our toxin-free values, we are proud to say that all of the sunscreens stocked at Go For Zero are mineral sunscreens (yay!).

So if the active ingredient of physical sunscreen is zinc oxide then I bet you are still wondering what the difference is between mineral sunscreen and zinc products. Well, you came to the right place.  

2. What is the difference between mineral sunscreen and zinc?

All of the mineral sunscreen and zinc products stocked at Go For Zero are formulated using zinc oxide and are reef-safe (because we love the ocean!). However, the main difference between mineral sunscreen and zinc is how they apply and look on your skin. 

Mineral sunscreen

The mineral sunscreens that we stock at Go For Zero are designed for everyday wear on your face and body. These sunscreens are created using zinc oxide along with other natural and nourishing ingredients that rub onto the skin without leaving a white cast. 


Unlike mineral sunscreens, Zinc is designed to be applied to the skin in a thick layer. The zinc products that we stock create a visible and coloured barrier to protect your skin from the sun for extended periods of time whilst you perform activities such as swimming, surfing or running. 

Hot tip: Apply your zinc with any old makeup brush for an easy and mess-free application. 

3. Why use natural sunscreen during pregnancy? 

During pregnancy, prioritising your well-being takes on a whole new level of importance, as you are also nurturing a little life growing within. Throughout pregnancy your skin is more sensitive, resulting in higher susceptibility to burning when spending time in the sun. Studies have detected traces of chemical sunscreen ingredients in breast milk, urine and amniotic fluid (this is concerning!). When choosing a sunscreen, ensure to opt for mineral sunscreens and zinc products that won't cause irritations or absorb into skin. 

4. What sunscreen is safe for babies and kids?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the body that regulates sunscreens in Australia, advises against using sunscreen on babies under 6 months old. Instead, it recommends keeping babies out of the sun as much as possible.

However, if sunscreen is necessary, natural sunscreens are a good option, as they contain gentle ingredients. We have a lot of mums who use our sunscreens, but we always recommend a patch test first.

Here are some tips for keeping babies safe in the sun:

  • Keep babies out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, between 10am and 4pm.
  • Dress babies in loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that covers their arms and legs.
  • Put a hat on babies' heads and sunglasses on their eyes.
  • Seek shade whenever possible.

Mineral sunscreen products that we love 

Sunbutter - Sunscreen

The Sunbutter Sunscreen provides powerful SPF 50 protection for up to 4 hours in and out of the water. Formulated with zinc oxide, coconut oil and vitamin E, this nourishing sunscreen won't leave a white film on your skin once applied. 

Fun Fact: We also stock the Sunbutter - Tinted Sunscreen that many of our customers love to use as a foundation (cool hey!).  

Why we love Sunbutter Sunscreen: 
  • 4 hours water resistant 
  • Reef-safe formula 
  • Vegan 
  • Comes in a reusable/recyclable tin 

    Sunslayer - Natural Reef Safe Sunscreen (SPF 50)

    The Sunslayer sunscreen is a 4-in-1 product that protects your skin from the sun while moisturising, priming and delivering a hit of vitamin E! This broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen comes without those sticky, smelly and greasy textures making it a perfect partner for everyday wear.  

    Why we love Sunslayer: 

    • Packaged in a 100% recyclable tube
    • Reef-safe formula
    • NO PABA, parabens, BHA/BHT, benzene, petroleum, palm oil, mineral oils, Silicones D4/D5/D6, GMO, talc or phthalates.
    • Fragrance and alcohol-free

    Zinc products we love

    Surfmud - Natural Zinc: Tinted Covering Cream

    Developed by surfers on the Sunshine Coast, Surfmud is the ultimate surf zinc and is great for all other activities too! Whilst having an unbelievable hold, Surfmud is easy to apply and gentle on all skin types. 

    Why we love Surfmud: 

    • Palm oil & cruelty free
    • Comes in a reusable/ recyclable tin 
    • Reef-safe formula 
    • 4 hours water resistance 

    Winki Zinc - Zinc Sticks

    Winki Zinc’s Zinc Sticks provide SPF 30 protection whilst providing nourishing benefits. Even better, they are available in 4 beautiful shades that can double as a blush, bronzer or highlighter. 

    Why we love Winki Zinc’s Zinc Sticks: 

    • 4 beautiful shades 
    • Nourishing ingredients including coconut oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, mango butter and vitamin E
    • Reef-safe formula 
    • Biodegradable and recyclable packaging 

    Fun Fact: We also stock the Winki Zinc - Zinc Remover Oil, a gentle oil-based cleanser that will remove your zinc with ease and leave your skin feeling fresh. 

    Sunbutter - Tinted Surf Zinc SPF 50

    The Sunbutter Tinted Surf Zinc is one of Australia’s first tinted vegan zincs! Made from non-nano particle zinc oxide, virgin coconut oil and sweet almond oil, this zinc is designed to protect both you and the ocean. 

    Why we love Sunbutter Tinted Surf Zinc: 

    • 4 hours water resistant 
    • Reef-safe formula 
    • Comes in a reusable/ recyclable tin 
    • Vegan  

    Don't forget to check out our extended range of sun protection and after-sun products

    At Go For Zero we have you covered for all of your extra sun protection and after-sun needs. We stock a range of Sunbutter products including their latest Moisturising Body Lotion and After Sun Milk, Protective Rosemary Hair Serum, Restorative Lip Gloss, and Protective Lip ZincAnother favourite of ours is the Winki Zinc - Lip and Cheek Tint, a nourishing tinted balm that helps to heal and protect your lips against the elements. 

    Both mineral sunscreen and zinc products serve the important purpose of protecting your skin from the sun. The choice between the two often comes down to personal preference. Always look for products with broad-spectrum protection and follow recommended application guidelines for effective sun protection.

    Much Love, 

    GFZ Team xo

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