Sun Care FAQs with our Founder

Sun Care FAQs with our Founder


What are the differences between this formula and your previous one? 

When formulating our new Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+, we were able to optimize ingredients to create an easy to apply, safe and effective sunscreen for our Honest families. By utilizing a water-based formulation, we were able to make a sunscreen that is less greasy than our previous sunscreen lotions. In addition, we increased the amount of non-nano zinc oxide in our formula to achieve an SPF rating of 50+ – all with the same mineral-based protection you can trust from Honest.

Mineral sunscreen vs. chemical sunscreen - what's the difference?

There are two categories of active ingredients in sun protection: chemical absorbers (chemical sunscreens) and physical barriers (mineral sunscreens). Chemical sunscreens (such as oxybenzone and octinoxate) work by absorbing the energy of UV rays and converting it to heat that is dispersed in the skin (1). Mineral sunscreens (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) work by reflecting UV rays from the surface of the skin (1).

Studies suggest that many chemical sunscreens may be absorbed into the skin, and thus make their way into the bloodstream (2), while mineral sunscreens like non-nano zinc oxide do not (3). Why is this important? While more research is needed to assess the potential impacts of chemical absorbers, we believe it’s better to be safe than sorry – especially when there’s a known, safe alternative – and have thus chosen to use only mineral sunscreens.

In addition, health experts recommend using mineral sunscreens on babies and toddlers (six months of age and older) to avoid skin irritation – which means they’re a gentle choice for almost everyone. To learn more about the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens, see our blog post.

Why do you use non-nano zinc oxide as the active ingredient in your sunscreen?

Zinc oxide is also the only FDA-approved single active ingredient that protects against UVA1, UVA2 (yes, there are 2 kinds of these rays), and UVB rays (4,5)! Zinc oxide also has added benefits as it can be used as a treatment for skin irritation.

When referring to particle size, it’s important to point out that particles are always described in a range, as it’s very difficult to guarantee the size of one individual particle in an overall formula (which would contain millions of particles!). The range for "non-nano" is 100 nm or greater, so particles can be as large as 200-300 nm or more. The zinc in our sunscreen has particles 100 nm or larger. To put this into further context, "nano" zinc (used because it is non-whitening) is typically 10-20 nm in size. With this in mind, studies have shown that non-nano zinc oxide is not absorbed into the skin, and thus, not absorbed into the bloodstream. To learn more about zinc oxide, see our blog post.

Is this product safe to use on my baby?

Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ is safe to use on babies 6 months of age and older!

As each individual is unique, and in line with FDA regulations around sunscreen products, we recommend consulting with your pediatrician for use on children less than 6 months of age.

I have sensitive skin…can I use your sunscreen?

Designed with our little ones’ delicate skin in mind, Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ is safe for sensitive skin. That said, we recognize that each individual is unique and suggest you speak with your physician if you have any concerns. In our commitment to transparency, we list our ingredients online and on product packaging to help our Honest families navigate accordingly.

What are your applications instructions? I want to ensure that I receive the maximum protection your sunscreen provides.

  1. Shake well to ensure that all ingredients are well-mixed.
  2. Apply liberally and evenly 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  3. Use enough sunscreen! 1 oz of sunscreen (roughly a golf ball-sized amount) is typically enough to cover the exposed portion of the body.
  4. Reapply often: • after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating • immediately after towel drying • at least every 2 hours


  1. How to decode sunscreen lingo. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from
  2. Sunscreens in human plasma and urine after repeated whole‐body topical application, Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology , Volume 22 (4) – Apr 1, 2008.
  3. The in vitro absorption of microfine zinc oxide and titanium dioxide through porcine skin;Toxicology in Vitro, Volume 20, Issue 3, April 2006, Pages 301-307 A.O. Gamer, E. Leibold, B. van Ravenzwaay
  4. Skin Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from
  5. Pinnell, S. R., Fairhurst, D., Gillies, R., Mitchnick, M. A., & Kollias, N. (2000). Microfine zinc oxide is a superior sunscreen ingredient to microfine titanium dioxide. Dermatologic surgery, 26(4), 309-314.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.