Zinc Sunscreen Review and White Cast Comparison: Neutrogena, Invisible Zinc, SunSense

Zinc Sunscreen Review and White Cast Comparison: Neutrogena, Invisible Zinc, SunSense

In a recent video, I talked about the advantages and disadvantages of organic (chemical) vs inorganic (physical) sunscreens. One of the big drawbacks of inorganic sunscreens is that they tend to have significant white cast, which is when the sunscreen leaves a white layer on your skin. Out of the two inorganic filters (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), titanium dioxide tends to give a stronger white cast. It’s also more photoreactive and doesn’t give much protection against UVA, so zinc oxide tends to be the more popular choice.

While my preference is for organic sunscreens, a lot of people like inorganic sunscreens (often due to sensitivities to organic sunscreens). I decided to review three popular inorganic zinc oxide-only sunscreens in Australia to see if I was missing out.

The three contenders:

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Lotion SPF 50

  • $19.99 AUD per 59 mL ($0.34 per mL)
  • 21.6% zinc oxide
  • 2 hours water resistant
  • has vitamin E

SunSense Sensitive Invisible SPF 50+

  • $10.95 AUD per 75 g ($0.15 per g)
  • 15% zinc oxide
  • 4 hours water resistant
  • has 3% niacinamide

Invisible Zinc Face & Body SPF 50 

  • $19.99 AUD for 75 g ($0.27 per g)
  • 25% zinc oxide
  • 2 hours water resistant

Zinc Sunscreen Review and White Cast Comparison: Neutrogena, Invisible Zinc, SunSense

Protection Level

The most important thing about sunscreen is protection, and all three deliver well here. In Australia, SPF labelling regulations classify sunscreen into brackets, which is why they all have round SPF numbers. SPF 50 means SPF 50-60, while SPF 50+ is the highest classification allowed, and means at least SPF 60. In my opinion anything above SPF 30 is acceptable for daily use, so these all work.

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