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Do You Know What’s in Your Sunscreen? Discover the Ingredients that Protect Your Skin

We have talked about the importance of sunscreen in your skincare and developing a good routine to have happy, healthy, and protected skin. When looking for good skincare items, you should pay attention to what kinds of ingredients are located on your sunscreen label.


Depending on your skin type and any sensitivities or allergies, you have to be aware of ingredients that work best for you. This goes for sunscreen too! In this blog, we’ll teach you about the importance of ingredients, what ingredients are safe, and what ingredients to look out for.


Types of Sunscreens

Remember, there are three types of sunscreens – mineral, chemical (synthetic), and hybrid. All sunscreens have active and inactive ingredients. DifferenceBetween, a hub of scientific knowledge from industry experts, says, “The key difference between active and inactive ingredients is that active ingredients are the components in a drug that have a therapeutic effect on the body, whereas inactive ingredients are the components in a drug that have non-medicinal importance.”


In short, active ingredients in skincare are most likely to make a change in your skin, and inactive ingredients do not have a direct effect on your skin. 


  • Mineral sunscreen is referred to as a ‘physical blocker’, and contains either titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or a combination of the two to protect from ultraviolet radiation. A way to think about mineral sunscreen is that it acts more like a barrier on top of your skin, like a thin wall protecting you from the sun. The active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.


  • Chemical sunscreen uses active ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene which absorbs and neutralizes the heat generated by ultraviolet rays from the skin – it’s absorbed into your skin. The active ingredients turn harmful UV rays into non-damaging heat. A great aspect about chemical sunscreens is that they don’t leave the white cast that many people of color dislike.


  • Hybrid sunscreen is an SPF that has both chemical and mineral ingredients, such as a combination of both zinc-oxide and avobenzone.It can be considered the “best of both worlds” because the ingredients offer sun protection above and beneath the skin.

Popular Sunscreen Ingredients 

Some common ingredients you may find in chemical sunscreens are:


  • Avobenzone (3%) – oil-soluble ingredient that absorbs the full spectrum of UVA rays.
  • Homosalate (10%) – an organic compound is used as a chemical UV filter.
  • Octisalate (5%) – an organic compound that absorbs UVB rays.
  • Octocrylene (2.75%) – an organic compound that absorbs UVA and UVB rays.

Other active ingredients that are often found in chemical sunscreens are:


  • Octinoxate – a UV filter.
  • Oxybenzone – a UVA and UVB II filter. 


Though octinoxate and oxybenzone are effective, they can cause allergic and other negative reactions as they’re both absorbed through the skin. Oxybenzone and octinoxate have been found to cause coral bleaching and damage to marine life. Because of these two factors, Black Girl Sunscreen formulas are both oxybenzone and octinoxate free.


Some common ingredients you may find in mineral sunscreens are:

  • Zinc oxide: an inorganic compound used to treat minor skin irritations like burns, cuts and diaper rash.
  • Titanium dioxide: an active ingredient in sunscreen that works as a UV filter by blocking absorption of the sun’s rays. 


The active ingredients in our products are listed on each product page under “additional information”. 


Ingredients in Black Girl Sunscreen 

Our broad-spectrum sunscreens have moisturizing oils that are great for keeping your skin hydrated, healthy, and protected. Each of the oils and ingredients we’ve incorporated contribute to your skin in different ways:


  • Avocado oil – moisturizes, reduces signs of aging and treats sunburns.
  • Jojoba oil – soothes and moisturizes the skin leaving it flawless while preventing acne.
  • Cacao oil – provides powerful antioxidants and evens out the complexion of your skin for a smooth, consistent skin tone.
  • Carrot juice – contains vitamin C which enables it to promote healing and even boost the level of melanin in the skin.
  • Sunflower oil – prevents skin irritation from sunburn and other skin irritants.

One of the great aspects of Black Girl Sunscreen is that all our sunscreens are paraben, oxybenzone, and octinoxate-free. Parabens and octinoxate are both linked to ecological harm (like disrupting coral reefs) and hormonal disruption, and says that oxybenzone has been known to cause allergic reactions and can produce symptoms similar to eczema.


We’ve created amazing formulations without these harmful ingredients while still giving your skin what it needs to remain healthy, safe, and eco-friendly! Depending on what works best for your skin, and what kind of protection you’re seeking, here are some recommendations for which sunscreen could be best for you!


Chemical Formulas


Hybrid Formulas 


All Black Girl Sunscreen products are broad-spectrum SPF as well, which means UVA and UVB sun protection is offered for all skin types.


Remember to always look out for ingredients to see what works best for your skin. You’ll learn as you try, and pro-tip – it’s always nice to do a patch test before diving into a product, especially if you have sensitive skin. We hope this helps you on your skincare journey!