Badger balm is my cure-all natural beauty product when I need to travel light. Therefore when I saw Badger SPF 30 sunscreen made the EWG's top 10 mineral sunscreen list I purchased a bottle in 1-click on Amazon faster than, um 1 click for my upcoming Italian beach holiday. (Did you know they sell everything from lip gloss to toasters on Amazon these days?)
So why use mineral sunscreen? To make a long story short, traditional sunscreens contain lots of nasty chemicals and penetration enhancers which help said nasty chemicals better penetrate into your skin and body. Long term use is very dubious. Mineral sunscreens work using nanotechnology. They sit on top of your skin and reflect the sunlight (think about those life guards in the 80s who would paint their noses white with zinc oxide- it's the same active ingredient.)
Badger mineral sunscreen is a natural beauty's dream. Apart from the zinc oxide, all the other ingredients are as natural as pie (which is probably why it made the EWG cut.) Nary a paraben in sight. Ingredients in descending order include: olive oil, beeswax, cocoa and shea butters, lavender, lime, orange, and blood orange oils, seabuckthorn, blue tansy, and ylang ylang oil.
There are some key differences in usage. Mineral sunscreen goes on quite thick and needs to be rubbed in well enough but leaving a little bit of a grayish hue behind (so the minerals can reflect the sun). I found it a little tricky to get even coverage. The good news is that you can go into the sun immediately after application whereas non-mineral sunscreens can take up to 30 min to take full effect. The bigger risk is getting sunburned especially over a long period of time so if you're not up for a little extra work then for you the risk of slathering yourself with a chemical cocktail might be less than the risk of skin cancer if you are regularly applying the mineral sunscreen inconsistently.
My general rule for sun protection is act like you are trying to remain the same pasty color as before you went in the sun (wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and tee shirt over your bathing suit.) You'll find that the sun exposure that you do get despite all efforts to the contrary is enough to build a slow and lasting tan not to mention it will keep your skin healthy, glowing, and wrinkle-free for years. The leather look belongs only on handbags and shoes, not your skin.
Cute Italian bambino not included in purchase of Badger SPF 30.