Avoid using avobenzone sunscreen and mineral makeup


While writing the earlier entry Do Mineral Makeup Pose Health Risks, I read that there is evidence that uncoated titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO) can degrade avobenzone so it is best not to layer non-micronized mineral makeup with an avobenzone containing chemical sunscreen.

This is apparently confirmed by this Stability Study of Avobenzone with Inorganic Sunscreens by Uyen Nguyen and David Schlossman.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are preferable UVA / UVB sunscreens because of their efficiency and low irritation. In order to increase the protection in the UVA range, in many countries, avobenzone has been used in combination with titanium dioxide and / or zinc oxide. However, in the USA, combinations of avobenzone and physical sunscreens are not permitted. Avobenzone has been reported to be unstable when contained in formulations with uncoated physical sunscreens. Surface coating of the pigment has sometimes been shown to increase its stability.

Based on this, it would mean that for those of us who are using mineral makeup, you need to be aware of the ingredients not only in your mineral makeup, but your sunblock as well.  If you’re using mineral makeup without micronized ingredients (which is considered to be safer for our health), then ensure that you’re using a physical sunblock with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide without avobenzone.  


  1. Rachel says:

    does that mean that we cant use Avobenzone with EDM?

    Rachel: EDM uses non-micronized minerals so it’s recommend not to use a sunblock with Avobenzone.

  2. pamie says:

    big thanks for this!! as a mineral makeup user, i was concerned to find that my sunscreen does contain avobenzone. gonna run to the stores to buy the lavera one!!

    pamie: I hope the Lavera sunblock will work for you cos it’s pretty rich.

  3. eliza says:

    Hi there ?
    Do you know if Loreal True Match Liquid Foundation (W1 porcelain) contains coated Titanium dioxide? It only says Titanium dioxide so i dont know! I am so worried because my sunscreen contains avobenzone!
    Thank you so much for your help!

    Eliza: Hi, if it’s liquid, then I’m not aware of any issue. It’s the power mineral makeup that is of concern.

  4. Shana Smith says:

    Is octocrylene ok with mineral products?

    I am considering purchasing La Roche-Posay Anthelios Fluide Extreme SPF 50+ with active ingredients: Mexoryl SX, Mexoryl XL, Titanium Dioxide and Octocrylene.

    I want the widest spectrum of UVA, but I use mineral makeup.

    Shana: I haven’t read anything that says it’s unsafe with mineral makeup specifically.

  5. Grayburn says:

    Great topic and very good information. I was just looking into this issue. Thanks for sharing this with us!


  6. Rita says:

    I have been quite suspicious of combining Neutrogena Sunscreen SPF 80 with other products after I broke out in a horrible facial rash last year, which took 3 months of antibiotics to clear. I am so glad I came accross your article. Still I am not sure whether it is the combination of Neutrogena SPF 80 with Clinique foundation (Superbalanced Make Up and Superfit Make Up) or the combination of Neutrogena SPF 80 with Bioque products or a combination of all three. Can you shed any light on this? I know nothing about chemicals. It would be much appreciated.

    Rita: Based on some of my readings, it has been said that sometimes using sunscreens with high SPF may actually break us up due to the amount of ingredients or types of ingredients used. I have not found what ingredients Neutrogena SPF80 uses but the SPF is unusually high. Actually SPF30 is good enough or if you feel insecure, then use SPF50 at the maximum. The key is frequent application.

  7. Stefani says:

    Wow! I am so glad I ran into this article even though I wish it was a lot sooner. Until now I have been using the combination of Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunscreen w/ Helioplex which contains avobenzone along with my Joppa minerals makeup which contains non-micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

    No wonder I have not seen much effect with this sunscreen! It makes me sad that I’ve been using this combination for years! It’s time to switch up~ Thanks for such great information! This is my new favorite blog =)

    Stefani: You’re welcome! Come back often! ?

  8. Deborah says:

    I use anthelios xl (fluid extreme) and am a little bothered by the news that sunscreens containing avobenzone should not be used together with makeups containing titanium dioxide and iron oxides. I noticed in an earlier comment you mentioned not having heard anything unsafe about mexoryl sunscreens and mineral makeup. Why is it more safe? Do you know where I could find more information?

  9. sesame says:

    I haven’t come across anything unsafe about them. Plus at the moment, most of the information are controlled/released mostly by L’oreal. I think the best approach is to write to the company to check.

  10. Jane says:

    You said non-micronized mineral makeup is incompatible with avobenzone sunscreens. What about MICRONIZED mineral makeup? Will that also be incompatible?

  11. Jess says:


    I’m currently using MAC Mineralize satin finish SPF15 fou7ndation. And I’m using the neutrogena ultra sheer dry-touch sunblock SPF 50+ with helioplex under the foundation. Is it compatible cos’ i’m not really good with those ingredients thingy?? Appreciate if you could reply to my email. Thanks!!

  12. sara says:

    sorry but anthelios does contain avobenzone.

  13. sara says:

    What exactly means micronized or non-micronized? a blush like maybelline mineral blush is micronized or not? thanks

  14. sesame says:

    Micronized means particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller, and can be inhaled within the lungs. If I remember correctly, Maybelline’s are non-micronized. But you need to verify that.

  15. sara says:

    thank you for the answer.
    I’m still not clear: an european company producing mineral makeup says that her items are micronized but they do not use nanoparticles. this seems a contradiction..or not?

  16. sesame says:

    There’s a bit of confusion all round regarding micronized and nanoparticles. Sizes of nanoparticles is widely accepted as 100nm or less. So a particle under 100nm can be both micronized and nanosized but a particle over 100nm would be micronized but not nanosized.

  17. mary says:


    I use LRP anthelios XL sunscreen , and it have Avobenzone and titanium dioxide in it,it could be inestable or something like that??


  18. sesame says:

    Because of the Mexoryl, it is very photostable. But it is still a chemical sunscreen.

  19. Evelyn Stephens says:

    Hello there!
    I recently came across your blog and have been obsessed with it! You provide a lot of great information and I think it is wonderful you are educating so many people.

    One question, what resource can I use to determine if my mineral makeup is non micronized/ micronized mineral makeup?

    I currently like using coty translucent powder/ bareminerals but I unfortunately I can’t find any information on their particle size.

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