Be sure you don’t harm the seas with your skincare! Try these organic reef safe sunscreens instead.
By Katy Caric
Come on, say it with me: “sunscreen is the foundation of great skin.” I’ll bet you’ve heard that a million times, am I right? Sure, sunscreen has many benefits, from preventing a painful sunburn to protecting your skin from harmful, cancer-causing UV rays. But we’re learning some worrying stuff about sunscreen, too.
First of all, it’s blocking essential vitamin D from penetrating your skin. Vitamin D is a potent cancer-fighter, and while absorbing loads of rays may increase your skin cancer risk, NOT taking in some sun can increase your risk of other cancers, like breast cancer. So try to get 15 minutes of unprotected sun daily.
Secondly, there are nasty chemicals in sunscreen that can actually increase your cancer risk (think: parabens) and accelerate ageing because they attract free radicals to your skin. There worst culprit for this is called oxybenzone – watch out for this, and nanoparticles on the label. No one knows what nanoparticles can do to your health…but we reckon it’s nothing good!
And guess what? These same chemicals and nanoparticles that harm your skin are badly damaging something else that’s beautiful and natural, too: the coral reefs. Every time you take a dip into the sea, if you’re slathered in chemical sunscreens, you’re contributing to the death of coral reefs and other marine life. And once you’re finished using it, let’s not forget the impact of that plastic tube on the oceans, too!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here, we’ve selected 10 of the best biodegradable, organic reef safe sunscreens that are often packaged in or from recycled materials so they won’t hurt the coral reefs – OR your health!
10 Of The Best Reef Safe Sunscreens
Suntegrity makes one of the best reef safe sunscreens! This is a mineral based sunscreen that doesn’t prevent skin cancer with toxic chemicals that can just cause other types of cancer. This lotion is light, mineral-based, and easily wearable. As a serious reminder about the importance of sunscreen, the package carries a little note to remember the founder’s mother, who lost her life to melanoma.
Best for: All skin types and ages Price: $24 Found: Globally
Typical sunscreens can feel a little icky, and everyone dreads the paper-white look that you get when the cream doesn’t absorb all the way. So, Coola to the rescue! This a light and durable formula that withstands sweat and water and goes on without a trace. Plus, Coola is quite organic, with 70% of their ingredients certified organic by the USDA.
Best for: Sensitive skins – this has zero fragrance added Price: from $26 Found: Globally
Sometimes, it takes a big life event to look at the world in a new way. Kate Solomon started seeing children’s skincare lines as toxic once she became pregnant and realised that those products were full of ingredients she would never put on her son’s skin.
Her first beauty line was made with high quality, non-toxic ingredients that even took allergies into account. Babo’s sunscreens use soothing organic oils and non-nano zinc to protect the skin of everyone in your family, no matter what their skin type or age. And of course, it’s another one of the best reef safe sunscreens.
Best for: Babies or children: it’s really gentle! Price: $21 Found: USA
4. Green People
Skincare starts with sun care, and every dermatologist will tell you that sun care should be a part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth and washing your face. Green People make a wonderful, certified organic sunscreen that can be used every day, and it’s practically pure enough to eat!
There are plenty of varieties to choose from, including children’s formulae, unscented and sport sunscreens. No matter which one you choose, it’s guaranteed to never block pores, so will be perfect for using on both the body and face.
Best for: The whole family, as there’s a broad variety of sunscreens here Price: From $30 Found: UK
Formulated with organic ingredients, this sunscreen by Juice Beauty is water resistant, and one of the best reef safe sunscreens, too. Its protection is thanks to an all mineral zinc SPF, with broad spectrum sun protection for the ultimate sun and sport fun. Juice Beauty makes a few organic reef safe sunscreens, but we love this one, which is made especially for swimming and sweating.
Best for: Avid swimmers, divers, surfers… Price: At just $18, this is one of the best reef safe sunscreens for those on a budget Found: USA
Drunk Elephant’s Umbra™ Sheer sunscreen won the Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2015 and continues to be one of the best reef safe sunscreens available. The lotion is formulated with antioxidants and moisturising oils that are basically like food for your skin. The part that protects your skin is zinc oxide and doesn’t have chemicals or silicones.
Best for: Drier or more mature skins Price: Around $33 Found: Globally
There’s much to love about this vitamin and mineral-based sunscreen. The formula is lightweight, so it’s easy to massage into the skin and offers daily UVA and UVB protection. Thanks to the mineral-based non-nano zinc oxide, vitamins, calming organic extracts and oils, the sunscreen provides great hydration and protection to the neck and face.
The gentle formula is safe for sensitive skin. And of course, it’s free from harsh chemicals, parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrance. It’s water-resistant for up to 40 minutes and even comes with recyclable packaging.
Best for: Families as it’s suitable for all skin types. Great if you’re jetting off on holiday! Price: $24 Found: USA
I love everything about this vegan brand! An all-natural, effective sunscreen for the whole family, it offers broad-spectrum sun protection with natural UV filters. Hypoallergenic with zero chemical ingredients, this sunscreen is suitable for all skin types and is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional sunscreens.
It’s packed with ingredients that are great for your skin, including:
- Probiotic Extracts: help improve skin smoothness & strengthen the skin barrier*
- Pineapple & Papaya: help promote even skin tone
- Wild Butterfly Ginger Root: helps protect skin against blue light
Best for: Long days outside in the sunshine Price: Around $35 Found: Globally
Ok, it may have ‘bum’ in the name, but this is one of the best reef safe sunscreens for your face!
Sun Bum’s sunscreen not only protects skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays, but it gives skin a boost of antioxidant vitamin E to neutralise free radicals, the main cause of premature ageing.
The moisturising sunscreen will keep the skin feeling healthy while providing it with a delicious subtle scent that is like summer in a bottle. You could even use it during winter for some summer nostalgia!
Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, the sunscreen is vegan, cruelty-free, oil-free and reef-friendly as well as being paraben-free, gluten-free and PABA free.
Best for: Preventing ageing Price: Around $25 Found: Globally
Made from certified all-natural ingredients, this is one of the best reef safe sunscreens, ever! Its buttery lotion provides UVA-UVB broad-spectrum protection in a super convenient, reusable tin. It’s non-nano, water resistant beyond 80 minutes, vegan friendly and highly moisturizing, too. We love that it’s suitable for the body and the face! It’s really all you need for summer.
Best for: Convenience. This little tin is perfect for popping into your purse. Price: $19 Found: USA, Canada and Europe