We want our sunscreen to protect our skin—but what about our oceans? These suncare products end up in our waterways one way or another, whether we’re going for a swim at the beach or washing it off in the shower. Therefore, the sunscreens we use should be good for the environment just as much as it is good for our bodies.
Many conventional sunscreens use chemicals that are potentially harmful to marine life and cause coral bleaching. Others use ingredients that absorb into your skin and make its way through your bloodstream, which can lead to skin irritation, hormonal disruption, and even skin cancer. The trick is to find a product that creates a layer over your skin to protect you from the sun, wash off your body easily, and enter our water without hurting the environment.
It’s best to look for sunscreens that use non-nano or uncoated zinc oxide, which contains particles that are not small enough to penetrate the skin. You should also avoid sunscreens that include any of the following eight ingredients, according to various studies.
- PABA (Aminobenzoic Acid)
If a brand claims it is cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, or naturally derived, this does not mean that it does not contain these chemicals. That’s why it’s so important to actually look at the ingredients in your sunscreen!
Here are a few options that do not contain the ingredients listed above and utilize non-nano zinc oxide in their formula.
Raw Love is Hawaiʻi’s first FDA compliant sunscreen company, according to their website. It uses 100% all natural plant-based ingredients (including unrefined coconut oil, raw shea butter, beeswax, and carrot seed oil) while also using organic farming methods.
The sunscreen comes in a 4-ounce or 2-ounce tin making it plastic-free packaging as well!
AllGood uses non-nano zinc oxide as it’s only active ingredient in both the spray and lotion sunscreens. They’ve packed some many antioxidants such as rosehip oil and green tea into the mineral sunscreens to help repair and support your skin.
The company offers other products such as lip protection, deodorants, and lotions which are also free of nasty chemicals.
The “Guards Up” daily mineral sunscreen is an SPF 35, oil-free formula with a creamy texture that won’t leave a white cast on the skin. The sunscreen container is made mostly of post-consumer recycled plastic and is recyclable—a double win!
Versed also offers other products that you can filter on their website based on your specific skincare concerns.
Here’s a safe, SPF 50 for any athletes or outdoor lovers. The ThinkSport sunscreen formula is dermatologist tested and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Thinksport also has a line of sunscreens specifically for kids and babies that has been rated one of the best sunscreens for children in 2020 by the EWG.
Raw Elements really lives up to its name because this is the cleanest formula I’ve ever seen.
It’s Face + Body Tube SPF 30 has just one active ingredient (non-nano zinc oxide) and added nutrients such as sunflower oil, coffee bean, green tea, and cocoa butter. The formula is USDA certified organic and is sure to moisturize the skin.
Badger has so many different options for sunscreen depending on your specific needs. There are products specifically for athletes, clear formulas for those who want to avoid white residue, and a formula specifically for babies and kids. You are bound to find an option that works best for you!
They are so transparent about their manufacturing processes, they even have a video on their website to show how they make their sunscreen.
Our Editor recently tested out clean beauty darling, Indie Lee’s new sunscreen and found it to spread and perform well on hot summer days. We especially love that there isn’t a strong sunscreen smell with this one! This is the most expensive sunscreen on our list but being from a beauty brand it also has some extra skin-nourishing ingredients.
Indie Lee’s suncreen includes 20% zinc oxide and beneficial ingredients such as squalane, seed oils, shea butter and aloe.
There are plenty of options to soak up the sun that are both safe for your body and the environment! ☀️
Last updated August 2, 2022