In this guide we show you 5 of our favorite environmentally friendly sunscreen brands, that you’re going to love (and so will the reef!)
The use of sunscreen is an essential personal care routine. In fact, the use of this product is recommended in order to prevent skin disease and burns, due to exposure to the sun’s UV rays. If you love to spend time in the ocean to swim, snorkel, or SCUBA dive, then wearing sunscreen is non-negotiable.
However, it is important to choose the environmentally friendly sunscreen alternatives that do not contain chemicals that could potentially harm the ocean and the coral reefs (some of which are linked to coral bleaching).
But what is it about sunscreens that make it deadly to coral reefs and the ocean, in general? Research efforts done in an effort to stop the damage to coral have shown two specific chemicals that are identified as dangerous: oxybenzone and octinoxate.
These are the known culprits behind deformations in juvenile corals, which are also known as bleaching. These chemicals that are used heavily in sunscreen formulas absorb harmful UV rays from the sun.
As such, they do have harmful side effects to humans, not just on the reefs. Oxybenzone, for example, is linked to cancer and developmental abnormalities as it is known to cause damage to the DNA.
The next time you take a dip in the water, think about the products that you are using and how it can affect the environment. Do your small part to help our oceans, by using one of the following reef-safe sunscreens on your next holiday!
Quick Answers: The Best Environmentally Friendly Sunscreen
What makes these brands recommended for reef-safe swimming and scuba diving? What features and ingredients do you need to look for when buying a new sunscreen? Find out more as you get detailed look into each of these sunscreen brands below.
Stream2Sea is top of our list of sunscreen brands that are environmentally friendly, reef-safe, and safe for your skin. The company claims that their reef-safe sunscreens are biodegradable and lacks the harmful chemicals that are damaging to the coral reefs.
The people behind the company take their commitment to producing reef-safe sunscreens seriously. In fact, they are the only reef-safe mineral sunscreen that has been tested and proven to be safe to the sea and corals.
This testing is done to ensure that it is not harmful to corals and aquatic species in the ocean, such as fish, when it comes off your skin while swimming.
This test was done to measure the aquatic toxicity of the ingredients found on their sunscreens. Thus, the company can offer confidence in their products when they claim it is coral reef-safe.
To support the sustainability and environmentally friendly campaign of the brand, Stream2Sea’s packaging is also designed to be eco-friendly. They do not use plastic on their packaging.
Instead, the sunscreen tubes are manufactured with the use of sugarcane resins and recycled products. This is to ensure that they are biodegradable and is not harmful to the environment and the ocean.
After all, Stream2Sea is a strong advocate for ocean conservation efforts. By committing to developing reef-safe mineral sunscreens that are bottled sustainably, they can contribute to conserving the ocean and preserving its reef environment.
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Magwai is one of those sunscreen brands that take immense pride in being reef-safe. For this reason, it is among the top brands on the market for those looking for a sunscreen that is not only effective in protecting your skin from the sun, but also helps to protect the environment and the ocean.
Oh, and did we mention that the company is based in the Philippines?
The ethos of this company is to travel the seas responsibly. But how does the company achieve that? It’s simple – Magwai chooses its ingredients conscientiously. Many of the sunscreen brands contain chemicals that, even at extremely low concentrations, are linked to bleach corals.
These toxic sunscreens combine to produce up to 8 billion tons of sunscreen products and chemicals that are being washed off into the ocean. Magwai, therefore, deviates from that by using zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These two ingredients are naturally sourced so they are safe for the coral reefs.
But while Magwai is reef-safe in formula, it does not compromise in terms of the protection it gives your skin (which is the primary reason for using one – so don’t fret). The natural ingredients found in its formula provide SPF50+ and a broad spectrum protection.
Thus, your skin is safe against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Both zinc and titanium oxides are effective in providing a protective shield for your skin so that it deflects the harmful rays.
Finally, Magwai sunscreen formula also protects the ocean. The brand has delivered a committed effort to reduce waste in the ocean from their production to the recycling of its packaging. They encourage all consumers to drop off empty tubes in designated recycling bins so that they can be re-used as packaging.
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People4Ocean is a reef-safe sunscreen brand that is born out of Australia. This brand was developed by “ocean lovers and reef scientists” so they have one goal in mind: to protect the ocean. This is evident in the brand’s range of sunscreen products and formulas that are as effective in protecting the skin as they are in making sure that the marine ecosystem is preserved.
Many of the options available before P4O were filled with toxic ingredients that were harsh on the skin and even harsher on the reef environment.
That is when the people behind this brand rallied to produce sun care solutions that are gentle on the skin and the ocean’s reefs.
In 2018, People4Ocean was formed by Australian skincare specialists and ocean lovers who wanted to revolutionize the way sunscreen formulas were developed. With a country like Australia wherein the rate of skin cancer cases were quite high, skin protection was their top priority.
The sunscreen formulas they developed were infused with the aromatic blend of Australia’s natural botanicals. Thus, they are safe on the skin while providing utmost protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
More importantly, all People4Ocean formulas are free of the water-polluting elements such as oxybenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate. Each formula is derived from all-natural ingredients and using sustainable manufacturing practices.
Even the packaging is 100% biodegradable to reduce impact on the environment, and especially on the ocean.
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Badger dubs itself as the safest sunscreen in the market. It makes the list of our recommended environmentally friendly sunscreens because it offers a broad spectrum protection while using mineral zinc oxide as its active ingredient. The choice of ingredient is vital because it ensures you get adequate sun protection on your skin, while keeping it safe for the ocean and the coral reefs.
Badger is known for producing natural and organic sunscreen products that utilize plant oils, beeswax, and aloe in its formula. You can guarantee that it delivers antioxidant benefits to the skin while also keeping it moisturized with every use.
In addition, Badger sunscreens are rated by the Environmental Working Group for its safety and efficacy.
As with the other sunscreen brands listed here, the use of zinc oxide is crucial in making this one of the best environmentally friendly sunscreens on the market. This makes their products effective in protecting against UVA and UVB rays.
For this reason, you won’t have to worry about acquiring skin damage or cancer when you are exposed to the sun as long as you are wearing this sunscreen.
You also won’t have to worry about the environment – their sunscreens are free of chemicals that harm coral reefs. It is labeled as reef-safe so you can minimize impact on the environment. In addition, the manufacturing process and packaging are guaranteed to be cruelty free. The company ensures that no animal testing is done for all of their sunscreen products.
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ThinkSport is another brand to add to your list of those that manufacture environmentally friendly sunscreens, in particular reef-safe sunscreens. The SPF50+ Sunscreen consistently ranks among the best reef-friendly sunscreens that are recognized by the New York Times and other notable publications.
This brand rides on the momentum that is in the market at the moment in an effort to root out chemicals from sunscreen formulas. These chemicals have been proven by studies to be the cause behind reef damage.
For this reason, ThinkSport has developed a reef-safe formulation for their product to deviate from the chemical-based sunscreen formulas. This is a type of mineral sunscreen that does not cause harm to the coral reefs.
Thus, it is viewed as the best alternative to the traditional options in the market. Furthermore, these products have gone beyond just making sure that the formulations are safe for the reefs. The packaging also undergoes biodegradability testing to minimize solid waste and impact on the environment, not just on the oceans.
ThinkSport is noted as one of the safest options for the reefs because it contains none of the following chemicals: oxybenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, parabens, and triclosan, among others.
It is made with non-nano zinc, which is recommended as the safest option for reefs. It comes with a subtle smell and does not feel as greasy as most other sunscreens do.
And yet, it is just as effective in blocking out UV rays from the sun for up to 80 minutes.
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