Did you hear the great news? Hawaii recently enacted a law banning sunscreen that is harmful to coral reefs. Scientists have found issues with many of the chemicals found in most sunscreens available on the market. The ingredients they contain are polluting the oceans and bleaching our reefs. Thankfully, there are alternatives available. The best reef safe sunscreens will keep your skin protected without doing harm to the environment you are out enjoying.
In this article we are going to detail some of the best reef safe sunscreens available, and go over what you should look for when shopping for your own.
Why Do I Need Reef Safe Sunscreen?
As we mentioned, there are many things found in common sunblock lotions that are toxic for our oceans. Sunscreens contain these ingredients because they work to block the sun’s UV rays from penetrating the skin. However, ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, for example, are causing damage to the corals like premature bleaching.
Over 3,500 sunscreens contain those two ingredients. The fragile coral reef populations found around the world need our help.
Humans continue to pollute the waters and are responsible for endangering the coral reefs if we do not switch over to coral reef safe products. In fact, over 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter the rivers and oceans every single year.
What Sunscreen is Safe for Coral Reefs?
In the beautiful Caribbean, over 80% of coral reefs have already been lost.
You need to be aware of the best reef safe sunscreen to buy for your beach days. Some skin care companies are taking actions into their own hands and creating the best reef safe sunscreen around. They’ve created reef safe biodegradable sunscreen that will breakdown in the water instead of it breaking down plants and animals.
When in Doubt: Read the Labels
There are a few things you need to look at when deciding what sunscreen to buy.
- Make sure the sunscreen does not contain BP2, which is a deadly ingredient to coral reefs.
- Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are other ingredients to look out for.
- The label needs to read “reef safe”, as well.
Check out our reef safe sunscreen list and reviews below for the top-rated products you need to learn more about.
11 Best Reef Safe Sunscreen Reviews
The Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen has properties to protect the environment and your skin. It contains SPF 50 to provide you with the highest level of UVA and UVB protection according to the FDA.
This reef safe sunscreen will also protect fair skin tones from sunburning while out in the sun. You need to rub it in well and let it soak into your skin before you start your venture out to the beach, too. A lot of happy customers swear by this sunscreen to protect them during the hot summer months, and you will also feel great using it knowing it’s on the reef safe sunscreen list.
Raw Elements is another wonderful brand available on the market. It’s one of the Environmental Working Group’s top-rated sunscreens. The formula is free of harmful chemicals, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate.
Instead of containing those active ingredients, the Raw Elements sunscreen takes on a natural approach. Found within one bottle of this product is 23% non-nano zinc oxide as well as powerful vitamins and minerals to moisturize your skin for all-day protection against the sun.
Finding a sunscreen that is safe for the environment needs to be on your radar. Consider the Raw Elements brand as one of your go-to favorites because it offers a solution to the problem of affecting the lives of coral reefs.
We need to preserve our marine life and one way to do so is to purchase the right sunscreens. Another sunscreen on the reef safe sunscreen list includes Badger Sunscreen Cream. Badger’s lotion, similar to the Raw Elements one, also contains non-nano zinc oxide as its active ingredient.
The daily formulas are easy to apply, non-greasy, and less whitening. These hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic formulas are also great to apply on your face.
The All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion has a lightweight formula leaving you feeling less greasy than others. As a brand, the company continues to work on improving their formulas, too. Their latest work includes the addition of in-active ingredients to soothe the skin. Aloe vera and organic green tea repair damaged skin.
The All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion is free of the following harmful eight ingredients:
As a bonus, the coral reef safe lotion also does not contain:
- Microbeads (plastics)
Broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and a blend of antioxidants? That’s what you’ll find in a tube of Stream2Sea Biodegradable Sunscreen.
This fast-absorbing formula will not leave you feeling greasy, too. It’s true that most mineral sunscreens start out white. You need to take extra time before walking outside to rub the white mineral sunscreen well into your arms and legs for the best protection.
Use a small pea-sized amount at a time for the best results. The Stream2Sea products are also made in the United States. This brand developed one of the best coral reef safe sunscreens on the market. The Stream2Sea Sunscreen has no odor and will be your best defense against the sun this summer.
When used, it won’t leave behind a huge white cast that stains your clothes. The biodegradable aspect of the tube also promotes reducing waste in the environment which is another great idea to help the planet.
Another one of the best eco-friendly options you can buy is the one by Babo Botanicals. Kate Soloman is the developer of this non-toxic brand. She became pregnant with her son and realized how many skincare products use toxic ingredients.
Free of reef-damaging ingredients, the Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen formula has so many wonderful qualities about it. You will receive a water-resistant (80 minutes) product that also has a nice summer scent.
This specific sensitive mineral sunscreen is also perfect for children. Kate Soloman created Babo Botanicals to be safe for children with allergies, so you can confidently apply this stuff all over your child.
Looking for a completely vegan and gluten-free sunscreen?
The Green Screen Organic Sunscreen SPF 32 Original offers a fragrance-free, vegan, gluten-free, chemical-free option. 86% of the active ingredients are also certified organic. This sunscreen uses non-nano zinc oxide to give you complete broad-spectrum coverage.
Trust Green Screen Organic Sunscreen because of its’s powerful organic ingredients that do not harm the coral reefs in any way.
Alba Botanica makes a creamy liquid sunscreen or a fast-drying spray sunscreen. Enjoy eco-friendly protection with Alba Botanica products. The Skin Cancer Foundation also promotes this sunscreen as one of the best for your skin.
These Alba Bontanical products also contain NO:
- Synthetic fragrances
- Artificial colors
Let’s say you are interested in finding a new sunscreen that also doubles as a lovely tinted moisturizer for your face.
The MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Creme does just that. It’s not just a creamy, lightweight tinted sunscreen, but it offers a combination of potent extracts to protect the skin from free radicals.
This formula will blend into any skin tones, too. From fair to dark skin tones, you’ll be surprised by the silky application that truly conceals imperfections and leaves you ready to apply your makeup once rubbed into the face.
Colored sunscreen sticks are going to be fun for your kids to play with. Bare Republic launched a bunch of exciting new neon sunscreen sticks in a rainbow of colors with natural ingredients. The food-grade ingredients also contain cruelty-free properties.
The fresh scents include everything from Blueberry to Banana. Coming in under $10, these sunscreen sticks are also affordable for your family.
Cruelty-free and gluten-free, the Loving Naturals Clear Body All Natural Sunscreen has everything you’ve been looking for in a natural product. 24% non-nano zinc oxide and organic oils protect you from sun damage. The “clear” sunscreen does exactly what it says because it goes on 100% clear. No more ugly white cast!
The team at Loving Naturals goes above and beyond as they research every single ingredient used in their products. They are known for researching their suppliers and promise to seek high-quality sustainable ingredients.
The Loving Naturals sunscreen includes:
- No synthetic or toxic ingredients
- Clear and smooth application
- Water resistant up to 40 minutes
- Uncoated zinc oxide
- Ingredients with low allergens
- Clearly labeled ingredients
Try this brand as your go-to daily sunscreen, too. Of course, it’s essential to pack sunscreen with you in your beach bag, but stick a tube in your car to make sure you wear SPF every day. The sun is always out, even when you think it’s a cloudy day. This habit should help you protect your body from the sun’s rays all year long even in the winter.