When you take a dip in the warm waters of the Caribbean, Hawaii or California, you’re not just swimming in seawater. You’re also swimming in chemicals from personal care products that has made their way into the oceans. When you go to the beach, it’s only natural to think of your skin and take measures to take care of it to avoid sunburn. But in today’s time, we also need to think of what’s best for the environment we’re enjoying.
Most beachgoers, divers, snorkelers generously slather on sunscreen, which washes off in the water. Marine Life, a marine conservation NGO, estimated that around 14,000 tons of sunscreen are ending up in the world’s coral reeds, causing damage and death. Researchers have found that the oxybenzone and octinoxate content of the sunscreen brands are the main culprits resulting to death and damage to thousands of coral reefs and other wildlife. Oxybenzone for instance, damages coral DNA and causes corals to be sterile and dead, so they can’t reproduce. This is also an endocrine disruptor that causes cancer and other abnormalities in humans. It may even disrupt estrogen and testosterone levels Other chemicals you must steer clear of – most of which are hormone and endocrine disruptors – homosalate, octocrylene, octisalate and avobenzone.
To keep you and the environment safe, avoid using sunscreens with these chemicals. A non-nano zinc oxide-based formula is a better alternative, and it’s safer for the environment. Also, avoid aerosol sprays. These causes chemical ingredients to be dispersed into the environment.
These are some of the best, non-toxic sunscreen to bring on your next trip to the beach:
Where to Buy
Thinksport’s sunscreen has a perfect score on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) because it doesn’t contain any biologically toxic chemicals. This is also a favorite among adventurers concerned with nature. It is waterproof for up to 80 minutes, it doesn’t feel oily and it provides an important broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Many users like that it stays on incredibly well and is absorbed easily by the skin. It contains only zinc oxide and no titanium dioxide.
Badger does care for your skin and the environment. It’s hypoallergenic, moisturizing and fragrance free, plus it is made of organic materials and clear zinc oxide. This is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, and unlike other mineral sunscreen, it adjusts to your skin tone without leaving a trace of white film. It feels light to the skin and it’s fragrance-free.
If you’re looking for the perfect sunscreen for your child, this sunscreen from TruKid is a good catch. It’s voted as the “Most Awesome” sunscreen for two years in a row by Red Tricycle. It’s safe for most skin types – even with those with eczema, since it’s non-nano, and contains no parabens, phthalates and vitamin A. It’s easy to apply and it doesn’t leave too much white residue on skin. It’s proven safe and tested by pediatricians and dermatologists. Plus, the EWG also approves, as it was awarded with the highest rating.
All Good is dedicated to creating river-to-reef-friendly sunscreens and skincare products. This non-nano zinc oxide-based sunscreen is rich in organic green tea, rose hips and buriti oil to repair and replenish damaged skin. It has a non-greasy, lightweight formula that is water-resistant for 80 minutes. Since it’s environmentally friendly, this formulation is oxbenzone free, vegan, non-nano and biodegradable.
The skin of your precious baby is a pretty delicate one, and there’s nothing more terrifying for a parent to see it getting burned by the blazing summer sun. This sunscreen from California Baby is super sensitive to baby skin, making it ideal not only for babies but also for anyone with eczema, sensitive skin or allergy concerns. It doesn’t contain any fragrance, harsh chemicals, irritants and allergens like gluten, soy, oat, dairy and nuts. The active ingredient in this sunscreen is titanium dioxide, which scatters and reflects cancer-causing sunrays. It’s highly rated by the EWG.
For adults with sensitive skin who wants to stay safe, this formulation from Blue Lizard is a good bet. Blue Lizard Australian sunscreens have been dermatologist-trusted for more than 20 years. This sunscreen is paraben-free and fragrance-free, and it’s water-resistant for 40 minutes. It contains both titanium and zinc. If you’re pregnant, sunscreens like these are also great. Pregnant skin is more sensitive to burns, and putting in lotions with oxybenzone may affect birth weight for babies and cause higher chemical contents in breast milk.
This unscented, vegan sunscreen is great for kids and people with sensitive skins. It’s also great for anyone sensitive to scent. This sunscreen is safe for your skin since it is made of non-nano zinc oxide, and is free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, propylene glycol and chemical UV absorbers. It also contains organic green tea extract, pomegranate seed oil and cucumber extract.
If you want to fake a sun-kissed glow at the beach while protecting your skin from sun exposure, use a safe tinted sunscreen like this one from Badger. It’s a mineral-based tint that prevents the annoying problem with zinc that turns you white. It’s made of simple, natural ingredients that are hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and no added fragrance. It also contains natural moisturizing elements such as beeswax, vitamin E, sunflower oil and seabuckthorn. It’s a top rated sunscreen by the EWG.
Designed for swimmers, divers, cyclists, runners, paddle boarders and other outdoor enthusiasts, this sunscreen from Rocket Pure stays put even when challenged by water and sweat for two hours. It contains 25% zinc – the highest concentration of mineral-based protection for sunscreens. It’s on the “Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens” list of the EWG and is certified Reef Safe by the Safe Sunscreen Coalition. This product is made of natural and organic ingredients and it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals and parabens.
With Stream2Sea, you guard yourself against the sun and you guard the environment from getting harmed as well. Their products, when washed off, won’t harm marine life. It’s a mineral-based sunscreen made of 10% non-nano, titanium dioxide. It features a powerful, emollient blends of green tea, tulsi, wakame seaweed and olive leaf.
One of the top rated sunscreens by EWG, this sunscreen from Raw Elements is all-natural. The active ingredient in this sunscreen is non-nano zinc oxide and it’s made from natural ingredients that does not contain soy, gluten or nuts. It’s gentle enough for use in children (it won’t sting their eyes!), plus it provides extra protection against salt and winds. It’s packed with active antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals so your skin will feel pampered. It’s water resistant up to 80 minutes, reef-safe and biodegradable.