5 Best Eco-Friendly Sunscreens: Protecting Your Skin and Saving the Reefs!

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We’ve all heard about the dangers of harsh, chemical-filled sunscreens that are polluting our oceans – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Therefore, there are lots of sunscreens now that are good for the environment and also help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry – I’m here to help!

After extensive research and evaluation, I’ve put together a list of the top five best eco-friendly sunscreens that are set to revolutionize your summer skin protection in 2023.

As a passionate advocate for sustainable living and eco-conscious skincare, I’m sharing these reviews to help you make an informed choice when selecting an eco-friendly sunscreen.

The best eco-friendly sunscreens featured in this list have been evaluated based on customer satisfaction, effectiveness, and environmental impact.

Each product has been thoroughly reviewed to ensure the results are reliable and trustworthy.

From my research, I found that Blue Lizard SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen stands out as the best overall eco-friendly sunscreen for you to consider.

However, depending on your unique skincare needs and preferences, there might be other equally impressive eco-friendly sunscreens that could be a better fit for you.

Let’s dive in!

Best Overall For You
Blue Lizard SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen
9.5
  • Mineral sunscreen
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Water & sweat resistant
Best Budget Option
Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
9.3
  • Value for money
  • Water-resistant
  • For all skin types
Best Green Option
Stream 2 Sea SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen
9.1
  • Antioxidant blend
  • Eco-conscious packaging
  • Tested & proven safe

Discover the Top 5 Best Eco-Friendly Sunscreens for Summer!

  1. Blue Lizard SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen
  2. Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
  3. Stream 2 Sea SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen
  4. CeraVe SPF 30 Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen
  5. Alba Botanica SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion

5 Top Picks for the Best Eco-Friendly Sunscreen You Should Consider

All eco-friendly sunscreens included on this list have been thoroughly reviewed and researched, taking into account their customer reviews, value for money, ingredients and overall effectiveness.

Here are my top 5 recommendations for the best eco-friendly sunscreen for you to consider:

1. Blue Lizard SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen

  • First 5 ingredients: Purified Water, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Methyl Glucose, Dioleate Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Acid Propanediol 
  • Key feature: No Chemical Active Ingredients, Dermatologist Recommended, Water & Sweat Resistant
  • Type of Product: Lotion
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: This product is suitable for sensitive skin, and it does not cause any burning

Blue Lizard SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen is a great pick if you’re seeking effective, reef-friendly sun protection.

This mineral sunscreen contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate, making it safe for delicate coral reefs and your skin.

Acting like thousands of tiny mirrors, it reflects away UV rays before they penetrate your body.

This ensures broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, thanks to active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Users love its easy application and residue-free finish, making it suitable for all ages.

It has been proven reliable during a day trip involving various outdoor activities, even on sensitive skin.

However, be aware that the texture can feel greasy, which might not be ideal for daily use, and it’s quite thick upon application.

But if high SPF, environmental friendliness, and sensitive skin compatibility are your priorities, this sunscreen delivers.

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2. Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion

  • First 5 ingredients: Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Hydrated Silica, BHT, Disodium EDTA
  • Key feature: Hawaii 104 Reef Act Compliant, Water-resistant, For All Skin Types
  • Type of Product: Lotion
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Doesn’t leave a white cast on the dark skin like other brands and light texture

If you’re looking for a sunscreen that’s kind to both your skin and the environment, Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion is worth considering.

This lotion not only shields your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays but also takes care of our coral reefs by being Hawaii 104 Reef Act compliant.

It’s packed with Vitamin E for added skin nourishment and is oil-free and water-resistant, fitting for all skin types.

Users appreciate its lightweight texture that doesn’t leave a white cast, making it ideal for darker skin tones.

The pleasant smell and vegan formulation are appreciated bonuses.

However, be mindful when applying it near your eyes, as some users reported it can cause irritation. Some feedback also mentions packaging issues.

But overall, this sunscreen offers you safe sun protection while being kind to the planet, a win-win in our book!

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3. Stream 2 Sea SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen

  • First 5 ingredients: Mineral-based Ingredients
  • Key feature: Antioxidant Blend, EcoConsious Packaging, Tested & Proven Safe
  • Type of Product: Lotion
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Comes with eco-conscious packaging, which is from sugarcane resin

Stream 2 Sea SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen is a high-performing, eco-friendly choice for your sun protection needs.

Its organic ingredients create a physical barrier on your skin, shielding you from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

This means safer sun exposure for you, as no harsh chemicals seep into your pores.

A small amount goes a long way, making application easy and efficient. It’s reliable for outdoor activities, and you’ll appreciate its commitment to the environment with its reef-safe formula.

This sunscreen has been tested and proven safe for humans and marine life. Even the packaging is eco-conscious, made from sugarcane resin.

Note that this sunscreen is slightly thicker than other brands, which may make it a bit harder to apply, and it has a distinct scent.

However, it’s a great combination of being both safe and environmentally friendly.

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4. CeraVe SPF 30 Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

  • First 5 ingredients: Zinc oxide & Titanium dioxide, Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Citric Acid
  • Key features: 100% Mineral Sunscreen, Essential 3 Ceramides, Suitable for All Skin Types
  • Type of Product: Lotion
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Formulated with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier

Looking for a gentle, hydrating sunscreen that doesn’t compromise your skin’s health?

CeraVe SPF 30 Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is the answer.

This product is oxybenzone-free, avobenzone-free, and benzene free, meaning it’s safe for sensitive skin types.

It’s also enriched with essential ceramides, which naturally exist in your skin but can be damaged by sun exposure.

This sunscreen not only protects your skin from harmful UV rays but also helps maintain your skin’s natural barrier.

Why should you care? Because a strong skin barrier prevents moisture loss and keeps out impurities.

Users love its lightweight texture and the fact that it’s fragrance-free. It even has a tint for those makeup-free days, giving you a dewy glow.

However, please note it might not be the best fit if you have very fair skin or intend to wear it under makeup.

But overall, it could be the daily protection your skin has been longing for!

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5. Alba Botanica SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion

  • First 5 ingredients: Cetearyl Olivate, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate
  • Key features: 100% Vegetarian Ingredients, Paraben Free, Lightweight
  • Type of Product: Lotion
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: The sunscreen was made from a plant-based blend of botanical ingredients

Searching for a sunscreen that goes beyond just sun protection? Alba Botanica SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion could be just what you need.

This water-resistant formula keeps your skin safe whether you’re lounging poolside or sweating it out on a hike.

What sets this product apart is its commitment to natural, skin-loving ingredients.

Infused with green tea, vitamin E, and aloe vera, it combats sunburn while also fighting premature signs of ageing.

You’ll appreciate knowing that no parabens, which can potentially cause long-term health issues, are used in any of Alba Botanica’s products.

Users rave about its non-greasy texture and the fact that it doesn’t have a strong scent. Plus, it’s creamy and not gritty, unlike other sunscreens.

However, take note that it doesn’t come with a protective covering and might feel a little greasy, but it leaves no white cast.

Overall, it’s a great sunscreen that cares for your skin too!

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A Comprehensive Guide To Buy And Choose Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

Here, I wrote the buying guide for you to make sure you pick the right eco-friendly sunscreen for your needs.

Before you explore the buying guide, let’s learn why you need to change towards ocean-friendly sunscreen.

Why Eco-Friendly Sunscreen?

Are you aware that harsh chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate are found in 70% of sunscreens available in the U.S. market?

It’s alarming to consider that each year, as much as 14,000 tons of sunscreen find their way into our oceans. This statistic raises significant concerns about the state of our environment.

Traditional sunscreens often contain harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are not only bad for your skin but also disastrous for our oceans.

Studies have shown these chemicals contribute to coral bleaching, harming marine life.

Switching to eco-friendly sunscreen benefits both your skin and the environment. It minimizes your exposure to harsh chemicals and reduces the impact on marine ecosystems.

Why Do We Need to Value Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are like underwater cities, full of different sea creatures.

They’re super important for lots of reasons. For starters, they’re home to tons of fish and other sea animals. Plus, people make money from fishing and tourists who come to see the reefs.

What’s more, coral reefs help protect our shorelines. They act like a wall that stops big waves from causing damage.

Reefs are also special because they might help us find new medicines for diseases.

Many types of fish we eat depend on reefs, too, making them very important for our food.

And not to forget, many people feel a strong cultural connection to coral reefs, especially those who live near the coast.

But coral reefs are in danger because of things like climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

That’s why it’s so important for us to look after them. By protecting coral reefs, we’re helping all the creatures that call them home, as well as ourselves and future generations.

9 Buying Guide – Best Eco-friendly Sunscreen For You

Choosing the right eco-friendly sunscreen can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here’s a simple guide to help you make an informed decision:

1. Check for Harmful Ingredients: Avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, and parabens. They can cause harm to your skin and are detrimental to marine life.

2. Look for Broad-Spectrum Protection: Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which can cause skin cancer and premature ageing.

3. Consider the SPF Level: SPF (Sun Protection Factor) measures how well a sunscreen protects against UVB rays. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 per cent of UVB rays.

4. Ensure It’s Water-Resistant: While no sunscreen is completely waterproof, those labelled ‘water-resistant’ can provide protection for either 40 or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.

5. Opt for Reef-Safe Products: Reef-safe or reef-friendly sunscreens are free from ingredients that can harm coral reefs.

6. Consider Your Skin Type: If you have sensitive skin, look for sunscreens that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. If you have oily skin, opt for non-comedogenic sunscreens, as they won’t clog your pores.

7. Think About the Application Type: Sunscreens come in various forms like creams, lotions, sprays, and sticks. Choose one that fits your lifestyle and preference.

8. Look at the Packaging: To further minimize your environmental impact, opt for sunscreens in recycled or biodegradable packaging.

9. Read Reviews and Recommendations: Check out reviews and recommendations from trusted sources to find out what others are saying about the product.

Remember, the best eco-friendly sunscreen for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences.

Take your time to research, and don’t be afraid to try different products until you find the perfect one for you!

What Makes a Sunscreen Eco-Friendly?

An eco-friendly sunscreen should be free from harmful chemicals, packaged in biodegradable materials, and contain reef-safe ingredients. Here’s what to look out for:

  • No Harmful Chemicals: Avoid sunscreens containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, and parabens. These chemicals can harm your skin and the environment.
  • Biodegradable Packaging: Look for brands that use biodegradable or recycled packaging to reduce plastic waste.
  • Reef-Safe Ingredients: Choose sunscreens labelled as ‘reef-safe’ or ‘reef-friendly’. This means they’re less likely to harm marine life.

Reading the Labels

Understanding sunscreen labels can be tricky. Here’s a quick guide:

  • SPF: This indicates how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays. For everyday use, SPF 30 is sufficient.
  • Broad Spectrum: This means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Water Resistant: No sunscreen is completely waterproof, but water-resistant sunscreens will stay effective for either 40 or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.

Application and Disposal

Proper application is key to effective sun protection. Apply generously and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

To dispose of empty sunscreen containers responsibly, check if your local recycling program accepts them. If not, look for brands that offer a take-back program.

Remember, choosing the best eco-friendly sunscreen is not just about protecting your skin—it’s about safeguarding our planet too. Let’s make a difference, one sunscreen at a time!

What’s The Top Selection of Reef-friendly Sunscreen

Navigating the vast array of sun protection products can be challenging, but to simplify your search, consider the best eco-friendly sunscreen options I’ve highlighted below.

These top picks not only provide excellent sun defence but also contribute positively towards a sustainable environment.

Our Verdict

I recommend the Blue Lizard SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen for anyone in search of an eco-conscious and effective sun protection solution.

Its formulation, devoid of harmful chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate, makes it safe for both your skin and the environment.

The sunscreen offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection by reflecting harmful rays before they can penetrate the skin.

Many users have praised its easy application and residue-free finish, making it a suitable choice for all ages.

It has proven to be reliable even during various outdoor activities and works well on sensitive skin.

While it may have a somewhat greasy texture and is slightly thick upon application, its high SPF, environmental friendliness, and compatibility with sensitive skin make it a standout choice.

If you’re interested in additional advice for living sustainably and having an earth-friendly cleaning routine, take a look at these articles:

FAQ

What is eco sunscreen?

Eco sunscreen is a type of sun protection product that contains no synthetic ingredients such as oxybenzone or octinoxate, which are known to cause harm to both humans and the environment. Eco sunscreens are typically made from natural minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which reflect UVA/UVB rays before they can penetrate the skin.

Is there an eco-friendly sunscreen?

Yes, there are many eco-friendly sunscreen products available. To ensure that you’re getting a product that is truly sustainable, look out for natural ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and avoid synthetic chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate. Additionally, check the packaging to make sure it is recyclable or biodegradable.

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AUTHOR

Hanif Roslen is an eco-conscious enthusiast on a mission to help make the world a better, cleaner place. Through day-to-day experience cleaning his own home with those non-toxic cleaners, he has developed innovative and effective green solutions that reduce waste and promote sustainability.

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