The Best Eco-Friendly Suncreens

As summer approaches, it’s essential to protect our skin from harmful UV rays while also safeguarding the delicate ecosystems of our oceans. Traditional sunscreens often contain chemicals that can harm marine life and contribute to coral bleaching. However, there are eco-friendly and non-toxic alternatives available that offer effective sun protection without compromising the environment. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best options for eco-conscious sunscreen choices.

Mineral Sunscreens:
Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, are formulated with natural ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These minerals create a physical barrier on the skin, reflecting and scattering UV rays. Mineral sunscreens are non-toxic and provide broad-spectrum protection without harming marine ecosystems. Look for brands that use non-nano particles to ensure minimal impact on the environment.

Reef-Safe Sunscreens:
Reef-safe sunscreens are specifically designed to minimize the negative impact on coral reefs and marine life. They are free from oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common chemicals found in sunscreens that are known to contribute to coral bleaching. Instead, they utilize alternative UV filters like zinc oxide or avobenzone. By choosing reef-safe sunscreens, you can enjoy the sun while actively preserving our fragile marine ecosystems.

Organic and Biodegradable Sunscreens:
Opting for organic and biodegradable sunscreens ensures that the product is made from natural, sustainably sourced ingredients. These sunscreens are free from harmful chemicals and are biodegradable, meaning they break down easily without leaving behind toxic residues that can harm marine organisms. Look for certifications such as COSMOS Organic or USDA Organic to ensure the sunscreen meets stringent environmental standards.

Packaging and Manufacturing Practices:
Consider sunscreen brands that prioritize sustainable packaging and manufacturing practices. Look for options with minimal packaging made from recycled materials. Some companies even offer refillable or compostable packaging, reducing waste and environmental impact. Additionally, choose brands that follow eco-friendly manufacturing processes, such as utilizing renewable energy or minimizing water usage.

Protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful rays should not come at the expense of our oceans and marine life. By choosing eco-friendly and non-toxic sunscreens, we can enjoy the sun responsibly while safeguarding the environment. Mineral sunscreens, reef-safe options, organic and biodegradable formulations, as well as mindful packaging and manufacturing practices, are crucial factors to consider when selecting sunscreen. Remember, our choices have the power to make a positive impact on both ourselves and the world around us. So, this summer, let’s embrace sun protection that keeps us safe and preserves the beauty of our oceans.


Photo by Dimitris Chapsoulas on Unsplash


Written by Carole Wilay ’25