5 Reef-Safe Sunscreens

We’ve always been told to wear sunscreen any time we are out in the sun, and if you’re a beach lover like me, then you are probably lathering it on daily!

Have you ever taken a moment to read the ingredients list on the sunscreen brand you are using?  If it’s a popular brand, then it’s a pretty long list, with several items that you probably aren’t familiar with.

You may think that you are protecting your skin from discolorization and possible skin cancer by using it, but the reality is that you can actually do more damage to the environment and even your skin, if you’re not careful about which sunscreen you use.

What you may not realize is this:  What we put on our skin washes off in water and ends up in our oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.  The chemicals contained can be devastating to coral reefs and other ocean life.

Here is a list of sunscreen ingredients to avoid:

First, remember the three Os!

  1. Oxybenzone (also known as Benxophenone-3) – This ingredient is added to help chemicals be absorbed through the skin, but it is also known to be an irritant for the skin!  It has also been known to contribute to coral reef bleaching.
  2. Octinoxate (also known as Octyl methoxycinnamate) – This is also used to help with asorbtion, and has been known to cause hormonal imbalance in our bodies, making it’s way through our urine, blood stream, and even breast milk.  It is another direct cause of coral reef bleaching.
  3. Octocrylene – This ingredient helps to boost SPF, but has also been known to cause allergic reactions and dwell in our bodies for longer periods of time.

Other ingredients to avoid are:

Parabens, Phthalates, Nano particles, Micro beads, Sulfates, Homosalate, Cyclomethicone, Avobenzone, Formaldehyde (this one should be obvious), Benzophenone, Retinyl Palmitate, Quaternium-15, and Methylisothiazolinone.

All of these ingredients can be damaging to your skin and to the ocean.

Whew… that’s a lot!

To make this a bit easier on you, I will share 5 sunscreen brands (in no particular order) that are making a big impact on our coral reefs and are great for your skin!

#1. All Good


(Image provided by Target.com)

All Good offers organic body products that inlcude all natural ingredients that healthy for your skin.  Their sunscreen contains mineral oxides that are also friendly to our coral reefs.  They even offer tin cans to avoid plastic packaging.  Read more about All Good here

#2. Babo


(Image provided by Amazon.com) 

Babo skin care products are award-winning and gentle on your skin.  Ensuring to avoid nano based ingredients, their sunscreen is safe enough to use for your infant child, and is hypo-allergenic!  Their suncreen is mineral based which makes it reef safe, and they also avoid fragrances.  Read more about Babo here

#3. Sun Bum


(Image provided by trustthebum.com) 

Sun Bum is a California & Florida team that works to ensure safe products for both your skin and the environment.  Their sunscreen is cruelty-free, vegan, and avoids harsh chemicals. They even offer lip balm that has the same respect!  Read more about Sun Bum here

#4. Blue Lizzard


(Image provided by bluelizzard.net)

This Australian based company focuses on avoiding harsh chemicals, such as the ones listed above, and is passionate about protecting our coral reefs.  Blue Lizzard avoids the three O’s and has an active ingredient of Zinc Oxide that is healthier for your skin. Read more about Blue Lizzard here 

#5. Raw Elements


(Image provided by Amazon.com) 

Protecting your skin by using organic antioxidants, this company is also passionate about our oceans, and strives to offer the “safest sunscreen on the planet”.  Their sunscreen contains vitamins and minerals, and non-nano zinc oxide as their active ingredient. They even have a list of all ingredients and why they’ve added them on their website.  Read more about Raw Elements here 

If you would like to shop for these items, you can find all of these on my Amazon Storefront under “Healthy You” (please note I do earn commissions from this site). 

I’m sure you will also find other companies who have the same passion for the environment and sustainability as these do. It makes me happy knowing that more companies are taking our environment into consideration!

Photo by John Cahil Rom on Pexels.com

Please comment below with your thoughts and any other Reef-Safe sunscreens you have found!  I’d love to hear your feedback.

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