With May being National Skin Cancer Awareness month, we felt it only appropriate to share with you our favorite ocean-friendly mineral sunscreens. Anything I use for sunscreen these days must be cruelty free, non-chemical, and reef safe, while of course, effective. I’ve researched both chemical and mineral ingredients and made the decision to go strictly mineral.
Here’s a bit of what I learned…
In particular, I am staying away from any products with ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two have been shown to have harmful effects both on human health and the environment, namely coral reefs. Oxybenzone, is on my absolutely NO WAY list. It has been shown to cause damage to our DNA that may lead to cancer and developmental abnormalities, it is an endocrine disruptor, it causes deformations in juvenile corals, and it leads to coral bleaching.
But that’s not all…Chemical sunscreens tend to have more ingredients and may be more irritating for sensitive skin, which I have. Some preservatives found in sunscreens were even originally used as a mass fish anesthetic! And guess what, some of that coconut flavor that smells so wonderful going on your skin, is seeping into the fish you are eating. Known as the Awful 8, these chemicals should be avoided: Oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, PABA (Aminobenzoic Acid), enzacamene, octisalate, homosalate, and avobenzone.
I seriously had no idea that chemical sunscreen did such terrible damage to our coral reefs and I’m betting most people don’t. A NOAA study revealed that about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in reefs worldwide, which can lead to a whole slew of abnormalities in coral. The concern is so serious that some places, including the state of Hawaii, are now banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens with those chemicals effective in 2021.
If you want to protect the oceans, but also want to protect your skin, the best option at the moment for eco-conscious beachgoers seems to be to swap out the chemical sunscreens for physical sunscreens, ones with non-nanotized mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They reflect the sun off your skin without threatening the environment.
Mineral sunscreens used to go on pasty and stay that way, so many people just didn’t use them. But I’m not having that experience anymore. It’s now easy to find ones for the face and body that go on easily, absorb quickly, are filled with good things for your face like antioxidants, and are effective. Just make sure whatever you buy that it says broad spectrum and has an SPF of at least 30. For summer fun in the sun, I’m going with at least SPF 50. Make sure it’s water resistant for 80-90 minutes, too.
But this is just my choice…You should do your own research and use what’s most comfortable for you and your family.
One final note, what I really love is that each of these companies was inspired to produce better products for skincare and the planet due to some personal event/journey. Amazing!
Favorite Ocean-Friendly Mineral Sunscreens
thinksport SPF 50+
This sunscreen seems to be on everyone’s top list for being truly reef safe. The main ingredient is non-nano zinc, the most coral-friendly option available in the US, according to experts. This one rubs in among the clearest I’ve used, with minimal effort. It feels less greasy with little to no odor.
The company looks to make their products sustainable, either by ensuring they have an extremely long use life or can be recyclable. They try to do both. The products are based off valid science and industry-funded research. They also have a line for the little ones called Thinkbaby.
These cruelty-free, biodegradable, and reef-friendly sunscreens combine antioxidant-rich oils, plant extracts, and non-nano mineral actives Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to help nourish and protect your skin. They offer broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and water-resistant formulas without chemicals.
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreens are as clean and pure as it gets, but tough enough to be effective. I love that they come in a variety of products from sprays to lotions to mousses to roll ons. They even offer a shimmer collection. Simple, safe, and effective is what I love in my sunscreens.
I read that Suntegrity was one of Allure magazines Best in Beauty awards and I like what I read so gave it a try. Very happy I did. I’ve gone through more than one bottle of this stuff. It’s actually a 3 in 1 product that is a face moisturizer, sunscreen, and primer in one. It’s infused with antioxidants, Hyaluronic acid, and Certified Organic aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea help rejuvenate, moisturize and hydrate the skin. The non-nano size zinc oxide protects the skin from the damaging UVA and UVB rays, as well as reduces the appearance of redness. Plus, it’s cruelty free and vegan.
The company offers products for face, body, and lips, and includes a really nice self-tanner. I’ve used them all. The LIP C.P.R. is infused with ingredients to visibly reduce the look of fine lines, SPF 30 , and oils and butters to smooth and hydrate your lips. The only thing I don’t like is that all the products are SPF 30 with none higher. That means in summer I switch out to another product line with higher SPF.
The founder of the company lost her mom to melanoma skin cancer and became a big advocate of wearing sunscreen. However, most of the sunscreens at the time used chemical UV blockers and contained a lot of toxic ingredients. So, she developed her own sun care line. Happy she did!
Enter code MOM2019 at checkout for a free gift through 5/12.
Goddess garden organics was founded in 2005 on two important principles: helping the planet and helping people safely enjoy the sun. Saddened by the clearing of trees and the amount of trash that was washing up on beaches, the founders wanted to do something that would make a difference for the planet.
They believe that there needs to be a shift for consumers regarding the usage of chemicals in everyday products, because they not only affect humans, but also our ecosystem as a whole. All goddess garden products are reef safe and cruelty free. The company makes a whole line of products, including face care, baby care, and aromatherapy.
Founded by chemists and adventurists with a love of the oceans, this line makes activism a priority. And I really love that they’re dealing with the plastics issue. Their tubes are made from sugarcane resins, the 32 oz bottles are made from recycled milk jugs, and baggies are made with biodegradable and recyclable PLA film. The company makes a variety of products, including conscious exploring kits and apparel.
They work hard to ensure that their products are safe not only for you and your family, but also for the sustainability of our planet. To reduce their impact on the environment, STREAM2SEA makes sure that the packaging is as green and sustainable as the products themselves. Love, love, love…
If you’ve read my eco-friendly product posts, you know I love JOSIE MARAN. I’m using her Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 for my face right now. It’s a lightweight, translucent, and formulated with her SunBoost ATB™—a unique blend of antioxidants, skin-soothers, and hydrators like argan oil, jojoba oil, and green tea. You get great sun protection while conditioning and nourishing the skin.
I also just bought her Whipped Argan Oil SPF 45 Body Butter, but haven’t tried yet. She also has a great self-tanner that I’m using with nice results. Just be aware that the sunscreen is not water resistant, so really not for the beach.
Of note…thinksport, BARE REPUBLIC, and goddess garden can be bought in most drug and grocery stores and of course, online. All can be bought on Amazon.
Do you consider the ingredients in your sunscreen?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.