Every year, over 14,000 tons of toxic sunscreen enter the ocean. Chemical ingredients leaching into waters and coral reefs come from sewage as well as swimmers. Common household products contain ingredients that wash off our bodies and end up in lakes, rivers, and oceans. Coral reefs are declining globally; they account for less than 1% of the ocean floor but provide food and shelter to over 1 million species and a quarter of all fish. It is up to us as a community to make small changes in our daily skin care routines to protect not only the ocean but also ourselves. Here are 5 sunscreens that are as good for the skin as they are for the environment.
Best overall – Tropic Skincare great barrier sun lotion, 200ml.
Non-sticky, reef-safe, broad-spectrum, and water-resistant. This mineral and chemical sun protection hybrid protects skin gently but effectively, sinking in with an invisible finish, leaving no trace of white chalkiness and causing no skin sensitivities or irritations.
Best for sensitive skin – Spray SPF 50+ Avene. 200ml.
For many years, the Avène brand has taken a broad eco-friendly approach called Skin Protect Ocean Respect, which includes a variety of environmentally friendly sun care products. Reduced and non-water-soluble sunscreens, a largely biodegradable composition, and no toxic substances for aquatic organisms are on the agenda. And never with silicone (which is one of the worst enemies of the marine world).
Best for under make-up – Ren Clean Skincare clean screen mineral SPF30 mattifying face sunscreen, 50ml.
For broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, a silicone-free, mattifying mineral SPF 30 with 22 percent zinc oxide and no oxybenzone. Suitable for most skin types, including sensitive, oily, and combination skin. Vegan. Cruelty-free.
Best sports sunscreen – Ultrasun sports gel SPF 50, 200ml.
This clear, transparent liquid gel is easy to apply, gentle on the skin and even the scalp (ideal for thinning or receding hairlines), and does not leave it feeling greasy. Perfect for those who prefer gel to cream. Ultrasun Very High Sports Gel SPF30 is water-resistant and does not wash away even when wet. This sophisticated product, developed by Swiss skincare professionals, employs patented lamellar technology to provide long-lasting protection from the sun’s harmful UVA (95 percent), UVB (SPF50), and Infrared A rays. No emulsifiers, preservatives, or silicones.
Best for children – Organii SPF 50 sun milk, 125ml.
The certified organic SPF 50 fragrance free mineral Sun Milk is suitable for babies, children, and adults and will protect even the most sensitive skin from the sun’s harsh rays. Non-nano Zinc Oxide and non-nano Titanium Dioxide sit on top of the skin, reflecting sunlight and acting as a protective barrier. Contains skin-nourishing and moisturizing organic Argan, Jojoba, Sunflower, Olive Fruit, Linseed, Rice Bran, and Karanja oils to protect the skin while keeping it soft and supple, as well as organic Calendula to keep the skin from drying out, Chamomile to work as an anti-inflammatory, Mallow Leaf to soothe, as well as Vitamin E to protect the skin from free radicals.