These sunscreens are free from oxybenzone, a chemical that may be toxic to coral reefs. Shutterstock
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Summer is almost here, which means we all need to be stocking up on sunscreen to help protect that precious, largest organ in our bodies: the skin.
Unfortunately, though, not all sunscreens are created equal. One common chemical, oxybenzone, may be toxic to coral reefs while protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, suggests a study published in February 2016 in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. There’s a good chance you’ve used a sunblock with the ingredient before — it’s used in 3,500 sunscreen brands!
In the 2016 study, researchers found the highest concentration of oxybenzone in reefs around popular tourist areas, particularly in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Hawaii is in the process of banning these sunscreens altogether, according to U.S. News & World Report.
But even if your community hasn’t taken action, you can help protect the environment by making smarter sunscreen choices next time you’re seeking a new sunblock. Lucky for you, we’ve done all the digging and have rounded up our absolute favorite skin- and planet-safe sunscreens.
Soleil Toujours Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist
This sunscreen mist not only helps protect your skin from solar damage, but is also said to increase skin smoothness and brightness. It’s made with green tea leaf extract, which may help reduce the risk of sunburn. Bonus: It’s water resistant for 80 minutes and coral-reef-safe (perfect for that summer trip to Jamaica you’re planning).
Soleil Toujours Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist, $34, SoleilToujours.com
Beauty By Earth Body Sunscreen
Beauty By Earth sunblock is safe for reefs, and is free of all the toxic chemicals that may have harmful effects on your skin. Also, the packaging is totally chic.
Beauty By Earth Body Sunscreen, $11.99, Amazon.com
Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen
Suntegrity’s sunscreen was top ranking in low-risk sunblock, according to the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. It’s also vegan, cruelty- and chemical-free, and has a nongreasy composition. The sunscreen is made of 20 percent uncoated zinc oxide for ultimate sun protection.
Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen, $24, Amazon.com
Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream
Badger’s sunscreen is a crowd favorite among the environmentally conscious. And with just five wholesome ingredients in this sport sunscreen, you can understand why! Badger’s sweatproof sport sunscreen also has extra-high water-resistance that makes it great for hardworking, hard-playing, active badgers.
Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream, $10.29, ThriveMarket.com
The Honest Company Honest Mineral Sunscreen
On The Honest Company’s about-us page, founder Jessica Alba says it best: “You shouldn’t have to choose between what works and what’s good for you.” Honest Mineral sunscreen is no exception. Ideal for the whole family, this lightweight, nongreasy sunscreen can come in handy on every pool or beach day this summer. It’s also dermatologically and pediactrically tested!
The Honest Company Honest Mineral Sunscreen, $13.95, Honest.com
DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer
DeVita’s Solar moisturizer with 30+ SPF is 100 percent natural, vegan, and paraben free, and is both a sunscreen and a moisturizer rolled into one.
DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer, $20.79, ThriveMarket.com
Raw Elements Face + Body Tube
Packed with biologically active antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and extracts, this sunscreen will leave your skin happy and healthy. It’s also performance-driven, so it’s great for sporting, swimming, and sunning.
Raw Elements Face + Body Tube, $18.99, RawElements.com
Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Spray Sunscreen
Babo Botanicals’s motto is “Family comes first, naturally.” So, naturally, all their products strive to be kid friendly as well as environmentally friendly. All products are made on an organic farm in the USA, and the founder was a Peace Corps volunteer before working for over 10 years in product development for well-known beauty companies including L’Oréal.
Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Spray Sunscreen, $13.29, ThriveMarket.com
Coola Eco-Lux Organic Sunscreen Spray
Made with algae extract, red raspberry seed oil, and aloe vera extract, this luxury organic sunscreen is definitely worth the extra money. The easy misting spray facilitates full-body coverage, and the sunscreen is packed with antioxidants and skin-nourishing ingredients. Also, it smells fantastic.
Coola Eco-Lux Organic Sunscreen Spray, $36, Amazon.com
Kiss My Face Sensitive Sunscreen
Though relatively new in the organics market, Kiss My Face has become one of the leaders in the natural-beauty sphere. Their sunscreen is great not only for helping protect skin from solar damage but also for preventing signs of aging.
Kiss My Face Sensitive Sunscreen, $17.99, Amazon.com
True Natural Ultra Protect Antioxidant Sunscreen
From the award-winning skin-care company True Natural, the Ultra Protect sunscreen is great for those who have sensitive skin or are prone to skin allergies.
True Natural Ultra Protect Antioxidant Sunscreen, $19.99, TrueNatural.com
MyChelle Sun Shield Coconut Sunscreen
“Smell like the beach without looking like you’ve spent too much time there” is a great motto for any sunscreen product. This one is amazing because it uses natural zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect skin from the sun, adding in aloe vera and vitamin E to soften the skin and reduce wrinkles.
MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28 Coconut Sunscreen, $16, ThriveMarket.com
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea Sunscreen
With a natural scent and plant-based ingredients, this sunscreen is an easy choice, as it is also touted as effective and barely noticeable.
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea Sunscreen SPF 45, $6.99, ThriveMarket.com