The 8 Best Reef-Friendly Sunscreens, According to Dermatologists

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our column team. If you make a buy using the link included, we may earn committee. It ‘s no hidden the crucial role sunscreen plays in protecting your peel from UV rays and the previous peel aging ( plus, increased risk of skin cancer ) that can strike from overexposure. Depending on the type you slather on, however, your go-to sunscreen may be protecting your peel at the expense of coral reefs—one of the most valuable ecosystems on earth.

It ‘s not just that an estimated 25 % of all marine life depends on coral reefs for survival : They ‘re besides a source of food and raw medicines, not to mention they protect coastlines from storms and erosion by shielding the shoreline from waves. “ coral reefs are dying at an alarmingly accelerated rate, and some environmentalists are concerned that sunscreen ingredients, particularly from chemical sunscreens, are contributing to coral reef bleach, ” says Susan Massick, M.D., associate degree clinical professor of dermatology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “ The current theory is these sunscreens, with ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, wash off in the body of water and settle into the coral reefs, thus affecting reef reproduction. ” once their liveliness cycles are disrupted, coral reefs are no longer able to sustain themselves and slowly start to die off, noted by loss of coloring material. While the passing of coral reefs is multifactorial and ca n’t be attributed to chemical sunscreens alone, it ‘s one aspect we can well do something about by making the switch to reef-friendly sunscreens.

How to Choose the Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens

Because the term “ reef-friendly ” is n’t regulated and there ‘s no clear definition of the term being used among manufacturers, it ‘s significant to read the label yourself to make sure the sunscreen you ‘re considering does n’t include reef-harming ingredients. ( To be extra-diligent, you can besides browse sunscreen post websites to see if they provide intel on how they specifically go about defining “ reef-friendly. ” ) What designates a sunscreen as reef-friendly are the specific ingredients. Reef-friendly sunscreens are those that do n’t contain chemical ingredients, with the biggest offenders being oxybenzone ( besides called benzophenone-3 and BP-3 ), octinoxate, mineral vegetable oil ( petrolatum ), 4-methylbenzylidene camphor ( 4-MBC ), octocrylene, para-aminobenzoic acid ( PABA ), parabens and triclosan. ( Whew ! ) Reef-friendly sunscreens, on the other hand, are mineral-based and provide the necessity broad-spectrum UVA and UVB coverage with the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. “ rather than absorb into the skin like chemical sunscreens, these minerals sit on top and act as a shield, reflecting the sun ‘s rays away from the clamber, ” says New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green, M.D. Mineral sunscreens fall under two categories : those with nanoparticles and those without, with non-nano sunscreens being the reef-friendly choice. When nano-size ( smaller ) particles are award in mineral sunscreens, they ‘re much easier to rub into the skin and do n’t leave an opaque white movie behind—but the smaller the particles, the easier they can be ingested by corals and disrupt the ecosystem. Non-nano sunscreens, with a atom size greater than 100 nanometers, are considered reef-friendly. “ The large particle size of the minerals ca n’t be ingested by the corals, ” says Green.

The Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens, According to Dermatologists

1. Kokua Sun Care SPF 50 Natural Zinc Sunscreen

This water-repellent zinc sunscreen by Kokua Sun Care provides broad-spectrum protection using the highest share ( 25 % ) of non-nano zinc oxide available as the only active agent component. It besides goes on like a humidify lotion and rub in clear and polish .kokua sunscreen kokua sunscreen Kokua Sun Care SPF 50 Natural Zinc Sunscreen $ 29.99shop it amazon

2. Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

not only is this zinc-based mineral sunscreen by Sun Bum reef-friendly, it ‘s besides hypoallergenic, gluten- and cruelty-free, so you can enjoy broad-spectrum UV protection without having to worry about hide irritation. sun bum sunscreen sun mooch sunscreen Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion $ 24.97shop it amazon

3. Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30

specially formulated for super-sensitive hide, Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen is fast-absorbing and non-whitening. The 100 % non-nano zinc convention provides 80 minutes of water- and sweat-resistant coverage. Perfect for your following beach day with the class ! babo sunscreen babo sunscreen Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30

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4. Supergoop! Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder SPF 35

ampere diligent as we are about protecting our skin from UV rays, many of us forget to protect our scalp. Enter Supergoop ! with this reef-friendly sunscreen powder that goes on much like a dry shampoo, only with the total bonus of broad-spectrum SPF 35 UV protection. ( We ‘re besides obsessed with Supergoop ‘s Unseen Sunscreen ! ) supergoop part powder supergoop part powder Supergoop ! Poof 100 % Mineral Part Powder SPF 35 $ 34.00shop it Dermstore

5. Badger Clear Zinc Suncreen Cream SPF 40

Badger ‘s clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream contains lone four ingredients : zinc oxide, sunflower oil, beeswax and vitamin E. It ‘s hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, making it suitable for all skin types. It besides rubs in clear to blend with most skin tones. badger sunscreen badger sunscreen Badger Clear Zinc Suncreen Cream SPF 40 $ 15.29 (


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6. Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Made for melanated skin, this broad-spectrum sunscreen dries clear, leaving no white remainder behind. It ‘s water-repellent for up to 80 minutes and is infused with jojoba and avocado, making it the perfective humidify lotion that ‘s a whippersnapper as it is protective. black girl sunscreen black daughter sunscreen Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 $ 15.99shop it Ulta

7. ThinkSport SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen

Besides offering broad-spectrum security using a non-nano recipe, this mineral sunscreen by ThinkSport absorbs easily with a non-greasy feel and is water-repellent for up to 80 minutes. thinksport sunscreen thinksport sunscreen ThinkSport SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen $ 21.49 (


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8. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

If you ‘ve experienced one excessively many lotion tubes popping open in your beach bag, then give this sunscreen stick by Blue Lizard a whirl. It ‘s a cinch to apply and features a 100 % non-nano formula, a well as aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower seed vegetable oil and vitamin E for lend clamber nourishment .blue lizard sunscreen blue lounge lizard sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 $ 13.99shop it amazon

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