Hormone disruptors, toxins, carcinogens, preservatives in many popular sunscreens can negatively impact people, corals, aquatic and marine life. In 2018, Hawai’i passed a ban on sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate – two of the more dangerous ingredients – which goes into effect in 2021. Still stores continue to sell them. Many brands that removed these two chemicals from some of their formulations now label them as “reef safe” as if simply not containing oxybenzone and octinoxate automatically equate to a product being safe. There are no regulations on the term “reef safe”, “coral safe” or “safe” in general. In fact there are many questionable active and inactive ingredients commonly used. Some we try to avoid include: oxybenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate, octocrylene, avobenzone, dimethicone, parabens, BHT, nanoparticles, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrances, retinyl palmitate, cocamide dea, phenoxyethanol. Always check the bottle.
We look for sunscreens that are safer for people and the environment. When choosing a sunscreen we like broad spectrum protection from minerals such as non-nano zinc oxide (or titanium dioxide) in a natural base. See our PDF for a few to try. Feel free to print and share with your local shop buyer or at your next sunscreen trade-in.
SAFE SUNSCREEN GUIDE – WINTER 2019 PDF
Aloha, and thank you for sharing all these awesome reef safe sunscreen. Just wanted to introduce you to one more, my personal favorite – Poofy Organics. I´m attaching a link. Let me know what you think!
Thank you for your dedication and diligence! I’m currently using Neutrogena oil free moisturizer. Every ingredient in it is on your banned list!
Aloha Bernadette, Thank you!
Oh no (re: Nutrogena!!!). We’re going to have a new Safe Sunscreen Box coming out soon – they’re a really fun way to try out safer mineral brands (and this next one features brands that utilize CACAO (from cocoa butter to cocoa powder, so should be YUM!) 🙂 We’ll also have our big Summer Box in May.
Check our sister site sunscreensafe.com in the SHOP area you can see our last box to get an idea. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook you’ll see when it’s available. Or sign up to our mailing list so you get a notice.
Our goal is bringing awareness and helping people transition to sunscreens safer for people and the environment. There’s lots of great options these days.
Would you believe I am allergic to zinc oxide, get a nasty blistering rash, all the other nasty ingredients have never given noticeable reactions! Bummer, eh?
Hi Polly. Sorry to hear! That’s why we also include sunscreens with titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. Often though, we discover many who thought they were allergic to zinc were actually allergic to a coating added to zinc. Coatings can include dimethicone, silica or aluminum – and it’s usually the aluminum. Also some zinc comes from China and can be contaminated with heavy metals. It’s good to check with companies regarding where they get their zinc, if it’s nano particle (request the results of testing on the particle size) and if it’s coated and with what. If you’ve already gotten an allergy skin test and are certain it’s the zinc oxide we’d suggest trying titanium (and again check on the coatings and do a skin patch test first). Good luck!
Please check out my research in my books that show that zinc or titanium oxides are not the answer, as they kill the phytoplankton, the bottom of the food chain. They also damage our children’s brain development. Would love to talk with you: 949-551-3397 in Pacific time zone.
Is there a list of spray sunblocks that are safe? I found mineral based one that meets these requirements but not a spray or maybe I’m missing it? I can’t find a list on here? It’s hard to reapply the mineral sunblock to kids covered in sand. I alway start off applying that but need a spray for reapplying. Thank you
Thanks for reaching out and trying to switch to safer sunscreens!
Actually the FDA recommends to never spray kids with aerosol sunscreens. You don’t get adequate coverage, since the spray gets airborne and often a good portion doesn’t hit the skin, or does so unevenly. Also kids will always inhale some and it will get in their lungs doing untold damage. They recommend spraying into the hand, then rubbing into the skin. Which, yes, voids the purpose of using an aerosol in the first place.
We also recommend never spraying aerosols outside, as the atomized ingredients travel quite a distance in a breeze, and anyone within a hundred+ feet can be inhaling them as well. Those that live in popular (tourist) areas (as well those that work beach concessions, lifeguards, pool-side employees, etc.) are breathing these aerosol ingredients every day. It’s actually quite scary to think how this will be effecting their health in the long run. The ingredients also coat the sand, land, and end up effecting eco-systems. (For example, they’ve found oxybenzone in turtle eggs – a hormone disruptor that’s known to turn certain male fish female).
SO all that said, if we had to recommend any “safer” mineral aerosol sunscreen it would be All Good Brand. They use a zinc oxide as their active UV filter. (Avoid titanium in aerosols – even though it is considered a “safer” “mineral” option, you never want to inhale titanium). All Good is sold in some Costco’s, so you may want to check local (the costco pack has lotion and aerosol).
Or reach out to them direct (tell them we sent ya!) and ask where they are sold near you.
Also, we have our new Safe Sunscreen Summer Box coming out end of the week at sunscreensafe.com. A really fun way to sample a number of safe mineral sunscreen brands at once (including a full size All Good tinted lotion in this box!). We can send you a promo code when they go out if like, sign up on Instagram at @safesunscreencoalition link in bio. They’re always an amazing deal.
Hope that helps! And thanks for posing the question – we’ll address better on the next guide.
I make surfing equipment, and am always in the sun, I have been fighting (successfully) melanoma skin cancer, instead of putting sunscreen all over my skin, (I use safe ones on my face only)
I have a full body swimsuits. I thought I would hate it but it’s so comfortable, even while swimming, it’s amazing, also helps prevent Jellyfish stings as a bonus.
I use an environmentally thoughtful company called
They are use by lots of marine biologists, and surfers alike.