Sustainable sunscreen is a means to protect your skin and the environment at the same time. Any skincare article worth its salt will always mention the importance of SPF to protect against damaging UVA and UVB rays. Yes, even on a cloudy day, even in winter and even if you’re mostly indoors or driving. The importance of sunscreen cannot be overstated, regardless of skin colour or propensity to burning. Luckily, there is an impressive variety of sunscreen to choose from.
There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. In short, chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays, and physical sunscreens reflect them. Both are effective, provided you apply them correctly. However, common chemicals typically found in some chemical sunscreens, called oxybenzone and octinoxate, are considererd by some scientists to be environmentally damaging and are thus not sustainable sunscreen. This issue is significant enough that a bill banning sunscreens containing those chemicals recently passed the Hawaiian State Senate. The chemicals cause the bleaching and degradation of coral reefs.
Some studies have even suggested that oxybenzone can cause developmental damage in human foetuses. Before you panic, it’s very important to note that this is by no means a wide scientific consensus, and oxybenzone is considered completely safe for human use by the FDA.
However, if you’re considering switching your skincare routine to make it more environmentally-friendly, then it might be worth changing to a sustainable sunscreen. Here are some of the best options that have been formulated without oxybenzone or octinoxate.
Sustainable Sunscreen: The best of the bunch
Biosolis SPF 30 Face Cream (£12 for 50ml)
This organic option has a little bit of a white cast, but it’s fine once you rub it in properly, and give it a moment to sink in. Biosolis do some of the best options on the market, for both kids and adults. They also use recyclable bottles and vegetable dye for their packaging, so being green is clearly one of their main priorities!
Jāsön Family Natural Sun Cream SPF 45 (£12.99 for 110g)
The entire brand do fantastic eco-friendly products, and their sun cream is no exception. Designed to be used by all the family, this provides high protection, and claims to be non-greasy and water-resistant, making it perfect for those swimming holidays. They do have a specific face sun cream, but it only has an SPF of 20. Again, there’s debate on how much high SPF has to be to make a sunscreen effective, but to be on the safe side, maybe stick to the higher numbers.
Green People Facial Sun Scream Scent Free SPF 30 (£18 for 50ml)
This one is scent free, which is fantastic for those of you with sensitive skin, including eczema and psoriasis. It also contains green tea, and avocado extracts, supposedly to protect the skin’s collagen, and elastin.
bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen (£25 for 4g)
While it is one of the pricier items considering the amount of product you get, if you worry about slapping normal sun creams over makeup then this is the product for you. This powder sunscreen comes in a brush. which you can handily apply over make up to refresh your protection. It doesn’t clog pores, and is perfect for using on-the-go.
Badger Unscented Zinc Oxide SPF 30 (£16.99 for 87ml)
If you’re sensitive to fragrences then this is the one to go for. With biodegradable product, fully-recyclable packaging, and it being reef-safe, this product ticks all the boxes. Although, the natural oils in here can separate so make sure you shake it up before applying!