#1Thing: Sustainable and Organic Sunscreens That We Love

Photo credit (Kira-Yan/Getty Images)
By Lori Melton

Enjoying time outdoors is one of the best parts of summer. Whether you spend the day splashing in the waves at the beach, going on a hike, or grilling out with your family and friends, there’s nothing better than a warm, sunny day.

One of the biggest benefits of absorbing natural sunlight is its ability to boost the amount of vitamin D in our bodies. However, overexposure to the sun can cause painful sunburn, lead to skin cancer, and other forms of skin damage.

According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the best ways to reduce the risk of getting skin cancer is to limit your exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Therefore, applying a generous amount of water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30+ is the best way to protect your skin from harm. Unfortunately, not all sunscreens are created equal.

Sadly, multiple chemicals in sunscreens can kill many kinds of marine life, including the coral reef, mussels, fish, and dolphins. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the U.S. Department of Commerce lists the following sunscreen chemicals to avoid: Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-8, OD-PABA, 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor, 3-Benzylidene camphor, nano-Titanium dioxide, and nano-Zinc oxide.

When choosing a sunscreen to purchase, it’s important to look for chemical-free, sustainable, organic products that protect your skin and won’t harm aquatic creatures. Some great eco-friendly sunscreen brands are listed below.

Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen

The only active ingredient for this 30+ SPF rated sunscreen is Non-Nano Zinc Oxide (23 percent). Other inactive ingredients include sunflower oil, cocoa butter, green tea, black tea, rosemary oil and more. The sunscreen provides UVA and UVB protection, is water-resistant up to 80 minutes and it is cruelty-free, reef safe, biodegradable, doesn’t run or sting eyes – which makes it great for kids.

All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion Water Resistant SPF 30

All Good Sunscreen comes in lotion and Butter Stick varieties for adults and kids. Its Non-Nano Zinc Oxide composition is 12 percent. Plus, the line even offers a 50+ Sunscreen Butter full-body variety, as well as sensitive areas such as your face, nose, and ears. It is also designated as coral reef safe, cruelty-free, offers 80 minutes of water resistance and UVA/UVB protection.

KOKUA SUN CARE SPF 50 Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen

This lotion goes on clear and isn’t greasy. Plus, it’s rated as baby safe, as well as marine and “Palau Reef Safe,” which notably sets the “world’s strictest national standard.” It also boasts the highest percentage of Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, at 25 percent. 

The formula contains 23 antioxidants, and seven Hawaiian-grown ingredients such as KonaRed Hawaiian Coffee Fruit Extract, Hawaiian Spirulina, Macadamia Nut Oil, and more. It also earned a No. 1 Environmental Working Group (EWG) rating.

Life Basics SPF 30 All Natural Sunscreen

Made in Australia, this sunscreen brand offers a vegan option. The facial formula is gentle and non-greasy. Plus, the lotion is produced without Nut Oil and it’s packed with natural ingredients such as Calendula Extract, Reship oil, Green Tea, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, and more. There is also a full-body sunscreen and both feature Zinc Oxide as the active ingredient.

Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Sunscreen

Alba Botanica is the least expensive in the lineup. A 4-ounce, 30 SPF tube goes for $6.49 on Target.com. The lotion is cruelty-free, biodegradable, not tested on animals, and recyclable. 

Additionally, the lotion does not contain any dye and is also fragrance-free. The company also offers a pure lavender soothing sunscreen cream that’s 45 SPF for $8.99. It contains three active ingredients: Avobenzone (3.0 percent) Homosalate (10.0 percent) Octyl Salicylate (5.0 percent) and Octocrylene (10.0 percent).