You know the importance of wearing sunscreen daily. Not only does it shield us from burning UV rays, but signs of ageing and skin cancer too. Yet, while it’s protecting you, are you aware that some of the ingredients in your favourite formula may be harming our planet?
Increasing research is being published that shows UV filters found in chemical sunscreens are toxic to the oceans, coral reefs and marine life. And when its estimated 14,000 tonnes of sun cream washes up into the sea each year from bathing and swimming that news is worrisome.
In response, an increasing number of tourist hot spots around the world have gone on to ban some of these chemical filters. They include Hawaii, Florida’s Key West, and parts of Thailand, Mexico and the Caribbean to name a few. Closer to home, Holland and Barrett has also stopped selling chemical sunscreens.
Typically, the main banned ingredients are the “three Os”: oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene, though there are other troubling ingredients. And if you’re lucky enough to be going to any of these places, it’s worth noting that “reef-safe and “reef-friendly” terms are not regulated, so the only way to know if your bottle contains any of the banned ingredients is to check the ingredient list.
Another sure-fire way to find an eco-friendly SPF is to stick with mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide and titanium oxide UV filters instead. That being said, not all mineral formulations are created equally. If you want a truly eco-friendly formula you need to find non-nano or coated ingredients, as nanoparticles can also be toxic to the environment.
Confused? We get it. It’s complicated finding an eco-friendly SPF, but it doesn’t have to be. So, we’ve done the hard work for you. No matter how exotic your holiday destination is, you’ll find truly reef-friendly formulas that are safe to take away with you, as well as ones you’ll want to wear daily at home.
How we tested
The latest eco-friendly formulas were trailed for a minimum of five days, and marked on ease-of-use, feel and finish to the skin. All are free from oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene and are non-nano formulations making them eco-friendly, so you can enjoy your holiday with peace of mind knowing you’re not causing harm to the planet.
The best eco-friendly sunscreens for 2023 are:
- Best eco-friendly sunscreen overall –UpCircle SPF25 mineral sunscreen: £24.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best hydrating eco-friendly sunscreen – Malin + Goetz SPF30 sunscreen high protection: £33, Cultbeauty.co.uk
- Best eco-friendly sunscreen for sensitive skin – Ultrasun mineral body SPF30: £22.50, Amazon.co.uk
- Best eco-friendly sunscreen for families – Green People scent free sun cream SPF30: £29, Hollandandbarrett.com
- Best value eco-friendly sunscreen – Hawaiian Tropic mineral sun milk SPF30: £11.25, Amazon.co.uk