Great Organic & Reef-Safe Sunscreens to Keep Your Skin & Water Protected in 2020

Why you should care?

Because the sunscreen we use need to do more than just protect against the sun, but also keep us safe from chemicals and ingredients harmful to coral reefs.

Hey Social Good logo

by Lauren Kim Peterson Contributor & Hey Social Good

Last summer, which seemed like eons ago, our high school intern, Lauren, shared with us her organic and reef-safe sunscreens that she slathers on when heading to the beach. This summer, we are all ready to jump into the sun however we can after an extended shelter at home period. Safe and healthy sunscreen is so important to keep on hand when we are enjoying the outdoors, which is why we decided to add to Lauren’s list of awesome, organic, reef-and-skin safe sun protection brands.

Why Ingredients in Sunscreen Matter?

Most common sunscreens include chemical based ingredients (e.g., chemical filters), such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. The problem with chemical based sunscreen is its high potential to be absorbed across the skin and into the body. ”In 2019 and 2020, FDA published two studies showing that the ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone are all systemically absorbed into the body after a single use.” What’s worrisome about this is that these sunscreen chemicals are circulating in the blood and to date, some studies have shown that extended exposure to these chemicals can cause skin allergies, potential to affect our hormone levels, and have been found in human breast milk and urine samples. All of this to say that we should stick to mineral (and physical) based sunscreen, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which don’t absorb into our body.

And as Lauren pointed out, some of the common ingredients in sunscreen have also been shown to contribute to bleaching of coral reefs around the world. When you swim with sunscreen that contains these types of chemicals, they can get into the water and harm the corals. Their destruction is detrimental to the whole planet, and although it may not seem like a big deal, watching the ingredients in your sunscreen is a step in the right direction. 

Many Ways to Avoid Sun Exposure

Although it’s usually necessary to wear sunscreen when spending time in the sun, there are other ways to avoid the dangers of sun exposure. During the summer, we tend to spend a lot of time at the beach and in the sun. Although our main form of sun protection is sunscreen, there are also other things like limiting time in direct sunlight, wearing a hat or an umbrella, or putting on UV protective clothing. 

Even with these other methods of sun protection, as Lauren wisely pointed out last year, it’s always good to “double up with sunscreen”. When shopping for sunscreen, here are some tips to simplify your experience: 

Shopping For Safer Organic & Reef-Safe Sunscreen

  1. Avoid oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, benzylparaben, triclosan, and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor.
  2. Watch out for Reef safe labels on sunscreen, because some are not regulated and you should dig a little deeper.
  3. Find a water resistant, organic, and biodegradable sunscreen.
  4. The safest active ingredient is zinc oxide, but make sure that it does not contain nanoparticles so it won’t dissolve in the water.

Our 2020 Awesome Sun Protection Brands for People & Planet: 

All Good Silver Social Good Medal, Gold Giveback Medal, & Bronze Sustainability Medal
Sunscreen safe for our coral reefs and our body. One of the first companies that tells you how chemical based sunscreens aren’t safe for us. A company that exemplifies how business can be a force for good for people and the planet.

Avasol Gold Giveback Medal & Sustainability Rising Star

Going beyond organic suncare to protect our skin, respect our planet, and educate us on the confusing sunscreen chemicals — not just another white cream in a plastic bottle. Check our their cool sun products that give back to 1% for the planet.

Bu SunscreenSilver Social Good Medal, Bronze Sustainability Medal, & Silver Giveback Medal
We love this social good brand for their awesome UV protective clothing, vegan cruelty free sunscreen mist, and their sustainable carbon neutral and solar powered manufacturing practices.

Goddess Garden Organic Silver Giveback Medal
When this Boulder, CO based family couldn’t find a sunscreen for their daughters sensitive skin, they made her own! We ADORE their chemical free, mineral based approach to sun protection that won’t harm you or our marine environments! Support this awesome, family business for all of your summer UV protection needs.

Alba Botanicals Gold Giveback Medal
All for girls all the time. They promote reef safe and no microbeads skincare products that actively support girl empowerment and enable women more chances to make positive changes.

Bare RepublicAlthough this brand is “Currently Being Assessed”, we already love what they are about and just had to share.

A reef safe certified brand with the simplest, cleanest physical sunscreen ingredients — just the bare ingredients (no pun intended). Goes on super smooth and keeps our oceans, fish and reef safe.

Lauren’s Fave Reef Safe Brands from 2019

Badger – Platinum Social Good, Platinum Giveback Medal, Gold Sustainability Medal
Whether you like your sunscreen tinted, sporty, better for babies, zinc filled or with bug repellent, they have it all, and that’s not even the best part! Their ingredients are USDA Certified Organic and 100% natural and they give back to dozens of organizations for children including the Keene Community Kitchen, Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, Cedarcrest Center for Children with Disabilities, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Save One Child and more.

Babo Gold Giveback Medal
With a commitment to ongoing sustainability and natural ingredients, Babo believes the best quality skin products start on a farm. Their awesome products give back to urban farming organizations and educate children on gardening and nutrition. 

The eco-minded Lauren Kim Peterson interned with us in Summer 2019. She participated in our High School Expanding Horizons Intern Program.

Keywords: sunscreen; clean sunscreen; clean beauty; sustainable sunscreen; bleaching coral reefs; water pollution; ocean conservation; clean water; clean oceans; coral reef; oxybenzone; octinoxate; para-aminobenzoic acid; methylparaben; reef safe sunscreen; biodegradable sunscreen; zinc oxide; Badger; ThinkSport; Suntegrity; Raw Elements; Manda; Babo; organic and reef-safe sunscreen

Hey Social Good logo

We love it! Thanks for submitting your Company Story Page Form.

We will be reviewing the information submitted to process and verify everything is right. If all looks good, your company page should be updated or created within 5-7 business days

If a Social Good Optimization Data Assessment (SoGood) still needs to be completed to determine your Company’s social good ranking, please expect an email from us to give you an estimate of the time it will take to complete your FREE SoGood Assessment