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By Hannah Muehlberger

As the pandemic winds down, this summer is bound to include more trips to the beach and sunscreen. However, some things that put a damper in protecting your skin from the sun are nasty side effects of certain sunscreen, such as rashes, acne, and oily skin. Not to mention the things in sunscreen that are bad for ocean life and the environment. Chemicals such as butylparaben, oxybenzone, and octinoxate are found in over 3500 sunscreen products that disrupt coral reproduction and cause coral bleaching.

Here are our top ten choices for reef safe, and skin-friendly sunscreen:


This delicious smelling sunscreen is made with Vitamin E oil and coconut oil to keep your skin hydrated for your day and doesn’t have such a sticky feel. Sunbum sells a variety of different types of sun care products, such as mineral sunscreen, baby sunscreen, and after-sun care. All of their products are cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-free, and reef-safe! What’s good about Sunbum is that it is easily accessible and won’t break your bank.

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Raw Elements

This all-natural and sustainable sunscreen is cruelty-free, non-GMO, reef-safe, soy, gluten, and nut-free. The sunscreen is also very water-resistant and lasts for up to 80 minutes of sun exposure before needing to reapply. The sunscreen uses all-natural ingredients like sunflower oil, green tea, black tea, coffee bean, hemp seed oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, beeswax, rosemary oil, and vitamin E. This sunscreen will do the job of protecting your skin and protecting the environment.

Life Basics

LifeBasics is an offset of the Australian-based company Nourished Life. This sunscreen is formulated with Calendula Extract for its anti-inflammatory properties, Green Tea for its antioxidants, and Rosehip Oil to help nourish your skin. It is very lightweight and non-greasy so it won’t make your skin all oily, the formula is safe for children and adults of all ages. With its toxic-free, vegan, and reef-friendly is the perfect addition to your beach bag or picnic basket.


Ao Organics Hawaii

This Hawaiian sunscreen comes in a variety of types, including liquid, cream, and stick. Made with all-natural ingredients, this sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from the sun and protect the environment. The ingredients include all-natural oils, non-nano zinc oxide, and Hawaiian beeswax. This sunscreen goes on silky smooth and feels more like a luxurious lotion rather than the usual sticky sunscreen. Not only will this sunscreen keep your skin safe, but your vacation spot safe.



Not only does this sunscreen protect your skin from UV rays from the sun, but it protects your skin from blue light and damaging pollution. More of a skincare product rather than a sun care product, this sunscreen feels more like face lotion than anything. Being both reef-safe and made for any skin type, it is formulated without any parabens, sulfates, phthalates, fragrance, or silicones. Instead, this sunscreen packs a punch with its all-natural ingredients like probiotics, pineapple, and papaya extract, and wild butterfly ginger root.

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Pipette’s sunscreen is made with plant-derived ingredients and is safe for babies as well as adults! While being cruelty-free, vegan, and fragrance-free, it’s made for even the most sensitive skin and safe for the reefs as well. This sunscreen is soft, fast-absorbing, mineral-based, and both pediatrician and dermatologist recommended.

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Alba Botanica

Alba Botanica has a variety of different types of sunscreens, catering to every sun-protecting moment. This includes sport, soothing, sensitive skin, kids, sheer, baby, and Hawaiian. All of their sunscreens are cruelty-free, biodegradable, plant-based, and reef-friendly (among a plethora of good things!) If you choose to get one of their sunscreens that are scented, they are scented with natural fragrances, like their Soothing Sunscreen infused with lavender extract and oil. However, they do have a fragrance-free option as well.


This sunscreen, similar to other ones on this list, not only protects against the sun’s rays but also protects against blue light and other pollutants. A daily SPF sunscreen lotion uses ingredients like microalgae and blue phytoplankton to protect your skin with a smooth and sheer application. Also, the ingredient rice starch helps prevent the oily finish that is a common effect of ordinary sunscreen. Made for any age and any skin type, this sunscreen will give you protection without any breakouts.

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Being both water-resistant and non-nano zinc oxide, this sunscreen won’t leave you looking like a ghost with a white residue. Using natural ingredients and having antioxidant-rich ingredients as well, this sunscreen is safe for any skin type. A plus is also their packaging being recycled plant-based tubes that are derived from sugar cane. Reef-safe, fragrance-free, and safe for sensitive skin, this sunscreen is a perfect solution to avoiding an oily, white sunscreen cast for the beach.

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This Australian-based sunscreen donates its profits to help fund reef conservation, also this brand uses solar power, sustainable practices & encased in plant-based packagings. This sunscreen is made for even the most sensitive skin and comes in different varieties such as sport and vegan. Safe for all ages and all skin types, this sunscreen is another one that will keep both your skin and the earth safe.

Bottom Line
Whether you buy any of the sunscreens listed above or not, this main takeaways is that if you wanna use a sunscreen that will keep your skin and the earth safe, look for sunscreens that are reef-safe, and make sure their ingredients don’t list things like butylparaben, oxybenzone, and octinoxate that can hurt the coral reefs. To keep your skin safe, make sure the SPF is 30 or above for optimal results. If you have sensitive skin make sure those sunscreens are fragrance-free, vegan, and free from any of those hard chemicals.