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10 Of The Best Sunscreens That Are Safe For The Ocean

Reef-safe sunscreens that don't contain oxybenzone and octinoxate.
These reef- and ocean-safe sunscreens are effective without harming the environment.
These reef- and ocean-safe sunscreens are effective without harming the environment.

We all know that it’s important to wear sunscreen, so much so that we’ve incorporated SPF into our daily skin care routine and we just figured out how to reapply sunscreen without messing up our makeup. And yet, despite all of the good sunscreen does in protecting our skin, it’s also causing a lot of damage to the world around us.

Recently, researchers have voiced concerns about the harmful effects of chemical sunscreens on human health and the environment. Specifically, two of the most popular ingredients in chemical sunscreens — oxybenzone and octinoxate — have been shown to cause significant damage to coral reefs. A recent study revealed that about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in reefs worldwide, which can lead to bleaching, damaged DNA and abnormal skeleton growth in coral. The concern is so serious that some places ― including the state of Hawaii ― are now banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens with those chemicals.

It’s a big problem: We want to protect the oceans, but we also want to protect our skin. Wearing SPF every day is the best way to defend ourselves against those bad UVA and UVB rays. While no single sunscreen will fix all of our problems, the best option at the moment for eco-conscious beachgoers is to swap out those chemical sunscreens for what are known as physical sunscreens — i.e. ones with mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that reflect the sun off your skin, without threatening the environment.

Unfortunately, finding sunscreens without oxybenzone and octinoxate that are still effective at dulling the sun’s harmful rays is way more complicated than it should be. Even the product review experts at Consumer Reports say they haven’t found a mineral formula in their six years of testing that provides substantial UVA and UVB protection and meets the sunscreen’s labeled SPF.

The environmental research and advocacy experts at the Environmental Working Group have compiled a list of the best beach and sport sunscreens that meet their standards for UVA and UVB efficacy and quality ingredients, but even combing their list can be a bit confusing.

That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 options that don’t have oxybenzone and octinoxate, so you can stock up before your next vacation or beach day. And, if you want more of our editor-sourced products and reviews, sign up for HuffPost’s sales and deals newsletter,

Take a look below at the best reef-safe sunscreen:

FYI, HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

1
Badger SPF 30 Active Mineral Sunscreen Cream for Face and Body
Amazon
Find it for $14 on Amazon.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 18.75%
2
All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion
Amazon
Find it for $13 on Amazon.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 12%
3
Thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+
Amazon
Find it for $22 on Amazon.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 20%
4
Alba Botanica Sensitive Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Target
Find it for $7 at Target.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, 2%, and Zinc Oxide, 14.5%
5
Aveeno Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50
Target
Find it for $10 at Target.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 21.6%
6
Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion
Amazon
Find it for $12 on Amazon.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 18.4%
7
Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen
Amazon
Find it for $17 on Amazon.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 23%
8
Loving Naturals Clear Body Non Nano 100% Natural Zinc Sunscreen
Amazon
Find it for $20 on Amazon.


Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 24.7%
9
Bare Republic Mineral Body Lotion - SPF50
Target
Find it for $11 at Target.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, 5.6%, and Zinc Oxide, 3.7%
10
Juice Beauty Sport Sunscreen SPF 30
Amazon
Find it for $13 on Amazon.

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide, 20%