12 Sunscreens That Won’t Destroy The Coral Reefs

Samantha Sasso
·5 min read

Sunscreen may be the best thing to ever happen to your skin, but we can't say the same for the coral reefs. Four years ago, a study published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology concluded that sunscreens formulated with oxybenzone, a popular UV-filtering ingredient, were killing coral reefs and causing coral bleaching, especially in tourist-heavy areas like Hawaii and the Caribbean. That's really bad news for the thousands of organisms that rely on the marine ecosystem for survival.

While you're likely not reading this from a white-sand beach or poolside due to quarantining measures set in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, it's still important that you continue to protect your skin from UV rays — yes, even indoors, especially if you use ingredients like AHAs or retinol in your daily skin-care routine. And luckily, there are plenty of reef-safe, mineral sunscreens that you can feel good about letting wash down the shower drain.

Other things you can do? Read ingredient lists, become familiar with other toxic ingredients damaging marine life (like octinoxate and benzophenone-2), and encourage friends and family to make the switch if they're long-time users of chemical formulas.

We've done all the guesswork and rounded up 12 reef-safe sunscreens you'll love, ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

<h3>Salt & Stone SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion</h3><br>SPF 50 protection meets skin-care ingredients like rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid in this unscented, non-greasy sunscreen by Los Angeles-based brand Salt & Stone.<br><br><br><strong>Salt & Stone</strong> SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.verishop.com%2Fproduct%2Fp1882124976163" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Verishop" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Verishop</a>

Salt & Stone SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion


SPF 50 protection meets skin-care ingredients like rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid in this unscented, non-greasy sunscreen by Los Angeles-based brand Salt & Stone.


Salt & Stone SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion, $, available at Verishop
<h3>Tula Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30</h3><br>Tula's brand-new sunscreen feels more like your favorite gel moisturizer than a typical sun-care formula: It's totally non-comedogenic, won't leave you looking ghost-like, and is packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients like probiotics, pineapple, and papaya. <br><br><strong>Tula</strong> Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tula.com%2Fproducts%2Fdaily-sunscreen-gel-broad-spectrum-spf-30" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tula" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tula</a>

Tula Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30


Tula's brand-new sunscreen feels more like your favorite gel moisturizer than a typical sun-care formula: It's totally non-comedogenic, won't leave you looking ghost-like, and is packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients like probiotics, pineapple, and papaya.

Tula Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $, available at Tula
<h3><strong>Juice Beauty</strong> SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen</h3><br>It's officially time to replace your go-to beach sunscreen with this water-resistant SPF 30 formula that replaces chemical ingredients with organic alternatives like aloe, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and white grape juice.<br><br><strong>Juice Beauty</strong> SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fjuicebeauty.com%2Fproducts%2Fspf-30-sport-sunscreen" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Juice Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Juice Beauty</a>

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen


It's officially time to replace your go-to beach sunscreen with this water-resistant SPF 30 formula that replaces chemical ingredients with organic alternatives like aloe, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and white grape juice.

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen, $, available at Juice Beauty
<h3><strong>Beautycounter</strong> Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30</h3><br>Just because a sunscreen is good for the environment doesn't necessarily make it good for you, which is exactly why Beautycounter offers this <a href="https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/nanoparticles-in-sunscreen/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:non-nano" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">non-nano</a> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/best-zinc-oxide-sunscreen" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:zinc oxide formula" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">zinc oxide formula</a> that's both. (What exactly is a non-nano sunscreen? Most sunscreens <a href="https://www.science.org.au/curious/technology-future/nanoparticles-my-sunscreen-should-i-be-worried" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:contain nanoparticles" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">contain nanoparticles</a>, which have the ability to penetrate the skin and reach cells — a <a href="https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/nanoparticles-in-sunscreen/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:non-nano formula" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>non</em>-nano formula</a> does not. Although the current consensus is that nanoparticles are safe, some mineral sunscreen users prefer to go without, just in case.)<br><br><strong>Beautycounter</strong> Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.beautycounter.com%2Fproduct%2Fcountersun-mineral-sunscreen-lotion-spf-30" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Beautycounter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Beautycounter</a>

Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30


Just because a sunscreen is good for the environment doesn't necessarily make it good for you, which is exactly why Beautycounter offers this non-nano zinc oxide formula that's both. (What exactly is a non-nano sunscreen? Most sunscreens contain nanoparticles, which have the ability to penetrate the skin and reach cells — a non-nano formula does not. Although the current consensus is that nanoparticles are safe, some mineral sunscreen users prefer to go without, just in case.)

Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $, available at Beautycounter
<h3><strong>Supergoop!</strong> PLAY 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum Lotion</h3><br>Yes, Supergoop makes mineral sunscreen — and, yes, it's also non-nano. Consider it an added bonus that this formula uses nourishing ingredients like green microalgae and pomegranate oil to hydrate and protect the skin from environmental stressors.<br><br><strong>Supergoop!</strong> PLAY 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum Lotion SPF 50, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fplay-100-mineral-broad-spectrum-lotion-spf-50-P448189" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sephora" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sephora</a>

Supergoop! PLAY 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum Lotion


Yes, Supergoop makes mineral sunscreen — and, yes, it's also non-nano. Consider it an added bonus that this formula uses nourishing ingredients like green microalgae and pomegranate oil to hydrate and protect the skin from environmental stressors.

Supergoop! PLAY 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum Lotion SPF 50, $, available at Sephora
<h3><strong>Ava Isa</strong> Pure Untinted Ultra Matte Sunscreen</h3><br>Found: the perfect sunscreen to wear underneath makeup. It's reef-safe, lightweight, offers a matte finish, and goes on dry-touch — so you don't have to worry about that greasy residue most face sunscreens are notorious for.<br><br><strong>Ava Isa</strong> Pure Untinted Ultra Matte SPF 45 Sunscreen, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fcredobeauty.com%2Fproducts%2Fpure-untinted-ultra-matte-spf-45-sunscreen" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Credo" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Credo</a>

Ava Isa Pure Untinted Ultra Matte Sunscreen


Found: the perfect sunscreen to wear underneath makeup. It's reef-safe, lightweight, offers a matte finish, and goes on dry-touch — so you don't have to worry about that greasy residue most face sunscreens are notorious for.

Ava Isa Pure Untinted Ultra Matte SPF 45 Sunscreen, $, available at Credo
<h3><strong>EiR</strong> Surf Mud Pro SPF 50</h3><br>You know you can trust a sunscreen to be effective and environmentally conscious if it's made by a surfer. To sweeten the deal, it's formulated with only seven ingredients <em>and</em> housed inside <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/01/187311/beauty-brands-sustainable-packaging" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sustainable packaging" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sustainable packaging</a>.<br><br><strong>Eir NYC</strong> Surf Mud Pro, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedetoxmarket.com%2Fproducts%2Fsurf-mud-pro" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Detox Market" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Detox Market</a>

EiR Surf Mud Pro SPF 50


You know you can trust a sunscreen to be effective and environmentally conscious if it's made by a surfer. To sweeten the deal, it's formulated with only seven ingredients and housed inside sustainable packaging.

Eir NYC Surf Mud Pro, $, available at The Detox Market
<h3><strong>MyChelle</strong> Sun Shield Liquid Non-Tinted</h3><br>Does your skin tend to freak out every time you use sunscreen? Try this oil- and fragrance-free formula that absorbs into skin instantly without leaving behind an awkward white cast.<br><br><strong>MyChelle</strong> Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50 (Non-Tinted), $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mychelle.com%2Fproducts%2Fsun-shield-liquid-spf-50-non-tinted" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:MyChelle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">MyChelle</a>

MyChelle Sun Shield Liquid Non-Tinted


Does your skin tend to freak out every time you use sunscreen? Try this oil- and fragrance-free formula that absorbs into skin instantly without leaving behind an awkward white cast.

MyChelle Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50 (Non-Tinted), $, available at MyChelle
<h3><strong>Crunchi</strong> Sunlight Facial Sunscreen</h3><br>Looking for a next-level glow <em>and</em> sun protection? Try this non-nano, cruelty-free sunscreen that looks good on everyone.<br><br><strong>Crunchi</strong> Sunlight Facial Sunscreen, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.crunchi.com%2Fget-crunchi%2Fsunlight-facial-cream" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Crunchi" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Crunchi</a>

Crunchi Sunlight Facial Sunscreen


Looking for a next-level glow and sun protection? Try this non-nano, cruelty-free sunscreen that looks good on everyone.

Crunchi Sunlight Facial Sunscreen, $, available at Crunchi
<h3><strong>Art of Sport</strong> Skin Armor Sunscreen </h3><br>When you're constantly on the move, you don't have time to fuss over sunscreen texture and efficacy. You just need something that <em>works</em> — which is probably why so many pro athletes are fans of this fast-absorbing sunscreen.<br><br><strong>Art of Sport</strong> Skin Armor Sunscreen SPF 50, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fartofsport.com%2Fproducts%2Fsport-sunscreen-spf50" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Art of Sport" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Art of Sport</a>

Art of Sport Skin Armor Sunscreen


When you're constantly on the move, you don't have time to fuss over sunscreen texture and efficacy. You just need something that works — which is probably why so many pro athletes are fans of this fast-absorbing sunscreen.

Art of Sport Skin Armor Sunscreen SPF 50, $, available at Art of Sport
<h3><strong>C'est Moi</strong> Gentle Mineral Sunscreen Lotion</h3><br>An affordable sunscreen that doesn't destroy the planet? We're sold.<br><br><strong>C'est Moi</strong> Gentle Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.target.com%2Fp%2Fc-est-moi-gentle-mineral-sunscreen-lotion-spf-30-2-fl-oz%2F-%2FA-53070671" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Target" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Target</a>

C'est Moi Gentle Mineral Sunscreen Lotion


An affordable sunscreen that doesn't destroy the planet? We're sold.

C'est Moi Gentle Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $, available at Target
<h3><strong>Love Sun Body</strong> 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreen</h3><br>Few sunscreen brands go as above and beyond as Love Sun Body. Not only is this formula good for you and the coral reefs, but also EcoCert-certified to the Cosmos standard. In other words, it's undergone rigorous testing and evaluations, and is free of all the nasty stuff you <em>don't</em> need on your skin.<br><br><strong>Love Sun Body</strong> 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Fragrance-, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_100%2BNatural%2BOrigin%2BMineral%2BSunscreen%2BSPF%2B30%2BFragranceFree_75782.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a>

Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreen


Few sunscreen brands go as above and beyond as Love Sun Body. Not only is this formula good for you and the coral reefs, but also EcoCert-certified to the Cosmos standard. In other words, it's undergone rigorous testing and evaluations, and is free of all the nasty stuff you don't need on your skin.

Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Fragrance-, $, available at DermStore

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