What do you think biodegradable sunscreen is?

Most people’s conception of biodegradable sunscreen is; its regular sunscreen but in a biodegradable container.

But that’s not the case:

Sunscreen selectionWhat it actually means is that it contains no harmful chemicals. It’s estimated that between 4,000-6,000 tons of sunscreen is washed off swimmers into the ocean.

Regular sunscreen is damaging or ocean due to all the chemicals involved, which is why countries, towns, and areas of beauty are banning regular sunscreen.

So, how does biodegradable sunscreen save our ocean?

And, which countries have banned regular sunscreen? Or, how do you know if your sunscreen is biodegradable?


If you want to know the answer to any of these questions that read on, I’ll also be giving you a list of my favorite biodegradable sunscreens.

But first:

Why Use Biodegradable Sunscreen?

People’s primary concern when it comes to sunscreen is the chemicals involved. They want something that doesn’t damage their skin. But, it’s doubtful they think about what the chemicals are doing to marine life.

Our carelessness means we have over 4,000 tons of chemicals being washed off into the ocean, which eventually kills or coral reefs.

Article clipping about sunscreen

Regular sunscreen contains many harmful chemicals, but oxybenzone, in particular, gets absorbed into coral reefs.

The nano-particles affect coral’s reproduction and growth; in the end, it results in corals becoming bleached and dying.

By switching to reef-safe sunscreen, you can help stop corals around the world from dying. Plus, marine parks all over the world are banning regular sunscreen, but more on that later.

But, before we find out where regular sunscreen is banned:

What Kind Of Sunscreen Is Biodegradable?

It’s less, what kind of sunscreen is biodegradable. And more, what makes sunscreen biodegradable?

More often then not, the bottle will be labeled as biodegradable. You want to look for two active ingredients in the sunscreen:

  • Zinc Oxide
  • Titanium Dioxide

These natural minerals sit on top of the skin instead of being absorbed, it’s better for our skin, and not known to cause any harm to corals.

Coral bleachingWhich means, no more bleaching!

So, if there the chemicals you want to see, then what chemicals should you be avoiding?

There’s so many, but here are a few ingredients to watch out for:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Any form of micro-plastic spheres
  • Propylparaben
  • Triclosan

As I said, that’s just a few chemicals you need to look out for, but if you want to check them all out, here’s the full list.

Two, in particular, you should avoid with all costs, Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, there known to be the cause of coral bleaching.

If you’re looking for an ocean-safe sunscreen, make sure you check out the chemicals beforehand!

That’s not the only reason biodegradable sunscreen is the way forward; soon, it might be the only way.

Are Some Sunscreens Banned In Certain Areas?

Because of the effect sunscreens are having in popular tourist destinations. Many places of natural beauty have banned the use of regular sunscreen.

If you’re planning to go to any of these five destinations; then you should think about stocking up on biodegradable sunscreen:

  • Hawaii – Recently, they voted to ban the use of any sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate by 2021. They plan to push manufacturers to use the more reef-friendly Zinc Oxide.
  • Key West, Florida – Home to the USA’s most extensive coral reef, recently followed in Hawaii’s footsteps. They’ve also pledged to ban the sale of regular sunscreen in stores by 2021.
  • Palau – The country of Palau will effectively be the first country to ban non-biodegradable sunscreen. Their new law will pass in 2020, and will see lawbreakers face a $1,000 fine.
  • Bonaire – An Island in the Caribbean, voted to ban the sale of sunscreens unfit for the ocean in 2021 also. It’s estimated that over 90% of the Caribbean coral is now dead.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands – They signed the bill in July 2019 to ban the sale of any non-biodegradable sunscreen. It’s thought the effects will come into place in early 2020.

With more and more places banning sunscreen, it’s worth checking out before you go on holiday.

What To Look For When Buying Biodegradable Sunscreen

Choosing the most eco-friendly sunscreen is a challenge, here are a few things I’d look out for before making up your mind:

Price

Price is always on my mind before I go shopping, some times the most expensive items aren’t always the best. I always try to compare the price with the qualities you are looking for.

SPF Rating

By far, the most valuable piece of information on the bottle, other than the ingredients. Protecting yourself and your children from UV rays should be your number one concern.

Size

You need to know how big the tube is so you know how long it’s going to last you. There nothing worse than paying heavy foreign prices for the same stuff.

Easy To Spread

Now and then, you come across sunscreen that’s so thick you’d struggle to spread it. An this is especially the case with biodegradable sunscreens, luckily I have a few on my items on my list that are very easy to spread.

Scent

Chemically scented sunscreen can cause some peoples skin to flair-up. If you one of these people, a naturally scented sunscreen might be the best option for you.

Water-Resistant

When you go on holiday, there’s no doubt you’ll end up in the sea at some point. Which is why a water-resistant is a good idea for some extra protection.

And to finish off reapply time, the usual time for reapplying sunscreen is every two hours. Although this does vary from brand to brand, make sure you check the products recommended tips for application.

What Is The Best Biodegradable Sunscreen?

Are you still struggling to decide?

If you are don’t worry, I’ve left you a list of my recommended environmentally friendly sunscreens. I’ve taken the time to find the most effective biodegradable sunscreens on the market.

Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50/80 Minutes Water Resistance
Reef Safe Sunscreen SPF 30+ All Natural, Water Resistant, Moisturizing, Biodegradable, Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Ocean Friendly Mineral Sun Cream from Reef Repair 4 fl. Oz
All Good Organic Tinted Sunscreen Butter - Zinc Oxide - Coral Reef Safe - Water Resistant - UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum - SPF 50+ (1 oz)
Sunblocz Baby + Kids Mineral Sunscreen, 50+SPF - Natural, Organic Sunblock, Zinc Oxide, UVA+UVB Broad Spectrum, Waterproof, Reef Safe
Tropical Sands All Natural SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen - Biodegradable, Visible Sun Protection - 5.4 Fl Oz
MRSP
$29.99
$14.95
from $10.99
$23.99
$19.95
SPF Rating
SPF 50
SPF 30+
SPF 50+
SPF 50+
SPF 50+
Easy To Spread
Easy
Thick
Easy
Very Thick
Thick
Size (fl. Oz)
3 fl. Oz
4 fl. Oz
1 fl. Oz 3 fl. Oz
4 fl. Oz
5.4 fl. Oz
Water-Resistant
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Scent
Summer
Natural
None
Lavender And Rosemary
None
Reapply Time
2-Hours Dry-80 Minutes Wet
2-Hours Dry 80-Minutes Wet
2-Hours Dry 80-Minutes Wet
2-Hours Dry 80-Minutes Wet
2 Hours Dry
Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50/80 Minutes Water Resistance
Product
MRSP
$29.99
SPF Rating
SPF 50
Easy To Spread
Easy
Size (fl. Oz)
3 fl. Oz
Water-Resistant
Yes
Scent
Summer
Reapply Time
2-Hours Dry-80 Minutes Wet
Reef Safe Sunscreen SPF 30+ All Natural, Water Resistant, Moisturizing, Biodegradable, Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Ocean Friendly Mineral Sun Cream from Reef Repair 4 fl. Oz
Product
MRSP
$14.95
SPF Rating
SPF 30+
Easy To Spread
Thick
Size (fl. Oz)
4 fl. Oz
Water-Resistant
Yes
Scent
Natural
Reapply Time
2-Hours Dry 80-Minutes Wet
All Good Organic Tinted Sunscreen Butter - Zinc Oxide - Coral Reef Safe - Water Resistant - UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum - SPF 50+ (1 oz)
Product
MRSP
from $10.99
SPF Rating
SPF 50+
Easy To Spread
Easy
Size (fl. Oz)
1 fl. Oz 3 fl. Oz
Water-Resistant
Yes
Scent
None
Reapply Time
2-Hours Dry 80-Minutes Wet
Sunblocz Baby + Kids Mineral Sunscreen, 50+SPF - Natural, Organic Sunblock, Zinc Oxide, UVA+UVB Broad Spectrum, Waterproof, Reef Safe
Product
MRSP
$23.99
SPF Rating
SPF 50+
Easy To Spread
Very Thick
Size (fl. Oz)
4 fl. Oz
Water-Resistant
Yes
Scent
Lavender And Rosemary
Reapply Time
2-Hours Dry 80-Minutes Wet
Tropical Sands All Natural SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen - Biodegradable, Visible Sun Protection - 5.4 Fl Oz
Product
MRSP
$19.95
SPF Rating
SPF 50+
Easy To Spread
Thick
Size (fl. Oz)
5.4 fl. Oz
Water-Resistant
No
Scent
None
Reapply Time
2 Hours Dry

All you need to do is choose one:

Kokua Sun Care

Kokua is a high-performance natural zinc sunscreen ideal for people that have sensitive skin conditions such as eczema, Psoriasis, and melasma.

This sunscreen has no PABA, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, which makes this sunscreen reef safe. It also contains the highest percentage of Zinc on the market.

This sunscreen is rated SPF 50, so it’s great for a big adventure or little excursions. Kokua also uses 23 antioxidants, leaving it with a coconut and vanilla scent.

The sunscreen is water-resistant up to 80 minutes and rubs in clear with no stickiness.

Key Features

  • SPF 50+
  • 3 fl. Oz
  • Water-resistant for 80 minutes
  • Marine Safe
  • Reapply every two hours

One customer brought the sunscreen for his adventure to Belize, but they needed to find one that was good for fair skin. It worked perfectly; they used it getting on and off the boats, paddle boarding, and snorkeling; yet it didn’t rub off. There were a couple of customers that struggled to rub the lotion in.

Kokua sun care amazon review

Overall a great sunscreen with excellent protection and the coconut and vanilla scent isn’t too bad either. It also doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, while staying rich in Zinc. It’s an excellent Sunscreen for long excursions on boats or snorkeling around reefs.

Pros

  • Marine Safe
  • Nice Scent
  • Great Waterproofing

Cons

  • Might be to thick for some

Reef Repair

Reef Repair is a non-nano Zinc Oxide based sunscreen, which has no harmful chemicals; it keeps your skin and the ocean clean.

It’s rated as SPF 30+ and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes before a reapplication is needed.

Their sunscreen is easy to rub-on and spreads smoothly; the best bit is it’s non-whitening, so you won’t look like a ghost.

Its the non-oily lotion is excellent for moisturizing new, sensitive, and damaged skin.

It also features bonus ingredients like raspberry seed for added protection.

Key Features

  • SPF 30
  • Water-resistant 80 minutes
  • Four fl. Oz
  • 100% natural
  • Reapply every two hours

People mentioned how well the sunscreen worked and that it was great for reefs. They also said how easy it was to rub on, although it was thick to start with. In my more in-depth research, I found a few people complaining about grit in the lotion. It seems it was a bad batch they got sent a new one and was perfectly happy with what they recieved.

Reef safe review

Overall it seems to be a strong contender, the protection is excellent, and it doesn’t go on too thick. I also like the fact they use all-natural ingredients like raspberry seed oil and coconut oil. The story about grit in the sunscreen is a thing to think about, but I do think it was just a bad batch.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Performs well
  • Rubs in easily

Cons

  • People complained about grit

All Good

All Good has their new tinted range of SPF 50+ sunscreen butter, which works perfectly with make-up.

The butter provides excellent UVA/UVB protection and applies effortlessly.

Like most of the products, it’s swim resistant for up to 80 minutes before you have to reapply.

The lotion is made from all-natural materials, like Calendula, which is grown on their own All Good farm.

Calendula helps to rebuild any damaged skin.

All Goods environmentally friendly sunscreens also use coconut oil to act as a barrier to the wind and sun.

Key Features

  • SPF 50+
  • Water-resistant 80 minutes
  • Available in 1 or 3 Oz
  • Also Available as plain lotion
  • Vegan-friendly

A lot of people liked this product. It worked well, and the butter felt smooth and easy to blend into her skin. She found it easy to match her skin tone. But, there were a few people that struggled with the skin tone, so if you have pale skin, it might not be ideal for you.

All Good Review

I think if you’re looking for a make-up alternative, which offers you sun protection, then this is an ideal product for you. I would, however, take a look and see if you can match the tone; it only comes in one color so it could be tricky. If it is a good fit, you’ll have no problems with sun protection.

Pros

  • Tinted
  • Applies easily
  • Helps rebuild damaged skin

Cons

  • Might be hard to match skin tone

Sunblocz

Sunblocz is a sunscreen that uses no harmful chemicals.

The biodegradable sunscreen if made for babies and kids, but can also be used on adults.

The lotion is made with natural minerals, 24.5 % of which are Zinc Oxide and offers you antioxidant-rich ingredients like grapeseed oil.

Although the biodegradable sunscreen is made perfume-free, it still has a scent of lavender and rosemary, which smells fresh and summery.

The lotion is excellent for excursions snorkeling, and the SPF 50+ lotion will last up to 80 minutes in the water.

Key Features

  • SPF 50+
  • Water-resistant 80 minutes
  • 24.5% Zinc Oxide
  • Four fl. Oz
  • Reapply every two hours

This eco-friendly sunscreen looked to be a hit with adults and children. It was very water-resistant, so excellent for trips to the beach. But, it did come with a few problems, it was too thick, and people struggled to apply it, one person said they could barely get it out the tube.

Sunblockz review

What do I think? Overall it looked like a great biodegradable sunscreen, which helps to prevent coral bleaching. I also loved the sound of the lavender and rosemary scent, my two favorite herbs. The water resistance makes it great for beach trips with your kids, but beware it is thick.

Pros

  • No harmful chemicals
  • Lavender and rosemary scent
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • Goes on thick

Tropical Sands

Tropical Sands uses a cosmetically appealing blend, which is excellent for the reefs.

The Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are micronized, so you feel no coarse particles.

And it’s certified as a biodegradable sunscreen, which uses no chemical fragrances.

The PABA free sunscreen is rated at SPF 50+, which is plenty of protection.

And because the chemicals are soft, it’s great for babies or anyone that suffers from sensitive skin issues.

For damage repair, it’s formulated with a green tea to act as the antioxidant.

Key Features

  • SPF 50+
  • Safe for babies
  • 5.4 fl. Oz
  • Reapply every two hours
  • Certified biodegradable

A lot of praise was about how well the product worked overall; it went on thick and still didn’t make him come out in acne. The biggest problem is it’s not water-resistant, which annoyed a lot of people. What was the point of having a reef-friendly sunscreen if you cant swim with it on?

Tropical sands review

I like the product; it has excellent protection and zero harsh chemicals. I can, however, understand people’s frustration with it being called reef-friendly when you can’t swim with it. But, on the other hand, if you have sensitive skin and don’t plan to swim, it’s an excellent eco-friendly alternative.

Pros

  • No chemical fragrances
  • Reef safe
  • No harsh chemicals

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Goes on thick

Summary

My final thoughts are to be aware of what you require from your sunscreen. If your fair-skinned and like going on long excursions, then a gentle but thick SPF 50+ would be the perfect option for you.

You should also check the ingredients if it contains Paba, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone. Or any of the over previously stated chemicals, you should stay away, especially if you have sensitive skin.

If you ready to start your adventure with biodegradable sunscreen, then let me know which one you chose by commenting below. Or if you think I’ve missed anything out, I love to hear your feedback.

If you a parent and like this article, why not check out what I’ve got to say about reusable swim diapers? Some of them even have UV protection!