4 Reef-Safe Sunscreens That Protect Your Skin and the Environment

Our recipe for a dreamy summer day goes something like this: we find ourselves lounging on a pristine beach in a show-stopping swimsuit, armed with some sweet tunes, a piña colada or two, and plenty of sunscreen. Because we spend so much time soaking up Mother Nature’s good vibes, it’s especially important that we protect our skin from the harmful UV rays that go hand in hand with all that sweet summer sunshine.

Sunscreen is a key part of any beach babe’s beauty routine, but did you know that most popular sunscreen brands contain harsh chemicals that are harmful to marine wildlife and are contributing to the overall destruction of the coral reef? Oxybenzone, a chemical ingredient found in about 3,500 different sunscreens, absorbs UV rays and protects your skin from sun damage, but when your sunscreen washes off into the ocean it also damages coral DNA and contributes to coral bleaching, which occurs when the life-sustaining algae that normally lives on coral disappears due to changes in ocean temperature or pollution. Although the coral may not appear damaged, too much interaction with these toxic chemicals can result in coral that is unable to reproduce, or even dead. That being said, if a product you're slathering all over your body’s largest organ is killing the coral reef, just imagine what those chemicals are capable of doing to your skin - scary!


Oxybenzone is also damaging to sea urchins, fish, and mammals, and the issue has become urgent enough that parts of Mexico have banned the chemical outright. A Hawaii state senator has proposed a similar measure here in the US, but until it passes, it’s up to us to make sure that our day at the beach does as little damage to the ocean as possible. It's important to protect our skin, but every little step counts when it comes to protecting our oceans, our most precious natural resource.
Lucky for us, eco-conscious companies are taking matters into their own hands and formulating sunscreens that are easier on the environment, avoiding detrimental chemicals whenever possible. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites below, so you can slather them on stress-free and have fun in the sun all summer long.



Developed by an ocean lifeguard, this certified all natural, organic, non-GMO sunscreen has a creamy consistency and a subtle earthy scent. Packed with natural antioxidants that keep your skin happy and healthy even after you get out of the sun, and available in a reusable/recyclable tin, this beloved sunscreen is developing a cult following in beach towns all over the country. 


This gentle and water-resistant sunscreen is made from a mineral formula, which means it’s great for everyday use (hi year-round LA sunshine) and protecting sensitive skin. Smooth and blendable enough to wear under make up, their nourishing formula is made from antioxidant rich California poppies. It feels luxurious without breaking the bank.



This nostalgia-inducing sunscreen has been holding it down for a couple decades now as one of the toughest environmentally friendly sunscreens in the game, despite being made from only five ingredients, all of which are well-known and easy to pronounce. Formulated with surfers and boaters in mind, this unscented sunscreen stays put through thick and thin, and the addition of sunflower oil keeps your skin soft and hydrated. 



Manda Organic stands out for their admirable commitment to sustainability throughout the entire formulation process. Zinc sunscreens are better for the environment than chemical formulas, but zinc still has to be mined from the earth. Manda’s cinnamon scented sun paste has a lower than average zinc content, which they counteract by using thanaka, an ancient natural sunscreen made of ground up tree bark native to Myanmar. Points for creativity!
PS. Want to make 100% sure your beach day leaves no trace on the environment? Skip the sunscreen in favor of our purr-fect full coverage RHAHSH GUARD in Wild Eyes

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