Sustainable Sunscreen: Protecting Your Skin and the Planet

Sustainable Sunscreen: Introduction

Welcome to this week’s sustainability tip article, where today, we dive into the world of sustainable sunscreen. In our quest to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays, it’s crucial to consider the impact our choices have on the planet. Sustainable sunscreen offers a simple yet effective way to safeguard both our skin and the environment.

With the weather getting warmer and summer nearly here, people are going to be buying a lot of sunscreen. So, today we help you make more informed choices when it comes to sun protection. When it comes to sustainability, every small step counts. By opting for eco-friendly sunscreen, you contribute to a collective movement towards a greener future.

But it doesn’t stop there. When we embrace sustainable practices, we inspire others to join us on this journey. So, let’s take a moment to explore the world of sustainable sunscreen, discover its benefits, and learn how we can make a lasting impact.

Reduce Repair Regive

Sustainable Sunscreen: A History

Sunscreen, an essential part of our skincare routine, has an intriguing history that dates back centuries. Did you know that ancient Egyptians used extracts from rice, jasmine, and lupine plants to protect their skin from the scorching sun?

Fast forward to the 20th century when the first commercial sunscreen was introduced. Benjamin Green, a Miami pharmacist, invented a greasy red substance called “Red Vet Pet.” Though not perfect, it laid the foundation for future advancements.

In the 1940s, military research paved the way for more effective sunscreens. Scientists developed sun-blocking agents like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, offering broader protection against harmful UV rays.

In the 1970s, breakthroughs in sunscreen formulation led to the creation of SPF (Sun Protection Factor) ratings, allowing consumers to gauge a product’s effectiveness. The sunscreen industry boomed, offering a range of options for sun worshippers worldwide.

Sustainable Sunscreen SPF measurements didn't become a thing until the late 1970s
SPF measurements didn't become a thing until the late 1970s

As we’ve learned more about the environment, questions have emerged regarding the impact of sunscreen on marine ecosystems. Curious to know more about the environmental implications?

Read on to explore the effects of sunscreen on our planet and discover ways to make sustainable choices without compromising skin protection.

Sustainable Sunscreen: Environmental Impact

Sunscreen, while crucial for sun protection, can have significant environmental impacts. Studies have shown that certain chemicals commonly found in sunscreen, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, can cause coral bleaching, disrupting the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. Not only that but they can disrupt the growth and reproductive patterns of marine creatures.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an estimated 6,000 tons of sunscreen end up in coral reefs each year, accelerating their decline. 

When we swim or shower, these chemicals can wash off our bodies and end up in water systems, making their environmental impact even worse. The packaging of sunscreen also contributes to environmental concerns. 

Not only that, but the widespread use of plastic bottles increases waste and pollution, adding to the global plastic crisis. 

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, more than 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans annually, causing immense harm to marine life.

Sustainable Sunscreen The chemicals in some sunscreens contribute to the decline of coral reefs
The chemicals in some sunscreens contribute to the decline of coral reefs

Furthermore, the manufacturing process of sunscreen involves energy consumption and carbon emissions, contributing to climate change. From the extraction of raw materials to the synthesis of chemical compounds, the production of sunscreen products adds to the carbon footprint. Additionally, the transportation of sunscreen products from manufacturing facilities to retail stores or consumers’ homes further increases energy consumption and emissions.

Sustainable Sunscreen: What to Look For

When seeking sustainable sunscreen options, consider these key factors to make an informed choice. Look for sunscreens that use mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they are less harmful to the environment. Opt for products labelled as reef-safe, indicating they do not contain chemicals known to harm coral reefs and marine life.

Additionally, choose sunscreens with eco-friendly packaging, such as recyclable or biodegradable materials, to minimise waste. Some brands even offer refillable or reusable packaging options, further reducing their environmental impact.

Another important factor is the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Look for certifications like cruelty-free, vegan, or organic, indicating that the brand aligns with environmentally conscious practices.

It’s worth noting that many sustainable sunscreen brands also prioritise ethical sourcing and production practices. They may use organic or responsibly sourced ingredients, ensuring minimal environmental harm during cultivation or extraction processes.

Sustainable Sunscreens are becoming more widely available which is great news for the planet
Sustainable Sunscreens are becoming more widely available which is great news for the planet

Follow these guidelines and you will be able to reduce your footprint in a simple step. So next time you need to buy sunscreen – you can do it in a more conscious and informed way!

To discover three of our favourite sustainable sunscreen brands that embody these principles and offer effective sun protection, read on.

Sustainable Sunscreen: Three of Our Favourites


Our first favourite brand is Ultrasun. With a history spanning three decades, this Swiss skincare company was founded by a passionate chemist dedicated to making a difference in sun protection. Their mission remains the same: to provide accessible and effective sun care options for everyone.

Their reef-friendly and ocean-safe formulas align with our values of sustainable and eco-conscious practices. One of Ultrasun’s standout products is their Ultrasun Kids SPF50+, a great choice for parents seeking high-level sun protection.

Sustainable Sunscreen Ultrasun's Kids SPF50+ Sunscreen
Ultrasun's Kids SPF50+ Sunscreen


Secondly comes Arbonne which has been driving the healthy living movement for over 40 years. Since 1980, they have led the clean beauty movement and evolved as health and wellness became integral to our lives. Arbonne develops products with meaningful ingredients, striking the perfect balance between plant-based, bio-based, and scientifically derived elements.

Arbonne’s FunSun Mineral Sunscreen exemplifies its dedication to creating effective and environmentally friendly products. With Arbonne, you can embrace a healthier and more sustainable approach to sun care.

Sustainable Sunscreen Arbonne's FunSun Mineral Sunscreen
Arbonne's FunSun Mineral Sunscreen

Green People

Our final favourite brand in the realm of sustainable sunscreen is Green People. With their SPF30 Scent Free Sun cream, they have solidified their position as a frontrunner in organic skincare. Founded by Charlotte Vøhtz 25 years ago, Green People has been dedicated to promoting a truly organic lifestyle and rewriting the rules of caring for sensitive skin.

As a pioneering brand in organic beauty, they have consistently stayed at the forefront of botanical innovations. Not only that but they have been committed to using planet-friendly packaging, reducing their environmental impact.

Sustainable Sunscreen Green People's SPF30 Scent free sunscreen
Green People's SPF30 Scent free sunscreen

Best of all, if you subscribe to Green People’s mailing list you can save an amazing 20% on your first order!

Sustainable Sunscreen: Wrap Up

The small individual changes in our sun care routine can add up to a significant sustainable impact. By opting for sustainable sunscreens, we can protect our skin while minimising our environmental footprint.

Well done to the featured brands, Green People, Arbonne, and Ultrasun, for their commitment to providing eco-friendly and effective sun care options. Their dedication to sustainable practices helps us all make a positive change in our daily lives.



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