Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Damage Than Good?

Our skin is our largest organ, and we all know the importance of protecting and nurturing it. We each have our unique skin care routines, which (should) include applying a hefty amount of sunscreen when we're heading down to the beach or just out enjoying the sunshine. The risks of not protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is something we've grown up understanding, but we're facing massive problems with the estimated 6000-14,000 tons of sunscreen that is being released by us into our oceans ecosystems each year!

How Is My Sunscreen Impacting My Wellbeing?

Many conventional sunscreens contain toxic, synthetic chemicals which are being absorbed into our body in order to protect it from UV light. Oxybenzone is a common ingredient in conventional sunscreens which can actually masquerade as estrogen and other hormones, linking to hormone dysfunction. It can also cause cell damage by creating free radicals when exposed to the sun. Unfortunately, this means we have to be super careful when choosing the right sunscreen, make sure you're reading the ingredient list! Other chemicals you should avoid are benzophenone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene.
What's slightly more concerning is the lack of information out there about the direct implications of some of these chemicals on our bodies. Many administrations and authorities conclude their findings to 'a lack of information' to ensure their safety.


What About The Impacts On Our Environment?

Other than these harmful chemicals, many sunscreens may also contain microbeads or microplastics (among many other personal care products) which are then washed off in our oceans, disrupting the natural ecosystem. Ingredients such as Polyethylene (PE) are used to make these microplastics, so check your ingredients lists and make sure this is not listed!
Companies of conventional chemical sunscreens have been finding loopholes through the regulations of microplastic use in rinse-off products, which often means that the microplastics within these products are just getting smaller and smaller in size, rather than being replaced altogether. It is the smallest particles that actually have the most potential to be dangerous as they can be absorbed into the food chain so easily. The very smallest particles can even be absorbed into animal tissue. Researchers have uncovered millions upon millions of microplastics in high concentrations along the coasts of many countries, meaning our choices towards the sorts of sunscreen we use this summer is more important than ever.


So How Do I Choose The Right Sunscreen For my Skin & For The Environment?

Fortunately, there are some amazing companies that have been creating natural, non-toxic mineral sunscreens. Although there are still a few brands using single-use plastic packaging, however, after a bit of research, I've found three brands killin it in the eco sunscreen game! Regardless of these top picks, there any many other brands creating fantastic sunscreen alternatives. So when looking for a new sunscreen, my guidelines would be organic ingredients, non-nano zinc oxide, and plastic-free packaging.


  1. All Good - made from certified organic ingredients, they apparently even have their own organic farm and their production facility runs on solar power! SPF 50, water resistant for 80 minutes, reef friendly and 3rd party tested. What can't they do?!

  2. EiR - this brand stocks SPF 30 and SPF 50 sunscreens in metal or biodegradable cardboard tubes. They're completely organic, containing ingredients like coconut oil, coco butter, tea tree oil and non-nano zinc oxide which protects against UV rays without the harmful additives.

  3. Avasol - packaged in compostable cardboard and made with organic, fair trade, natural, non-nano zinc oxide. These guys handmake their products in California too!


About The Author: Lauren Crabtree (@crabbypatty__)

Lauren is a passionately driven graphic and textile designer living in Sydney, Australia. Her work is driven by the desire for a better future, one that returns to a love for the handmade, and one that respects the impacts of textiles on mother nature.
Lauren loves to blog about creativity, sustainability, astrology, health, and wellbeing. She believes in the power of positivity and engages in a mindful, intentional life.
Lauren loves learning about new cultures and is particularly fascinated by traditional Indian textile processes and Indian culture.
Lauren loves to weave, crochet, eco-dye, screen print, block print, wrap, and macramé.

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