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5 Reef Friendly, Non-Toxic Sunscreens to Try Right Now

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It’s summertime! Yay fun in the sun! We know that skincare regimens switch up this time of year, and people start to use more sunscreen (which really should be used year-round, but I digress). But what do you know about non-toxic sunscreens, is your sunscreen killing coral reefs? We product junkies think a lot about what certain ingredients are doing to our skin but what about the environment? Chances are, if it’s not good for our skin then it’s not good for the Earth! 


“Eighty-five percent of the Caribbean coral reefs died before 1999 or 2000. That wasn’t global warming. It’s pollution,” says Dr. Craig A. Downs, Ph.D., Executive Director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory  said in a Travel and Leisure report.

Dead coral reefs mean no homes for fish, no sourcing for certain life saving medicines that can treat bacterial infections, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and more. This is obviously a problem. Oxybenzone is one of the culprits. It’s toxic in many ways, including damaging reefs (bleaching). It can cause damage to the DNA that may lead to cancer and developmental abnormalities and it’s an endocrine disruptor. Certain preservatives in sunscreen are also toxic. Be on the lookout for methyl paraben, butyl paraben, or  phenoxyethanol.  It may not always be easy to find an effective sunscreen that’s paraben free but we did some leg work for you using EWG, a cosmetics database that provides comprehensive information about the beauty producs you use.  

Plus size women enjoying the sun, non-toxic sunscreen
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I’m not trying to put a damper on your summer fun, just want you to be aware that you really should be conscious about the sunscreen you use.  Here’s what you need to know:

 5 Reef Friendly, Non-Toxic Sunscreens to Try Right Now


If you are a regular on The Curvy Fashionista, then you saw my summer skincare essentials post where I also mentioned this brand. I love this stuff! It’s a mineral non-toxic sunscreen that literally Contains Only Titanium and Zinc. That’s what the acronym stands for! It’s also fast absorbing and leaves no white residue behind. According to EWG, it’s low hazard, which corroborates the brand’s claims that it’s a healthier sunscreen for you and the planet.


Thinksport SPF 50 

This low risk, water-resistant sunscreen is said to last for up to 80 minutes. Get yours on Amazon for $12.


Suntegrity Natural Sunscreen

This mineral sunscreen is unscented, vegan and ideal for kids and people with sensitive skin. It’s also free of parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, synthetic dyes, mineral oil, nanoparticles and chemical UV absorbers. Instead of toxins, expect your skin to be nourished by organic green tea extract, cucumber extract, and pomegranate seed oil. There are versions for face and body. EWG rates it a one.


Raw Elements SPF 30 Certified Natural Sunscreen

It’s low risk, formulated with biodegradable ingredients, reef safe, and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.


Black Girl Sunscreen

Black Girl Sunscreen is all the rage because it doesn’t leave a white residue behind. It’s vegan, cruelty free, paraben free, and oxybenzone free but EWG rates it a 3, which means moderate because there may be other ingredients of concern but isn’t bad. Its formula contains avocado, jojoba, cacao, carrot juice, and sunflower oil to protect and and allow the non-toxic sunscreen to hydrate your skin.


Hopefully these five brands are a good starter for you. A lot more brands are getting more environmentally conscious and also aware of the fact that people want to use products with quality non-toxic ingredients without breaking the bank. Have you tried any sunscreens listed or do you plan to research more brands that might be right for you? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by Starr

Toddler mom. Brooklynite. Beauty and pop culture obsessive. Wanderluster. Send help...and wine, lots of wine.

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