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Looking for a biodegradable sun cream?

02/05/2020 — By Hannah Mepham

Looking for a biodegradable sun cream?

Worried about the effect sun lotions are having on our oceans? There’s increasing concern that chemical sun cream ingredients are harming coral reefs and the marine life that inhabit these underwater ecosystems.

We can’t undo the damage that’s been caused, but by switching to our non-toxic sun cream you can help prevent further incidences of coral bleaching and marine damage. 

Are Green People sun creams biodegradable?

Green People is incredibly concerned for the safety of our seas and oceans. We work closely with the Marine Conservation Society and refuse to use any ingredients known to harm marine life in our sun care formulations.

Every product in our sun care range is reef safe and the only ingredient that is not biodegradable is our mineral UV filter.

Minerals are made of rock, a naturally occurring ingredient which, much like the pebbles and stones in our seas, will not dissolve in water.


reef safe sun cream


Shop ocean-safe sun creams

Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 200ml

Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 200ml

High factor fragrance-free SPF30 sun cream suitable for sensitive skin


Buy Now
Edelweiss Sun Cream with Tan Accelerator - SPF15 200ml

Edelweiss Sun Cream with Tan Accelerator - SPF15 200ml

Organic SPF15 sun cream with tan accelerator


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Organic Children Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 150ml

Organic Children Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 150ml

High factor scent free SPF30 suitable for children with sensitive skin


Buy Now


Why buy marine-safe sun creams?

Much more than just a pretty animal, a coral reef is home to thousands of marine species and produces a large amount of the oxygen that human life depends on to survive.

Worryingly, estimates suggest that a fifth of the world’s coral supply has died since 2015i and experts are predicting that 90% of coral will have disappeared by the year 2050ii.

According to reports our coral reefs encounter a staggering 14,000 tons of sun lotion each and every yeariii and concerns are being raised that sun creams made with chemical ingredients are putting our dwindling coral supplies in peril.


What makes sun cream unsafe for marine life?

The chemical ingredient that marine conservationist are most concerned about is Oxybenzone. Used in many high-street sun lotions, Oxybenzone is a chemical filter that helps sun screens to filter out skin-damaging UV rays.

Whilst safe for humans, if coral reefs encounter it, they can become vulnerable to bleaching[iv], putting them at risk of disease and deathv.

If coral dies, fish and other marine life lose a valuable source of food and shelter. There are also concerns that some ingredients in sun lotions could be harming the fish in our seas, and our food chain.

Hormone disrupting chemicals are common in conventional sunscreen and can have a dramatic effect on aquatic life.

To make matters worse, in recent years glitter has been added to some sun lotions. Far from adding a touch of sparkle to our lives, this toxic ingredient can be consumed by marine life and enter the food chain.


Top tips for shopping ethically for sun cream


Labels can be hard to decipher but, when it comes to keeping our seas safe, it is important you check the label for the following chemical ingredients.

  • Oxybenzone/Benzophenone
  • Octinoxate/Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate

As Green People sun creams are reef safe we do not use either of these ingredients in our sun care and proudly display the following logo on our product pages.


The Good Shopping guide aims to arm consumers with the insights that can help them to shop ethically and issues accreditations to companies that make every effort to minimise their impact on the environment. Green People has been listed in the guide consecutively for 14 years and, when the guide last reviewed sun lotion, we received positive scores for both product sustainability and company ethos.


Did you know that some areas of natural beauty have banned chemical sun lotions?

Hawaii became the first US state to ban sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate in 2018vii and several marine parks in Mexico, Florida and the Virgin Island also discourage the use of chemical sun lotions.

If you’re travelling to a marine park and are unsure whether your sun cream is safe for the sea, be sure to check with your tour guide or tour operator before you travel.


Are you worried about the future of our oceans? Shop our reef-safe sun lotion now or join the conversation about biodegradable sun cream @GreenPeopleUK