sunscreen ingredients
  • Clean beauty
  • Eco & ethical

Sunscreen ingredients: what is safe for the sea?

Worried about sunscreen ingredients and looking for a sun cream that’s free from Oxybenzone and Octinoxate? You’ve come to the right place!  A proud charity partner of the Marine Conservation Society, you can trust our natural and organic sun care collection to be as safe for the sea as it is for the skin.

By Alexandra Julian

7 Minute read

In this post, we explore the sea-safe ingredients that make our sunscreens so effective at keeping your skin safe in the sun.

We also reveal the important reason why we refuse to use Oxybenzone and Octinoxate in our marine-friendly, natural sun creams.

Our ocean-friendly sun cream policy

One question we often get asked is, ‘Is Green People sun cream reef safe?’ and, as a proud partner of the Marine Conservation Society, we’re very strict about what goes into our marine-friendly sun creams.

To make our natural and organic sunscreens as safe for the sea as they are for your skin, we refuse to use the following sunscreen ingredients, which are known to be harmful to coral reefs. 

  • Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (also known as Octinoxate)
  • Benzophenone-3 (also known as Oxybenzone)

Did you know:

Oxybenzone poses such a great risk to reefs that several coral reef areas have banned its use completely.  Hawaii, Aruba and Palua are just some of the territories that have banned the use of Oxybenzone suncream as part of their fight to preserve their coral reef populations.

Why should Oxybenzone be avoided?

The UK isn’t exactly known for its coral communities, so you may wonder why we, as a British sun cream brand, are so committed to making Oxybenzone-free sunscreens.

The truth is that our seas are at risk, not only from coral-harming sunscreen filters but also from climate change, agricultural pollution, and overfishing,

Coral reefs aren’t just scenic snorkelling spaces. They provide a vast amount of Earth’s oxygen and are a sanctuary for many species of marine life. Without the reef, some species of fish could go extinct, leading to the destruction of some marine ecosystems.

Shocking statistic: 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year[i]

Having worked with the UK’scharity, MCS, for over a decade, we are greatly concerned that some sun cream filters could harm fish and coral reefs.

Looking for an Oxybenzone-free sun cream? Every Green People SPF is Oxybenzone-free, so no matter your skin type, you can shield your skin from sun damage while also doing your bit to protect our seas. Browse our collection of natural and organic sunscreens.

Shop ocean-friendly sunscreens 

Shop our sea-safe sun care collection below or keep scrolling to learn more about the sun filters we use to make our marine-friendly sunscreens.

Meet our top-seller, Scent Free Sun Cream SPF30. Ultra-gentle on sensitive skin and packed with skin-friendly nourishment and protection, this sun cream has thousands of positive reviews.

Shopping for kids’ sun cream, facial SPF or a sunscreen with insect repellent? Discover more highlights from our collection.

Don’t forget the after sun! Made with 80%  Aloe Vera and cooling Peppermint, our natural and organic after sun lotions calm your skin and provide hydration to help prolong your tan. 

Wondering how our sunscreens work? Read on.

Our mineral sun filters


Zinc Oxide is a natural mineral sun cream filter that’s a great choice for oily and spot-prone skin. Found in our Scent Free Mineral Sun Cream, this, uncoated sun filter is non-nano and works mainly by physically reflecting UV rays so that  harmful radiation cannot reach the skin surface.

Zinc Oxide is not known to display aquatic toxicity, and there are lots of benefits to using it in sun care. Firstly, it starts to work as soon as it is applied to the skin, so it is ideal for when you want instant protection. It’s also largely unaffected by UV rays, meaning it will continue to work if it remains on the skin. You should always re-apply regularly and liberally though.

Zinc Oxide powers the below 100% mineral sunscreens:


Non-nano Titanium Dioxide is another mineral sun filter we use to make our marine-friendly SPFs so effective. Found in our Edelweiss Sun Cream SPF15 with Tan Accelerator, this mineral sun filter acts as a reflective barrier predominantly to UVB radiation and has no known hormone-mimicking effects.

Our chemical sun filters


Some Green People sun creams also contain a filter called Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate. This gives protection specifically against UVA radiation. We often use this in conjunction with Diethylamino Butamido Triazone, a sun filter which protects against UVA and UVB but is especially effective in the UVB spectrum.

Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl vs Oxybenzone

We often get asked if Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate is the same as Oxybenzone and if it is reef safe.

You’ll be pleased to hear that Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate is distinctly different from Oxybenzone. Not only does it have an excellent safety profile, but it is very well tolerated even by ultra-sensitive skin, biodegrades readily and has no adverse environmental effects.


A plant-based UV-protection booster, antioxidant Edelweiss has evolved to withstand very strong UV light levels at high altitudes. It offers powerful protection against free radical damage and contains lignans and leontopodic acid, which calm the skin and help to protect against sensitivity.

We hope you have found this guide to our marine-friendly sun creams helpful. Looking for reef-safe sunscreen for your next adventure? Take our 2-minute SPF quiz to find the perfect sunscreen for you. 

Alternatively, why not reach out to our friendly customer care team? Our UK team is available 9am-5pm Monday to Friday on 01403 740350 and can also be contacted via direct message to @GreenPeopleUK.


If you wish to republish this content, please credit Green People as the original creator with a link to "Sunscreen ingredients: what is safe for the sea?". Please do not use an affiliate link.

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