Sunscreen ingredients: what is safe for the sea?

26/04/2021 — By Hannah Mepham

Sunscreen ingredients: what is safe for the sea?

To help you know which sunscreen ingredients to look out for when shopping for reef-friendly sun creams, we asked our Cosmetic Scientist, Ian Taylor, to identify which ingredients to choose and which to avoid.

Here we reveal why Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are not included in any of our reef-safe sun cream formulas and explain the extra safety-precautions we take to ensure that you can trust our organic sun care collection to be as safe for the sea as it is for the skin.

 

Our reef-safe sun cream policy

To make sure our organic sunscreens are reef safe, it is our policy to refuse to use the sunscreen ingredients Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (also known as Octinoxate or Benzophenone-3 (also known as Oxybenzone) in any of our sun care products.

These sun filters are effective at safeguarding skin from the sun but are known to be marine hazards and can even be fatal to coral reefs. The risk that Oxybenzone is thought to pose to reefs is so great that several territories with coral reef marine parks have now banned its use completely.  

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

Having worked with the UK’s Marine Conservation Charity, MCS, for over a decade and raised over £100,000 for the charity through sales of our organic sunscreens, it greatly concerns us that some sun cream filters could harm fish and coral reef.

As partners of the Marine Conservation Society, we take many precautions to ensure our natural sun creams do not harm the environment and all our organic sun care products are therefore Oxybenzone-free, Octinoxate-free and reef-safe.

Where is Oxybenzone sun cream banned?

Hawaii, Aruba and Palua are just some of the territories that have banned the use of Oxybenzone sun creams to help protect coral reefs and the marine life that depends on the reefs for survival.

  
Eco Beach Sign
 

Sunscreen ingredient to avoid: Oxybenzone

Although there are some coral reefs off the shore of Scotland, the UK isn’t known for its coral communities and you may wonder why as a British sun cream brand, we are so committed to making Oxybenzone-free sunscreens.

The simple answer is that the use of Oxybenzone in sun creams is a huge, global ecotourism concern. Much more than a scenic snorkelling space for UK holidaymakers, coral reefs supply a vast amount of our oxygen and also provides a sanctuary for many species of fish.

It is inevitable that sun cream will slip off skin when you are in the sea and if this ingredient comes into contact with coral reefs, they become more at risk of bleaching and more vulnerable to disease and death.

 HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SUN CREAM IS OXYBENZONE FREE

It can be confusing to know if your sunscreen contains this ingredient as in EU sun creams the ingredient is listed as Benzophenone-3, but it is perhaps more commonly known by its American name, Oxybenzone. This ingredient has never been used in Green People products.

 

Sunscreen ingredient to avoid: Octinoxate

Without coral, fish lose part of their habitat and even fish that swim in UK seas and their genetic make-up can even be put at risk by sun cream filters. Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate) is widely used in many brands of sunscreen and studies have shown that this sun cream ingredient is a hormone-disrupting chemical which mimics oestrogen and could genetically alter the gender of fish.

As well as to endangering marine life, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate can also irritate the skin. For these reasons Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is not used in any Green People’s natural sunscreens.

   

Undersea Coral Reef

   

Our marine-safe sunscreens

To safeguard plants, fish, sea birds and sea mammals from we do not add Oxybenzone or Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate filters to any of our organic sun products.

Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 200ml

Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 200ml

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

£25.00

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

£21.00

Edelweiss Sun Cream with Tan Accelerator - SPF15 200ml

Edelweiss Sun Cream with Tan Accelerator - SPF15 200ml

Organic SPF15 sun cream with tan accelerator

£24.00

 

Our safe sun cream ingredients

Titanium dioxide & Isoamyl p-methoxycinnamate

Instead of using Oxybenzone and Octonixate sun cream filters we use Titanium dioxide, a naturally occurring white mineral that acts as a reflective barrier predominantly to UVB radiation, and Isoamyl p-methoxycinnamate, which is derived from cinnamic acid found in the leaves of the cinnamon tree and provides natural protection against UVB radiation.

Distinctly different from Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, it has no known hormone-mimicking effects and will not irritate the skin.

Diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate

All Green People sun creams also contain a filter called Diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate. This gives protection specifically against UVA radiation and is synthetically produced.

We use Diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate because it has an excellent safety profile and is very well tolerated even by ultra-sensitive skin. It also biodegrades readily and has no adverse effects on the environment.

By using these safe, effective ingredients we guarantee that our sunscreens give broad-range protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.

 

Making our sun creams safe for all

When making our sun creams, our aim is to create a non-toxic formula that delivers gentle but effective UVA & UVB protection without harming the environment.

This makes the manufacturing process quite complicated and, to ensure the product is safe for skin and the sea, our Cosmetic Scientist conducts extensive research into legislation governing sun care manufacturing and continuously reviews scientific evidence around sun filter’s aquatic safety profile. This helps to ensure that sunscreen ingredients known to be harmful to aquatic life never make it into our reef-friendly products.

Every time you choose a tube of our organic sun creams, you can trust that you are buying sun protection that is effective and ethical.

In addition to this, we also take some extra safety precautions and only add filters when we are fully confident that they will protect skin without harming the ecosystem.

The following are our Zinc-free sunscreens:

 

Do you look for sun cream without Zinc oxide, Oxybenzone and Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate? Take a look at our reef-safe sunscreens now or ask our UK customer care team any questions about sunscreen ingredients on 01403 740350.

[i] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/sunscreen-destroying-coral-reefs-alternatives-travel-spd#:~:text=By%20the%20numbers%2C%20the%20problem,pollution%2C%20coastal%20development%2C%20and%20warming

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.
Share

ABOUT GREEN PEOPLE

Green People is a pioneering organic beauty brand based in the UK and loved by people all over the world.

We create pure, eco-friendly products with innovative botanicals that really make a difference to your skin and hair.

You can read our story to find out more about us or even check out our special offers to take a peek at what's on offer right now.

Related Articles

Marine-friendly sunscreens to protect our seas

22/05/2020 - By Hannah Mepham

Marine-friendly sunscreens to protect our seas

Green People is proud to be in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. To help raise awareness of the work that The Marine Conservation Society

Continue Reading

Ecotourism: Preserving natural beauty with environmentally safe toiletries

12/05/2020 - By Hannah Mepham

Ecotourism: Preserving natural beauty with environmentally safe toiletries

The world is our oyster and British holiday makers are flocking to far-flung destinations in search of exotic beaches and eco-friendly experiences. Concerned about the impact your holiday toiletries could be having on the local environment? Read on to discover the best environmentally-safe toiletries to take with you on your travels.

Continue Reading

Why organic sun lotion?

18/05/2020 - By Alexandra Julian

Why organic sun lotion?

This guide offers you information on the reasons for and benefits of using an organic sun lotion. More and more people are eating organic food and using natural health remedies but don't realise that the same should apply to their skin care and still buy high street sun lotions without considering what goes into them.

Continue Reading

ABOUT GREEN PEOPLE

Green People is a pioneering organic beauty brand based in the UK and loved by people all over the world.

We create pure, eco-friendly products with innovative botanicals that really make a difference to your skin and hair.

You can read our story to find out more about us or even check out our special offers to take a peek at what's on offer right now.

Related Articles

Marine-friendly sunscreens to protect our seas

22/05/2020 - By Hannah Mepham

Marine-friendly sunscreens to protect our seas

Green People is proud to be in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. To help raise awareness of the work that The Marine Conservation Society

Continue Reading

Ecotourism: Preserving natural beauty with environmentally safe toiletries

12/05/2020 - By Hannah Mepham

Ecotourism: Preserving natural beauty with environmentally safe toiletries

The world is our oyster and British holiday makers are flocking to far-flung destinations in search of exotic beaches and eco-friendly experiences. Concerned about the impact your holiday toiletries could be having on the local environment? Read on to discover the best environmentally-safe toiletries to take with you on your travels.

Continue Reading

Why organic sun lotion?

18/05/2020 - By Alexandra Julian

Why organic sun lotion?

This guide offers you information on the reasons for and benefits of using an organic sun lotion. More and more people are eating organic food and using natural health remedies but don't realise that the same should apply to their skin care and still buy high street sun lotions without considering what goes into them.

Continue Reading