The Best Clean Sunscreen - Natural and Safe Sunscreen

The 10 Best Clean Sunscreens for the Whole Family

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I love being out in the sun. I think probably most of us do. Unfortunately, prolonged sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, premature aging, skin damage, and even immune system suppression (according to the EPA). With that said, some sun exposure is needed to increase your vitamin D levels. According to this research-based article, it’s important to get 5-30 minutes of sun exposure daily without sunscreen to effectively boost vitamin D levels. Higher levels of vitamin D are associated with protection against cancer development including melanoma (source). So how do you get vitamin D from the sun while protecting yourself?

What I tend to do with my family is wait until we reach our 5-30 minutes of sun exposure to apply sunscreens. That way we are getting adequate vitamin D levels and still protecting ourselves from sun damage. Most importantly, when I apply sunscreen, I make sure I’m choosing a clean sunscreen and you should too!

What Chemicals Should Be Avoided In Sunscreen?

The following active ingredients in sunscreens were proposed as not recognized as safe by the Environmental Working Group (EWG): avobenzone, cinoxate, dioxybenzone, ensulizole, homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, padimate O, and sulisobenzone.

So what ingredients are safe in sunscreen? The only two active ingredients that are accepted as safe by the FDA are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both of these ingredients can be broken down even further and they can be classified as nano or non-nano.

Which Is Better, Nano or Non-Nano Zinc Oxide?

If you are ever holding a product in your hand that says “nano” on the label, I would simply put it back on the shelf and walk away. Non-nano is the way to go. This applies to every product, including sunscreen. Although I’ve found with sunscreen, companies are not putting “nano” on labels, however, they are putting “non-nano”. So what are nano-particles?

Although zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are deemed safe, certain companies are breaking apart these ingredients into smaller particles (nanoparticles) to seamlessly integrate them into the skin and avoid leaving a white cast upon application. There are concerns regarding the potential entry of these nanoparticles into the bloodstream, which could lead to health issues, whereas the larger-sized particles (non-nano) remain on the skin’s surface without penetrating and pose no health risks. Research results on this matter vary, indicating the necessity for further testing. Nonetheless, it’s advisable to steer clear of powdered or aerosol sunscreen forms, as ingestion or inhalation of these nanoparticles may pose safety risks. (source)

Since it’s not entirely clear if nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safe, I decided to only list non-nano sunscreens below to ensure your safety. Because all the sunscreens below are non-nano, they are also reef-safe. Feel free to wear these sunscreens when you’re snorkeling in Hawaii!

Is Clear Zinc Oxide Safe?

Yes. Some companies are also using clear zinc sunscreen (or uncoated zinc oxide) in their sunscreens. Clear zinc oxide is made by breaking the zinc down into nanoparticles and then gluing them back together so it is essentially non-nano zinc, it won’t penetrate the skin and current studies state that it’s considered safe. Why do they go through all this? To prevent a white cast. Badger sunscreen (which I have included on my list) uses clear zinc oxide so if you are looking for a clear sunscreen, go for Badger brand.

How Do You Know If Sunscreen Is Clean?

I used to use apps and Environmental Working Group (EWG) ratings to find clean products, but I found that nothing is perfect. These apps are good to use to get ideas for clean products, but it’s also necessary to look at the ingredients as well. I started to deep dive into ingredients. Luckily, non-toxic sunscreens were pretty easy to find.

The sunscreens that I have listed below all contain natural oils, butters, and extracts with nothing synthetic. I’ve listed all the ingredients in each sunscreen so you can see for yourself. There aren’t any big long chemical names that are hard to understand. Instead, you will see ingredients like coconut oil, grapeseed oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, raspberry seed oil, olive oil, and beeswax (which makes the sunscreen water-resistant).

Because these non-toxic mineral sunscreens are made up of oils and butters, they also can benefit your skin. Many of the oils and butters below contain antioxidants that are wonderful for skin care. In addition, they can reduce inflammation, increase hydration, heal wounds, strengthen the skin’s barrier, have anti-aging effects, block UV rays (and act as a natural sunscreen), improve skin elasticity, and have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Is There A Difference Between Baby Sunscreen and Regular Sunscreen?

There isn’t a difference between baby sunscreens and regular sunscreen except that some companies may put gentler ingredients in baby sunscreen. However, some baby sunscreens are toxic so it just depends on the company! All of the sunscreens below are safe and gentle enough for babies (6 months and older), kids, and adults. So feel free to buy one and use it for the whole family. Even if it says “baby” on the label, I still use it for myself as well. I hope you find the best clean sunscreen for babies, kids, and for yourself!

*Although these sunscreens are great for your body and kids’ faces, keep in mind that some contain coconut oil which has a comedogenic rating of 4 (on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being most likely to clog pores). Coconut oil is a great clean ingredient to have in sunscreen, but it may cause some individuals to break out if they use it on their face while others will be fine. Everyone is different. If you want a non-pore clogging clean mineral face sunscreen for yourself (or for a teenager), check out my clean face sunscreen article.

I also wanted to add that the sunscreens below contain non-nano zinc oxide which is truly a broad-spectrum sunscreen, protecting from UVA, UVB, and even UVC. In addition, because all of these sunscreens are non-nano, they are all reef-safe!

1. Earth Mama Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40

Earth Mama Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40 | Reef Safe, Non-Nano Zinc, Natural Water Resistant Sun Cream for Babies, Kids & Adults, 3-Ounce

The ingredients in this sunscreen are as follows: Non-nano Zinc Oxide 25%, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Fractionated Coconut) Oil*, Beeswax*, Olive Fruit Oil*, Rubus Idaeus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Tocopherol (Vit E), Calendula Officinalis Flower (Calendula) Flower Extract* *Organic

You can see that this non-toxic sunscreen is made with non-nano zinc, beeswax, oils, shea butter, vitamin E, and extracts. There are no artificial fragrances or harmful chemicals. This is baby-safe sunscreen and reef-safe sunscreen. In addition, all Earth Mama sunscreens were tested for PFAs and none were detected.

This natural sunscreen is pediatrician and dermatologist-tested, water-resistant (for 40 Min), and rated a 1 by the EWG. This is my sunscreen of choice for my whole family. This company also has a chemical-free baby face sunscreen stick with very clean ingredients if you prefer a stick sunscreen.

2. Two Peas Organics SPF 50 Unscented Mineral Lotion

Two Peas Organics - All Natural Organic SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion - Coral Reef Safe - Baby, Kid & Family Friendly - Chemical Free Mineral Based Formula - Waterproof & Unscented – 3oz

The ingredients for this clean sunscreen are as follows: Non-nano Zinc Oxide (25%), Apricot Kernel Oil*, Argan Oil*, Beeswax*, Castor Oil*, Coconut Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Raspberry Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil*, Shea Butter*, Tocopherol (vitamin E), * Certified Organic Ingredient

This clean mineral sunscreen only contains non-nano zinc, oils, beeswax, shea butter, and vitamin E. No bad stuff! It has broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection to help prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging. It is also water resistant (40 min), cruelty-free, biodegradable, reef-safe, and it contains organic ingredients. This is a safe sunscreen for babies and for the whole family.

3. Waxhead Baby Sunscreen- Organic Baby Sunscreen for Kids and Adults

Waxhead Baby Sunscreen 0-6 months - Infant Sunscreen, Toddler Sunscreen, Baby Sunscreen 6-12 months, Baby Sunscreen 12-24 months, Organic Baby Sunscreen for Kids and Adults (4 ounce)

The ingredients in this non-toxic sunscreen are as follows: 25% Non-nano zinc oxide, spring water, certified organic extra virgin olive oil, certified organic beeswax, vitamin E, and vitamin D.

This clean sunscreen for kids (or for adults) has only 6 ingredients and they are all clean. Are you looking for a safe sunscreen for your baby? This clean sunscreen won’t burn eyes, sting sensitive skin, or cause rashes. With that said, the whole family can use this sunscreen including adults.  It contains no gluten, soy, dairy, or nuts, and it is also tear-free, cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic. To apply, make sure to knead the tube to mix first. It does contain water and can separate.

Do you prefer a stick sunscreen? They make a stick version and now that I am looking at the ingredients, I might prefer this one over the liquid version.

Waxhead Coral Reef Safe Sunscreen Stick - Biodegradable Sunscreen for Face and Body, Mineral Sunscreen for Baby, Tattoo, Hawaii Approved, Waterproof, Matte, Physical Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Face Stick

The ingredients in this stick sunscreen are 25% non-nano zinc oxide, organic coconut oil, organic beeswax, and organic vanilla extract. Both products are clean so take your pick, however, when using a sunscreen stick, it’s important to apply ALOT to get good SPF coverage. So if you don’t want to apply a ton, I’d opt for the lotion.

4. Badger SPF 40 Baby Reef Safe Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream

Badger SPF 40 Baby Reef Safe Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream with Clear Zinc Oxide, Broad Spectrum & Water Resistant, Chamomile, 2.9 Fl Oz

The ingredients in this sunscreen are as follows: Uncoated zinc oxide 22.5%, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Vitamin E, Organic Calendula Flower Extract, Organic Chamomile Oil, Organic Seabuckthorn Fruit Extract. 98% organic ingredients and certified non-GMO.

You’ll notice that this sunscreen lists its zinc oxide as uncoated. What is uncoated zinc oxide (clear zinc oxide)? I explained it in one of the opening paragraphs of this article, but this is how Badger explained it on their site: “Clear zinc oxide is a specialized type of mineral zinc oxide powder whose particles have a porous surface texture (like a sea sponge) that doesn’t reflect as much visible light as standard non-nano zinc oxide and is therefore less whitening on the skin. The large particle size of clear zinc oxide gives it the same outstanding safety and efficacy of standard non-nano zinc oxide. It won’t absorb into your body, it won’t harm the environment, and it provides excellent UVA and UVB protection.”

After researching clear zinc, I found that studies have shown it to be safe. It’s also reef-safe as well. In addition, this non-toxic sunscreen has 98% organic ingredients and is also non-GMO. It’s free of harmful chemicals, is water-resistant (40 min), and is made with soothing chamomile and calendula. This clean baby sunscreen is cruelty-free and made with 100% solar power in the USA by a women-owned family business.

I listed the baby sunscreen here because I like using baby sunscreen for the whole family. Sometimes I find that baby sunscreen has more gentle ingredients, however, this company has many clean sunscreens so feel free to take your pick.

5. Raw Elements Baby + Kids SPF 30 Organic Sunscreen Lotion Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

Raw Elements Baby + Kids SPF 30 Organic Sunscreen Lotion Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Reef-Safe, Cruelty-Free, Gentle and Moisturizing, Zero Waste Tin, 3oz

The ingredients in this clean sunscreen are as follows: 25% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax), Cocos Nucifera (Organic Coconut) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Calendula Officinalis (Organic Calendula) Flower Extract, Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Organic Chamomile), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Natural Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Natural Sunflower Vitamin E)

This non-toxic sunscreen for babies and kids comes in a zero-waste tin, doesn’t sting eyes, and is water-resistant (80 min). It’s also reef-safe, cruelty-free, non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. This clean sunscreen contains no synthetic chemicals and it’s packed with nourishing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, so your skin stays protected long after sun exposure. It’s not just for babies and kids, it’s for everyone.

Do you prefer a tube of sunscreen? They have another version that is also clean.

Raw Elements Face and Body All-Natural Mineral Sunscreen - Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, 95% Organic, Water Resistant, Reef Safe, Cruelty Free, SPF 30+, All Ages Safe, Moisturizing, Bio-Resin Tube, 3oz

6. Butter Me Up Organics Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Sunscreen – Natural Organic Sunscreen

The Best Clean Sunscreen

The ingredients in this sunscreen are as follows: Coconut Oil*, Shea Butter*, Mango Butter*, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide*, Non-GMO Grapeseed Oil, Vitamin E*, Beeswax*
*Indicates certified organic.

Can I just say wow to these ingredients? I love this. I’m also all about body butters. I know that I use Earth Mama sunscreen, but after discovering this one, I also bought a jar. Not only is this sunscreen providing you with SPF protection with its non-nano zinc, but the shea butter, mango butter, and coconut oil also provide a natural SPF of 10-15. In addition, this clean sunscreen is also providing your skin with antioxidants and hydration. It is moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, protective, soothing, and healing. For those of you who are deep into non-toxic living, I did check if their grapeseed oil was hexane-free (since it’s not organic) and they replied that it was indeed hexane-free.

This non-toxic sunscreen is shipped plastic-free. It contains no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes, or synthetic fragrances. It’s cruelty-free and of course, organic! Shop the link below to get 10% off.

7. ZERO Waste Natural Sunscreen Stick

ZERO Waste Natural Sunscreen Stick 100% Plastic Free, Reef Safe, KID FRIENDLY Non Nano Zinc Oxide, Plastic Free Cardboard Push Up Tube, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil

The ingredients in this non-toxic sunscreen are as follows: Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Beeswax, Vitamin E

I love the simplicity of this clean sunscreen stick! Just a few ingredients that are all clean and safe with no harsh chemicals. This sunscreen is a SPF 20, but it states to apply more for a SPF 50. The more you put on, the more protection it provides. I said this one other time in this article, but sunscreen sticks require ALOT of swipes before they will give you the SPF coverage that is indicated on the package. Just beware! The packaging is also plastic-free and sustainable with “zero waste”. It provides full UVA and UVB Protection with non-nano zinc oxide. In addition, it’s cruelty-free and fair-trade.

8. Little Hands Hawaii

Reef Safe Organic Mineral Sunscreen Face & Body (Original) - Plastic Free - All Natural

The ingredients in this natural mineral sunscreen are as follows: 23% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Kokum Butter, Local Beeswax, Vitamin E Oil, and Frankincense Essential Oil.

This company is a small family-owned business on the big island of Hawaii. They use organic and locally sourced ingredients that are packed with antioxidants and skin-nourishing oils and butters. There are no chemicals or preservatives. This biodegradable formula is packaged in a recyclable tin and is completely plastic-free and earth-friendly. This is a great sunscreen for babies or toddlers since it won’t sting eyes or run. This clean mineral sunscreen is also great for sensitive skin.

9. f.a.e. by Thrive Market, Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30

Sorry that I don’t have a picture for this one. Here are the ingredients: Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (18.75%) Non-nanoparticle Inactive Ingredients: Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, non-GMO Tocopherol (Vitamin E). *Organic

This safe mineral sunscreen is made with really clean ingredients and it is by far the cheapest. It’s water-resistant up to 80 minutes, cruelty-free, and absorbs well without greasy residue. You can see the ingredients above, but of course, there aren’t any parabens, phthalates, harsh chemicals, or fragrances.

To buy this sunscreen, you need a Thrive Market membership. Thrive Market is a great way to save money and buy organic groceries. It’s an online service that ships groceries to your door. They have thousands of organic and sustainable products. They also don’t sell products with artificial flavors or colors. At the time of this article, the price is $5/month, billed annually, or $12/month, billed monthly. Get 30% OFF your first order and a FREE gift when you join Thrive Market at the link below.

10. Shwally Zinc & Avocado Mineral Sunscreen 30SPF – 100% Grass Fed Tallow

Shwally Zinc & Avocado Mineral SunBalm 30SPF, The Only Real Primal Sun Lotion, 100% Grass Fed Tallow, Avocado Oil and Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Pregnancy and Nursing safe (4 Oz - Not Tinted)

The ingredients in this natural mineral sunblock are as follows: 100% Grass-Fed & Finished Beef Tallow, Organic Avocado Pulp Oil, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Organic Unrefined Beeswax

This is the only sunscreen on this list that has tallow in it. If you’re unfamiliar with tallow, it’s a type of fat extracted from cows and sheep known as suet fat. It has beneficial properties for skincare, thanks to its rich content of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Grassfed tallow, like this one, has higher CLA content and also harbors antimicrobial and antifungal qualities. In addition, this sunscreen contains avocado oil which is also beneficial to your skin. If you haven’t heard of tallow, you might be hesitant to try it because it’s made of animal fat, however, people have used this ingredient throughout history, and in low-tox groups, tallow is huge right now since it is non-toxic and fabulous for skin care.

This non-toxic mineral sunscreen is water-resistant, reef-safe, and can even be used as a diaper cream!

Looking for a clean mineral face sunscreen? Check out my natural mineral face sunscreen article.

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