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The Best Clean Sunscreen Brands

Sunscreen is important for skin protection, but some brands can be toxic.

Sunscreen is a very important thing. It protects our skin from sustaining damage from the sun’s rays, something that can cause burns, wrinkles, or even skin cancer. It is a good idea to always have sunscreen on hand to use for regular protection. It is one part of your daily routine that should never be neglected. If you neglect sunscreen, it can cause huge consequences for your skin that you would rather not deal with. It is best to choose a brand with a good reputation so that you can end up with the best results. A good sunscreen will keep your skin healthy and make you look and feel great!

Although sunscreen is helpful, not all brands are beneficial to use. Some sunscreens are loaded with chemicals that could end up doing more harm than good when applied to your skin. Some sunscreens have chemicals that can cause some issues you might not expect. Studies have shown that certain chemicals found in popular sunscreen brands, like oxybenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene, can cause some serious damage when used in high concentrations. Certain sunscreens have even been recalled for their toxicity, something that does not bode well for users. Here are some of the cleanest sunscreens that are currently on the market. 

Alba Botanica 

An orange and green sunscreen spray bottle on a hat and sunglasses.
This spray bottle goes on clear. Image courtesy of I Heart Publix

Alba Botanica makes products that are 100% vegetarian. Their products contain great botanical ingredients meant to nourish your skin. This brand emphasizes love for the natural world and makes sure to show how much they care about it. They reduce their environmental impact however they can by using recycled packaging material wherever they can. None of their products are ever tested on animals. They believe in the ethical treatment of all living things. 

This brand’s sunscreens exclude some of the harmful substances that you may find in others. They make sure not to include any unnecessary ingredients like artificial coloring in their products. All their sunscreens are free of the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. They contain safe amounts of the active ingredients necessary to block out the sun, and also contain botanical extracts like mango fruit extract, aloe leaf juice, and orange peel oil. All of Alba’s sunscreens are biodegradable. They break down well in nature with minimal impact on the environment. Your skin and the environment will thank you for using this brand!

Pacifica

A sparkly pink, orange, and blue spray bottle in someone's hand.
Your skin will get a blast of nutrients when you rub this on! Image courtesy of Pacifica

Pacifica is a vegan brand that supplies cruelty free sunscreen and sun care. Their products are 100% vegan, so you don’t have to worry about contributing to animal cruelty when you use them. You won’t find tons of harmful chemicals in these products, everything they have excludes the kinds of chemicals you can find in most others. This sunscreen rubs on sheer and is water resistant. It provides similar benefits to a chemical laden sunscreen without the harmful effects to your skin and body. It even works for all skin types!

Aside from excluding the types of chemicals that cause harm, these products also include ingredients that improve the health of your skin. They have mineral protection infused to give maximum positive benefits. Many of their offerings include ingredients like turmeric, watermelon, and minerals like zinc oxide. They also contain vitamins C and E, depending on the formula. These sunscreens deeply hydrate the skin and give it a pretty glow. You will be able to see the positive changes in your skin over time, unlike with other products that simply coat your skin without providing much benefit. You also can’t ignore the fun product designs!

Babo Botanicals

An adult spray bottle next to one for babies in the sand near a shovel.
You can easily share these products with small children. Image courtesy of Babo Botanicals

This brand was originally made with babies and young children in mind, but over time it expanded to serve people of all ages. Babo is formulated to be as safe as possible for babies, and you can be sure that it will be safe on your skin if it's good enough for a baby. The founder, who used to be a hair and skincare product developer for big brands, has a huge passion for sustainable agriculture that has led her to creating these products that she truly believes in. This brand aims to provide the highest quality skincare for families, and has been supplying these pure products for almost a decade. 

Babo Botanicals sunscreen was made to work for even the most sensitive of skin. It is fragrance free and hypoallergenic, making it a really safe choice. It does not contain any oxybenzone or any octinoxate, ingredients you would likely find inside most other sunscreens. It contains many good ingredients meant to improve the health of your skin. The first ingredient of their Sheer Mineral Sunscreen is Aloe Leaf Juice! That ingredient is followed by different oils and extracts, and also their exclusive Nuri-Soothe Complex that is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. 

Badger

A small squeeze bottle in front of the ocean and a palm tree.
This healthy sunscreen will be a great outdoor companion! Image courtesy of Badger.

Badger is a company with a mission to use their business for good. It is a certified “B Corporation,” which is a company that balances its profits with purpose. These companies are legally required to consider the impact their choices will have on the global community. They make sure to meet the highest standards of performance, socially and environmentally. Badger has won multiple B Corporation awards throughout the years for its standard of excellence. Their products are formulated to heal its customers as well as the community, economy and planet. 

Badger’s sunscreens, which use clear zinc oxide as the main ingredient, are just as effective as the average sunscreen, but with healthier ingredients. They are lightweight and moisturizing, rich in antioxidants, and don’t include any added fragrance. Badger sunscreens are made with 98% certified organic ingredients. They have far fewer ingredients than most sunscreens on the market. There are no dyes, parabens, petroleum, or GMOs in these products. Instead they have a rich sunflower oil base and include other healthy natural ingredients like beeswax, fruit extract, and sunflower seed oil. They are all biodegradable and coral reef safe, so they are as good for the land as they are for your skin. 

Sun Bum

A brown bottle with a yellow monkey face on a rocky mountainside.
This fun brand will keep your skin well protected in the sun. Image courtesy of Little Grunts

Sun Bum’s clear zinc sunscreen provides great moisturizing protection. This company was founded in 2010 with the intention to protect friends and family’s skin from the sun. Their offices are based in sundrenched communities in Florida and California, where skin protection is necessary. They care a lot about the planet, animals, and families, and they make that clear with their products. They make sure not to include ingredients that would harm any living thing. They have a mascot named Sonny, who is a large monkey pictured on their product containers. It is a really fun design that fits with the other fun elements of this brand. They raise awareness for skin cancer in their campaign, “We are not bananas.” They covered a statue in each state with a giant banana suit for sun protection. 

Sun Bum’s products are vegan, cruelty free, and paraben free. These reef friendly products exclude many of the harmful substances that could cause harm to the environment and to your skin. They instead seek to avoid harming the environment. These products are filled with clean ingredients like zinc oxide, aloe, and vitamin e. Your skin will benefit greatly from using them, and you will likely be happy with the results. 

Native

A white squeeze bottle next to coconut and pineapple pieces against a white and orange background.
This natural sunscreen has an amazing scent! Image courtesy of Native

Native aims to empower people to use clean personal care products. The founders saw that most personal care products on the market neglected to make sure that they were safe enough for users. They made sure to do things differently. In fact, they so strongly emphasize the importance of knowing what’s in your products, they have full breakdowns of their product ingredients on their website. The products are clean, cruelty free, and very effective. They have an unscented option as well as two amazing flavors to choose from, coconut & pineapple, and rose. 

Native uses the best of ingredients for all the products they offer. They use coconut alkanes, sunflower seed oil, and zinc oxide. You can be sure that your skin is taking in all the right nutrients when you use this brand. Even ingredients that are not as easily identified are clarified on Native’s site. They use an ingredient called caprylic triglyceride, something most people wouldn’t recognize, but Native explains that it is oil made from coconuts. They even explain the use of ingredients like benzyl alcohol and xanthan gum. You’ll get an education in ingredient use on this site that you wouldn’t get on any other product site. 

Sunscreen should be an important element in anyone’s skincare routine. Protection from the sun is always necessary on a sunny day, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of your overall health. Don’t rub creams loaded with harmful substances into your skin, make sure to get a clean sunscreen the next time you need one!

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Stacey Fleurime

Stacey Fleurime is a Freelance Writer.
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