40 Best Natural & Organic Sunscreens of 2020 That Are Non-Toxic
Update: A recent study conducted by the FDA and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that commonly used chemical sunscreens (like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octocrylene) are absorbed into the bloodstream at potentially toxic levels after just one day of use (source)! Our list of sunscreens below contain NO chemical sunblocks. Protect your health and choose an all-natural mineral sunscreen.
A good organic sunscreen is a vital part of any complete skin care routine. While sunlight can provide all sorts of health benefits (like aiding in the body’s production of vitamin D and serotonin), too much exposure can cause serious long-term damage to your skin. This damage can range from mild to life-threatening including premature wrinkling of the skin, age spots, severe skin burns, and even cancer. A good rule of thumb is to wear a healthy sunscreen product on your face and any other exposed areas every day. This is because sun damage can accumulate over time from short and incidental sun exposure each day. Even if you are spending most of your days indoors, you can still be fully exposed to powerful UVA rays (these rays can penetrate glass windows). Ideally, you’ll want to reapply your organic sunscreen every two hours; however, this can be a difficult + inconvenient habit to build. Try using a solid SPF 30 product (longer protection), wearing a hat + sunglasses when outdoors, and making a note to reapply your sunscreen before going outside. Keeping a jar of sunscreen in your bag or car will help to solidify this habit. Also, your lips need SPF protection too! Check out our favorite organic lip balms with SPF protection in our article: 40 Best Organic Lip Balms of 2019.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ineffective sunscreens on the market today. In a recent Environmental Working Group report, 75% of the sunscreen products that they examined provided inadequate protection from the sun. Most sunscreens available today typically offer protection in the form of either a mineral sunscreen or a chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals sit on the surface of your skin and physically reflect sunlight away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens work a bit differently and have caused concern amongst dermatologists and researchers. Instead of physically deflecting UV light away from the skin, chemical sunscreens absorb the UV radiation into the skin and dissipate the energy via a chemical reaction under the skin. Additionally, there is concern that chemical sunscreen ingredients can permeate into the bloodstream rather readily after minimal usage. Because of this, most dermatologists recommend using mineral sunscreens instead of chemical sunscreens. Common chemical sunscreen ingredients to avoid include oxybenzone (one of the worst offenders), avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. To learn more about organic sunscreens and how they work, jump to our Guide to Using Natural & Organic Sunscreens at the bottom of this page.
For this 2018 top list of the best organic sunscreens, we reviewed hundreds of products to bring you the safest and most effective sunscreens we could find. This list is composed of entirely mineral-based organic sunscreens which use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for active sun protection. Every organic sunscreen product on this list 1) contains organic + natural ingredients 2) does not contain chemical sunscreens and 3) avoids the use of ingredients like such as parabens, PEG compounds, phthalates, formaldehydes, ethoxylated ingredients, petrochemicals, triclosan, TEA/DEA, and synthetic fragrances + colors. If you are searching for a tinted SPF organic sunscreen, then check out our list of Best Organic Face Moisturizers of 2019 and filter by “SPF.”
If you’re still on the fence about which sunscreen product will work best for your skin, then check out The Ox Box! Each quarter, we’ll send you a box filled with premium organic skin care products (including sunscreens) that have been hand-selected based on your specific skin type and skin conditions.
Price : $19.95
An amazing sunscreen for babies, adults with sensitive skin, or anyone looking for a great mineral sunscreen without the nasty chemicals. Here are just a few of the highlights from this all natural sunscreen: It's made with 20% non-nano zinc oxide, rubs in easily, provides SPF 50 protection, fragrance free, water resistant, and highly rated on EWG for safety. It's a thick cream (great for kiddos), so you do have to rub a little (it's not clear on application), but it absorbs surprisingly well.
Shop BABO BOTANICALS – BABY SKIN NATURAL MINERAL SUNSCREEN
Price : $18.99
This is a totally non-toxic and non-nano organic moisturizer with SPF 20 that is a perfect fit for all skin types. It is non-comedogenic and specifically formulated for facial skin. Unlike other SPF creams, this absorbs effortlessly and doesn't leave a white cast. Online reviews from across the web rave about this product's non-greasy texture, affordable price, and non-irritating formula which allows for daily wear. Works great as a makeup base.
Shop *BEAUTY BY EARTH – MINERAL FACIAL ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF
Price : $8
The design of this organic sunscreen from 100% Pure makes it so handy. This convenient little SPF 30 stick is packed with 2.5% zinc oxide and 8% titanium dioxide. The creamy stick goes on super smooth and rubs in easily. It is actually a bit easier to apply than traditional sunscreen lotions. Best of all, it is made with 100% natural and certified organic ingredients which make this organic sunscreen gentle enough for children and babies.
Shop *100% PURE – EVERYWHERE BODY STICK ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $18.50
One of the most impressive things about this organic sunscreen is how light it feels on the skin. Despite its thick consistency, the product rubs in easily and doesn't feel heavy. This is an SPF 50 formula (25% zinc oxide) that is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. A great choice for outdoor activities. With the exception of vitamin E, this sunscreen contains all organic ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, calendula, and jojoba oil.
Shop *ALL GOOD – ORGANIC SPORT SUNSCREEN BUTTER SPF 50
Price : $16.61
One of the top rated organic baby sunscreens available. If you want to protect your little ones from sunburn without the harmful chemicals, then this sunscreen is your best bet. It's 100% natural and organic, SPF 30, broad spectrum, and is made with 18.75% non-nano zinc oxide. While this sunscreen has a very thick consistency, it absorbs easily. Organic ingredients include sunflower oil, beeswax, chamomile, calendula, and sea buckthorn oil.
Shop *BADGER – ORGANIC BABY SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $19.99
A little of this sunscreen goes a (very) long way. In fact, I recommend using less than a 1/2 pump if you are using this on your face; apply too much of this 20% zinc oxide formula and it will leave a white tint. On the other hand, no need to hold back when applying to your body. A full pump rubs in nicely on the arms, neck, and legs. Offers 80 minute water resistance ( for sweating or swimming). This mineral sunscreen is made with all natural ingredients like sunflower oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, argan oil, and hemp oil.
Shop *RAW ELEMENTS – DAILY LIFESTYLE SPF 30 MINERAL SUNSCREEN
Price : $18.80
A nice daily broad spectrum, SPF 25, and organic sunscreen made with 14% non-nano zinc oxide. It's formulated like a moisturizer and works great under makeup. Rubs in easily, won't leave white streaks behind, and contains a ton of moisturizing ingredients like calendula, sunflower oil, rosehip fruits, and rose oil. This formula is non-comedogenic (won't clog pores), hypoallergenic, and not too oily; making it a good choice for acne-prone skin.
Shop *BADGER – ROSE ORGANIC SUNSCREEN FOR FACE SPF
Price : $20.95
A tinted version of Babo Botancial's awesome sheer organic sunscreen. This sunscreen is great layered over your moisturizer, works as a replacement moisturizer, and it can even be worn as a nice SPF primer under makeup. It's made with a combination of titanium dioxide (6%) and zinc oxide (6%), which helps create the sheer application. It's just a nice light tint that washes away any hint of white residue.
Shop *BABO BOTANICALS – DAILY SHEER TINTED SPF 30 ORGANIC SUNSCREEN
Price : $55
A broad spectrum SPF 30 organic sunscreen made with 9% titanium dioxide. This sunscreen has the silky consistency of a good moisturizer and absorbs almost completely transparent after application. It's loaded with nourishing ingredients like organic aloe, green tea, vitamin E, sesame oil, and hyaluronic acid. The formula is moisturizing without feeling greasy, chalky, or heavy. Works well as a daily moisturizer after toning or under makeup.
Shop *HYNT BEAUTY – SUN PREP ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 25
Price : $16
Even though this is a thick water-resistant sports formula, this organic sunscreen blends so easily without leaving any white residue. It is SPF 30 and made with 20% zinc oxide. Provides strong protection from the sun during outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, or running. Gentle organic ingredients and a high zinc oxide content make this great for sensitive + acne prone skin types. Also moisturizing with aloe, coconut, and jojoba.
Shop *JUICE BEAUTY – SPORT ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $16
A powerful natural SPF 50 sunscreen made with 17% non-nano zinc oxide that can hold its own for up to 80 minutes against sweat and water (perfect for hiking, exercises, or swimming). It also contains nourishing organic ingredients like organic tamanu seed oil (soothes and heals), avocado oil (protects), jojoba oil (moisturizes), as well as cocoa and shea butters. All of those moisturizing creams make this SPF easy to apply. Also, the stick format makes it easy to carry in a purse or bag.
Shop *BABO BOTANICALS – SUPER SHIELD SPF 50 NATURAL SUNSCREEN
Price : $75
Pot of Shade is an expertly crafted daily organic sunscreen. This broad spectrum sunscreen boasts a SPF 30 potency and contains 20% non-nano zinc oxide to protect your skin from the sun. Just rub a pea sized amount in your hands and apply to your face (a little goes a long way). The non-greasy formula quickly absorbs into the skin and becomes completely translucent (no whitening effect). Made with organic, wildcrafted, and natural ingredients.
Shop *KYPRIS – POT OF SHADE ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $14.31
A great non-toxic kids sunscreen that is made with 87% organic ingredients and a blend of titanium dioxide (6%) and zinc oxide (6%) for SPF 30 protection. It has a thick consistency which must be rubbed in well to absorb (typical of a water resistant formula). Once absorbed, it provides long-lasting protection from harsh sun conditions. As a bonus, this product is one of EWG's top sunscreens. Made with organic beeswax, sunflower, and sesame oil.
Shop *KISS MY FACE ORGANICS – KIDS ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : http://shrsl.com/20tqu
Another great option from Babo! Babo products keep making this list because they are fragrance free, broad spectrum, water resistant, SPF 30, and made with certified organic ingredients and non-nano zinc oxide for long-lasting protection for the whole family! This Clear Zinc sunscreen glides on smooth and rubs in super clear. Great for everyday protection on the go or to be worn under makeup. You can find this product featured in our Sunscreens Discovery Kit at a huge discount.
Shop *BABO BOTANICALS – CLEAR ZINC SPF 30 ORGANIC SUNSCREEN
Price : $48
A simply luxurious organic sunscreen formula that feels more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen. This broad spectrum SPF 28 (17% non-nano zinc oxide) sunscreen is made with a nice blend of moisturizing organic + natural ingredients like avocado oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, macadamia nut seed oil, plum seed oil, and red raspberry seed oil. As a makeup base, just mix a few pumps of this sunscreen into your liquid foundation and apply as usual.
Shop *KARI GRAN – THREE SIXTY FIVE SPF 28
Price : $85
A luxurious broad spectrum organic sunscreen and potent daily moisturizer in one product. This SPF 30 formula is not only made with 12% non-nano zinc oxide for powerful sun protection, but it's also packed with certified organic anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin nourishing ingredients. This sunscreen reduces redness (borage seed oil + sage), fights acne (linden + nettles + chamomile), and repairs skin (burdock + bilberry + sea buckthorn).
Shop *JOSH ROSEBROOK – NUTRIENT DAY CREAM ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $23
Erbaviva's organic baby sunscreen is strong enough to protect the most delicate skin (broad spectrum SPF 30 with 20% zinc oxide). This lightweight formula rubs in quickly without leaving a stark white residue behind. It is made with gentle certified organic ingredients that won't irritate baby's skin like aloe, chamomile, jojoba oil, lavender oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil. Great for the outdoors and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Shop *ERBAVIVA – BABY ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $25
An expertly crafted SPF 30 organic sunscreen paste made with zinc oxide. It has a firm consistency that applies surprisingly smoothly. Because this sunscreen doesn't leave a white cast and isn't too oily, it makes a great base for makeup. Contains simple organic and natural ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa powder, beeswax, and tea tree oil. The tea tree oil scent is very light, although some reviewers have described the scent as "medicinal."
Shop EIR NYC – SURF MUD ORGANIC SUNSCREEN BALM SPF 30
Price : $54
This is a great daily, lightweight, natural sunscreen made with 10% zinc oxide, aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, and rose extract. This is a mild SPF 18 lotion that works great under makeup or over your daily moisturizer for light protection. If you have dry skin, we recommend using this on top of a moisturizer or oil serum for better absorption. The great thing about this SPF is that a little goes a very long way! Just one pump is enough to cover your entire face.
Shop *URSA MAJOR – DAILY DEFENSE ORGANIC SPF 18 SUNSCREEN
Price : $32.99
Rated one of the EWG's top recommended non-toxic sunscreens. Doubles as both a daily moisturizer and an SPF 30 organic sunscreen all in one. Contains both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This formula goes on smooth and isn't tacky. With the exception of water and sunscreen minerals, everything in this product is 100% organic. It was crafted for sensitive + acne-prone skin and contains healing ingredients like aloe, tea tree, and hazelnut oil.
Shop *SANRE – SPARKLING ALOE-SOLAR ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $13.99
All Good's organic sunscreen for kids is designed to protect their skin from the sun while it repairs damaged skin. It has SPF 30 protection with 12% non-nano zinc oxide and contains soothing organic ingredients like chamomile, buriti oil, green tea, and safflower oil. Rubs in easily, but it does leave a white residue. It's also a sport formula which is water-resistant for 80 minutes. A very economical choice given the quality and effectiveness.
Shop *ALL GOOD – ORGANIC SUNSCREEN FOR KIDS SPF 30
Price : $23
An SPF 30 face and body organic sunscreen made with 20% zinc oxide. It has a slight creamy texture which rubs in fairly easily while still providing great protection from the sun. This organic sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, but it easily washes off in the shower at the end of the day. The formula is also very moisturizing. Star organic ingredients include aloe, chamomile, lavender oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil.
Shop *ERBAVIVA – ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 30
Price : $19.99
If you want supreme organic + natural sun protection and don't mind spending a little extra time rubbing your SPF in, then this is a great organic sunscreen for you. It's SPF 25 (14% non-nano zinc oxide), broad spectrum, thick, and doesn't rub in easily. However, once the product is completely absorbed it provides outstanding protection without being greasy. This is a non-irritating, non-comedogenic (won't clog pores), and hypoallergenic formula.
Shop *BEAUTY BY EARTH – MINERAL BODY ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 25
Price : $16.49
This is one heavy-duty tinted organic sunscreen. Not only is this SPF 30+ sunscreen made with a whopping 23% non-nano zinc oxide, it is also packed with skin restorative ingredients like green tea, black tea, coffee bean, hemp seed oil, and sunflower oil. The hint of tint comes from the black tea and coffee beans which help to eliminate the standard pasty white appearance left behind by most heavy zinc sunscreens. It has a very creamy texture that may feel greasy at first until fully absorbed.
Shop *RAW ELEMENTS – TINTED CERTIFIED NATURAL SPF 30 SUNSCREEN
Price : $30.02
The stronger version of EIR NYC's Surf Mud organic sunscreen. It's SPF 50, water resistant, and comes in a handy stick for easier application. The combination of cocoa butter and coconut oil give the product a lightly sweet cocoa scent. Other ingredients in this formula include zinc oxide, cocoa powder, and beeswax. The only downside is that the paper applicator stick doesn't retain moisture well and the product can become dry after a while.
Shop *EIR NYC – SURF MUD PRO ORGANIC SUNSCREEN SPF 50
Guide to Using Natural & Organic Sunscreens
Natural and organic sunscreens are not only effective at protecting your skin from sun damage, but they can also improve the health of your skin. Great natural sunscreens usually contain potent antioxidants (like coconut oil, resveratrol, and green tea) which are beneficial for healing existing sun damage. Zinc oxide, a common active ingredient in natural mineral sunscreens, can heal acne breakouts, help retain moisture, and lower skin inflammation.
Choosing the right natural sunscreen for your particular needs requires a little understanding of how sunscreens work. While an organic sunscreen may sound wonderful on paper, it may not provide the kind of protection that you need. For example, does the sunscreen protect against both types of UV radiation? Does it contain ingredients that are harmful to the skin or speed up sun damage? How long will the product provide sun protection before needing to be reapplied?
This brief sunscreen guide was designed to help you to answer these questions so that you can be more informed when shopping for a natural or organic sunscreen. According to dermatologist and Environmental Working Group recommendations, an “ideal” natural + organic sunscreen should meet the following criteria:
Types of Ultraviolet Rays: UVA + UVB
Radiation energy emitted from the sun reaches the earth in the form of ultraviolet rays (UV). The warmth that we feel from sunlight is made up of two types of rays called ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). These rays each have their own properties and interact with your skin in different ways.
UVB rays are the rays responsible for sunburns. These rays have a short wavelength and can only penetrate the top layers of your skin—causing the surface burn. UVB rays are strong enough to damage our skin’s DNA and are thought to be responsible for the development of most skin cancers.
UVA rays are the rays responsible for tanning and premature aging signs. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and can penetrate two layers beneath the skin into the dermis. The damage that UVA rays causes is more subtle and worsens over time. Unprotected exposure to these rays can cause wrinkles, pigmentation, age spots, and sagging caused by a loss of skin elasticity.
Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays; however, SPF only measures a sunscreen’s ability to filter UVB rays.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it is a measure of how long you can stay out in the sun without getting sunburned. To use it, you simply take the amount of time you can normally spend outside without getting burned and multiply it by the SPF of a product. For example, if you can go 10 minutes outside without getting burned, then an SPF of 30 would allow you to stay out in the sun for 300 minutes (5 hours) before getting burned (10 minutes x 30 SPF).
The higher the SPF, the longer you can stay out in the sun. However, a high SPF doesn’t mean that you’re getting stronger protection. A SPF 50 sunscreen can block about 98% of UV rays while a SPF 100 will only block 99%. No sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays and higher SPFs only add marginal filtering protection.
The amount of time that you can spend out in the sun without getting burned depends upon how much melanin you produce. Melanin is a protective pigment that is found in your skin. This pigment naturally protects your cells from UV radiation. The more melanin/pigment in your skin, the longer you can theoretically stay out in the sun naturally.
Regardless of the SPF rating, it is recommended that sunscreen be reapplied every 2 hours for maximum protection. Everyday activities, friction with clothing, water sports, and sweat can all reduce the amount of sunscreen on your skin.
Mineral Sunscreens vs Chemical Sunscreens
Mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals sit on the surface of your skin and physically reflect sunlight away from the skin. Mineral sunscreens offer many benefits:
- Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not absorb into the skin and provide sun protection as soon as they are applied.
- Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide protection against UVA and UVB rays.
- Zinc oxide has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help to treat acne.
The downside of mineral sunscreens is that they can be thick, take a long time to rub in, and leave a white tint on your skin. Some organic sunscreens contain smaller particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (referred to as micronized or nano-sized) which can make these formulas thinner and easier to apply. While there is a lot of controversy over nano-particles, there is no significant evidence to prove that zinc nano-particles penetrate into the skin in large amounts or cause damage (source).
Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds which absorb UV rays into the skin. Then, by a chemical reaction, these compounds transform UV rays into heat and release that heat from the skin. Common chemical sunscreens are oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone. While chemical sunscreens are easier to apply than mineral sunscreens, there have many downsides:
- Chemical sunscreens must be absorbed into the surface of the skin in order to work properly; thus, you must wait 15-20 minutes after applying before it provides adequate protection.
- The chemical reaction which protects your skin from UV rays occurs under the skin’s surface and increases skin temperature.
- Many of these chemicals have been known to cause skin irritation.
- Multiple chemicals are required to achieve high SPF and UVA + UVB protection (one chemical cannot provide broad spectrum protection on its own). This can increase the risk of skin irritation.
Dermatologists recommend zinc oxide-based mineral sunscreens as opposed to chemical sunscreens.
Sunscreen Sprays vs Sunscreen Lotions
While spray sunscreens are super convenient, they may not provide a lot of sun protection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expressed concern that spray sunscreens may not be able to provide a thick enough coating to achieve their advertised protection. There are also some concerns that the chemicals in sunscreens may be inhaled into the lungs and cause damage. Even mineral sunscreens, like titanium dioxide, can be harmful if inhaled in meaningful amounts.
Until better information on the safety and effectiveness of spray sunscreens becomes available, it’s best to stick with a good old-fashioned lotion sunscreen.