40 Best Organic Sunscreens of 2020 (Non-Toxic & Natural)

40 Best Organic Sunscreens of 2020 (Non-Toxic & Natural)

WRITTEN BY:  DIANE ELIZABETH K. | PUBLISHED: 03/22/2018 | LAST UPDATED: 01/17/2020

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.

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TAKE THE QUIZ & FIND THE PERFECT ORGANIC SUNSCREEN

Make sure that the next natural sunscreen you try is the right one for your skin! Get matched to your perfect organic and all natural sunscreens in seconds with our Organic & Natural Sunscreens Quiz. Click now to get started.

Babo Botanicals – Baby Skin Natural Mineral Sunscreen ($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.

The Ox Box: Organic Beauty Box (No Subscription!)

Can't decide which yummy organic skin care products to try first? Then let us choose the best skin care products for your skin type with our organic beauty box! Choose from 3 different boxes (based on your skin type) and get a full skin care routine for 40-60% off retail. No Subscription required! Limited quantities each season.

*100% Pure – Everywhere Body Stick Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 ($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.

*Badger – Organic Baby Sunscreen SPF 30

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.

*Kiss My Face Organics – Kids Organic Sunscreen SPF 30

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.

*Babo Botanicals – Clear Zinc SPF 30 Organic Sunscreen ($19.95)

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.

*Erbaviva – Baby Organic Sunscreen SPF 30

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.

*All Good – Organic Sunscreen for Kids SPF 30

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.

*Coola Suncare – Unscented Organic Baby Sunscreen SPF 50

Made with 70% organic ingredients and designed to provide maximum SPF 50 protection for delicate baby skin. It is crafted with both titanium dioxide (7.3%) and zinc oxide (4.3%). Due to the higher SPF, this formula has a very thick consistency (keeping the tube warm helps a little with this) and does leave a noticeable white residue. Ideal for babies and kids who need extra sun protection as the white tint may be too much for adult users.

*Nurture My Body – Unscented Baby Organic Sunscreen SPF 32

Nurture My Body is a wonderful non-toxic and natural brand that continues to make outstanding products. This sunscreen is both super pure and super effective. It is SPF 32 (25% non-nano zinc oxide) and made with organic + natural ingredients like olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. Just give the product a shake before use and apply a small amount to the skin. It's thick, but it rubs in fairly easily and leaves a mild white reside.

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:

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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This Article Was Written By…

Diane Elizabeth K., Founder at SkinCareOx.com

Diane Elizabeth founded Skin Care Ox in 2016 after her personal struggle to find truly clean, natural, and organic products. Leveraging her background in biomedical engineering, scientific research + analytics, and entrepreneurship, she created Skin Care Ox to be an easy-to-use resource to find real clean beauty options. Since then, her articles have been read by over 3 Million people and have helped millions choose cleaner alternatives. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband and growing family.
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PRODUCT BADGES LEGEND
100% NATURAL

100% NATURAL

The product contains only natural ingredients (non-synthetic or lab created). It does not contain anything artificial or synthetic.

100% ORGANIC

100% ORGANIC

The product has been formulated with 100% organically sourced and/or certified organic ingredients.

GMO FREE

GMO FREE

This product does not contain ingredients which have been genetically modified.

GLUTEN FREE

GLUTEN FREE

All of the ingredients contained in the product are free from gluten, wheat, and ingredients which are commonly contaminated with gluten.

VEGAN

VEGAN

The product is made without animal products or byproducts such as beeswax, honey, milk, eggs, etc.

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CERTIFIED ORGANIC

The product has received an official organic certification from a third party organization such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA Certified Organic), ECOCERT, Australian Certified Organic, and others.

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