5 Oxybenzone Free Sunscreens

We don’t have to tell you the importance of using a sunscreen. It’s  the summer of 2013 and if you haven’t already been sun burned to a crisp on a cloudy day on the walk from your car to work, then you’re either not human, have an unusual penchant for long sleeves, or already get it.

But what you might not know is that over 50% of SPFs on the market use Oxybenzone as an ingredient. That might interest you because while it is a very effective broadband SPF ingredient, it has also been controversially linked to things like cancer and killing coral reefs. Less devastatingly, it can also be an irritant on sensitive skin.

So, when out shopping for an SPF, you might want to skip the Oxybenzone and look for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Both are physical blockers, meaning they actually block the UVA/B rays from penetrating into your skin. They also can be hard to rub in—hello dorky white streaks. Your savvy SPF manufacturers have been hard at work creating formations of titanium and zinc that do, in fact rub in and we’ve got some excellent choices below.

But chemicals aren’t all terrible. Avobenzone is one of the only chemicals that absorbs the entire UVA spectrum and is a lot easier to rub in. The downsides are that it breaks down down pretty quickly so you’ll want to reapply often.

Other than that, you want to go no lower than SPF 15 and anything higher than 50+ is irrelevant.

We’ve been touring the world this spring and have been testing out SPFs along the way. Here’s 5 oxybenzone free sunscreens that  have kept us safe from sunburn and feeling good.

1—For the Face

Coola Organic Plant UV Face SPF 30

$42 / 1.7 oz


The skin on your face is the most delicate and should be treated with the most care. Zinc is one of the least irritating SPF ingredients available and is also one of the strongest. This is an all natural product made with the natural SPF boosting qualities of Buddleja Davidii plant and lilac leaf stem cells, anti-aging properties of beet root, olive oil and mushroom. Also, it’s unisex so you can share it with your lady friend.

2—The Spray

MD Solar Sciences Quick Dry Body Spray SPF 40

$19 / 5 oz.


The instructions say to spray onto your hands and then your body, but this water-resistant (80 mins) antioxidant rich mist seems to dry almost on contact, so…well, that’s your call. We sprayed it right on and had a day of it at the beach with nary a red mark…or an unwelcome film of slime over our bodies. Plus, it’s non comedogenic, so it’s safe for use on your face. The only thing to keep in mind with this SPF is to apply often. It does not use any physical blockers and will beak down quicker than zinc or titanium based lotions. Basically…keep this near you at the pool.

3—In the Water

Solar Shield Moisturizing Sunblock SPF 28

$19.80 / 4 oz.


Two adventure athletes created Brave Soldier and formulated Solar Shield with Hawaiian surfers in mind. As such, it’s hypoallergenic, safe for coral reefs, very water resistant and made with micronized zinc oxide that rubs in just about on contact.


Elemental Herbs Zinc Sunscreen

$15.99 / 3 oz.


Take this anywhere you’ll be sweating because this reef-safe, hypo allergenic, gluten free, vegan…& biodegradable lotion gets the job done with a powerful-zinc oxide that blends in with ease and won’t sweat into your eyes. Organic green tea and rose hip anti oxidants provide nourishment to your skin while organic jojoba and olive oils keep your skin moisturized.

5—Everyday/Every occasion

Jack Black Sun Guard Sunscreen SPF 45

$21 / 4 oz.


Quite frankly, this might be one of the most perfect sun lotions out there. It uses zink oxide, is chock full of vitamin C, which does a good job at adding life to otherwise dull skin and uses calendula flower to keep your skin from getting irritated. Plus, it’s both very water and sweat resistant, does not clog pores and feels less like an SPF and way more like a luxurious moisturizer.

*Note that the sizes in the image are not to scale