If you’re going to go clean and nontoxic at all, your SPF is the place to do it. Not only are mineral (i.e. physical) sunscreens soothing to your skin (by contrast, chemical sunscreens contain some of the most irritating chemicals in the beauty industry), they exclude the common chemical sunscreen ingredients that have been found to kill coral reefs.
In May, Hawaii passed a bill to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate to protect their reefs against bleaching. (Govenor David Ige is expected to sign it this week.) The reefs around Hawaii and in the Caribbean Sea seem to suffer particular damage, which is believed to be linked to the estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen deposited every year into the world’s oceans.
All the sun protection in the goop shop is free of oxybenzone and octinoxate—and any other chemical sunscreen ingredient. Beyond the absence of specific chemical sunscreen ingredients, non-nano-sized ingredients are thought to be safer for coral reefs.