Zero waste sunscreen: This is how natural sun protection works

The skin is our largest organ - it is therefore particularly important to take a closer look when choosing sun protection and to choose natural and zero waste sunscreen

zero waste and sustainable sunscreen

Author: Miko Takama

Finally, when we open the window in the morning, we can smell the summer. Since it’s getting warmer and days are getting longer, it’s more important than ever to wear your sunscreen. We all know that using sunscreen is the best way to prevent skin cancer and early skin ageing. It is preferable to use organic sun protection and, best of all, zero waste sunscreen. Learn why conventional sun creams are harmful and find a selection of the most beautiful brands for natural and zero waste sunscreen.

Disadvantages of conventional sunscreens

Ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, and parabens can accumulate in both humans and sea creatures over time. With people swimming in the ocean and washing the sunscreen off in the shower, It is estimated that 14.000 tons of sunscreen lotions end up in coral reefs each year. Therefore famous holiday destinations like Hawaii and Palau, Australia, banned sunscreens containing ingredients that could damage coral reefs.

In addition, the ingredients shouldn't harm your skin either. Conventional sunscreen can contain toxic, synthetic chemicals that are known to be hormone disruptors among other health risks. That is why we recommend natural sunscreens. You can recognise these by the common eco-labels for certified natural cosmetics or by looking at the ingredients list. Find out more about this topic here.


Do-List of natural ingredients for zero waste sunscreen

When it comes to sunscreen, “natural” refers to physical sunscreens that use minerals to block UV rays. Mineral sunscreens protect skin by reflecting and scattering UVA and UVB radiation, whereas, chemical sunscreen penetrate your skin and protect the skin by dissipating UV rays. Although the current research supports the safe use of chemical sunscreens, because chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin and bloodstream, mineral sunscreens are definitely the safest option.

Especially for sensitive skin or children. Zinc oxide, a mineral ingredient usually used in mineral sunscreens is safe and is not absorbed into the body, and sit on the skin reflecting the sun’s harmful rays. For this reason, mineral sunscreen is particularly beneficial in minimising skin inflammation and redness associated with acne and rosacea.

Zero waste and plastic-free - natural sunscreen cosmetics

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation plastic packaging accounts for an estimated 26% of the total volume of plastic created a year. Around 72% of it is thrown away. In the EU, total packaging waste in 2016 amounted to nearly 87 million tons or, in other words, about 170 kg per person. Therefore, choosing responsible, plastic free packaging and ingredients are a good alternative to reduce the environmental impact.

In addition, microplastics should also be avoided in the packaging material. Investigations of Beat The Microbead found that 72% of sun protection products contain Micro plastic . Most products can include up to 9 plastic components. Involving acrylates, triacontany PVP, carbomer, dimethicone and hydroxyethyl acrylate. But there are some brands that have found ways to make zero waste sunscreen products, without plastic packaging and free of microplastics.

The best brands for zero waste sunscreen from natural cosmetics

We have put together a list of sustainable, zero waste and microplastic-free sunscreens for you. With these sun creams made from natural cosmetics, you are perfectly prepared for this summer.

1. dr Barbara Sturm: Sun Drops SPF 50

This light-textured serum helps protect your skin against sun damage and ageing such as dark spots and skin discolouration. Sun Drops include ingredients including Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E which moisturise the skin, and Green Tea Leaf Extract and Chamomile Flower Extract help protect your skin from radical damage while soothing the sun-exposed skin and promoting the skin resiliency. This product is cruelty-free, GMO-free and fragrance-free.

Sustainability factor: Cruelty-free, non-GMO, fragrance-free, glass bottle

Where to buy: dr Barbara Sturm

Vessel of sun cream natural cosmetics Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops

Source & Copyright Dr. Barbara Sturm

2. Kypris Beauty: Pot of Shade Heliotropic SPF 30

This luxurious, multifunctional cream works as primer and sunscreen. Free of petrochemicals, silicone, synthetic fragrances, plastics and GMOs. This broad-spectrum, beautifully translucent formula boost and moisturise your skin with active botanicals and nourishing oils. It is creamy without being greasy, neither is too matte, makes the foundation last longer. This product is also cruelty-free, synthetic fragrance-free, and vegan. Packaged into a beautiful glass bottle, you can reuse it as a candle jar. Ideal for sensitive skin.

Sustainability factor: Gluten-free, non-nano, glass bottle

Where to buy: Kypris Beauty


Source & Copyright Kypris Beauty

3. Salt & Stone: Lightweight Sheer Daily Sunscreen SPF 40

A water- and sweat-resistant, 100% mineral and oil-free sun protection moisturizer with sun protection factor 40. This sunscreen is very lightweight and silky sits perfectly under makeup. Formulated with Ashwagandha, an ancient medicinal herb, and hyaluronic acid hydrate your skin and offer antioxidant properties. Packaged into an aluminium tube that can be recycled an infinite number of times, making it a truly circular material.

Sustainability factor: Aluminum tube packaging, zinc oxide, protection from blue light

Where available: Salt & Stone

Bottle of the Salt and Stone Sunscreen Natural Lightweight Sheer Daily

Source & Copyright Salt & Stone

4. Grown Alchemist: Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30

This award-winning sun protection from Grown alchemist is easy-to-blend, melts effortlessly into your skin and provides broad-spectrum protection from damaging UVA/B rays. Enriched with Parsley Seed Extract, Vitamin C and Rosehip Oil reduce the visible signs of ageing, deliver immediate intensive hydration and protect the skin from free radicals. The texture is very creamy but it doesn’t leave a white cast. It has a subtle cent that doesn’t smell like typical SPF. Suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

Sustainability factor: Aluminum packaging, zinc oxide, 100% natural and reef safe

Where to buy: Grown alchemist

Source & Copyright Grown Alchemist


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