Wherever you live in the world, applying sunscreen every day (summer or winter) is pretty much non-negotiable, particularly if you live in a country like Australia, which has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world (per capita), according the Cancer Council.
However, navigating the vast array of sun care products as a vegan can be somewhat of a minefield, particularly if we’re talking about chemical sunscreens, which frequently contain ingredients that are not only tested on animals, but can also cause harm to the ocean when washed off our skin (more on that in a minute).
The other problem with chemical sunscreens is that, well, they’re chemical and while the debate has raged for years now about whether they’re OK for our health, the jury is still out, so we say ‘nay’ on that one.
But back to the ocean … A recent feature by those awesome ocean protectors, www.parley.tv, tells us that chemical sunscreens are not only a threat to human health, but they are responsible for killing off our coral reefs. Side note: Parley are the folk that brought us those amazing Adidas sneakers that are made from recycled plastic they found in the ocean https://thevegancompany.love/?s=adidas
Their story reports:
‘Half the world’s coral reefs are dead. All of them could be gone by 2050. The once colourful and teeming natural wonders of the world are bleaching at devastating and unprecedented rates. Global warming, plastic pollution and chemical pollution are the main drivers of the destruction, but another culprit is sunscreen.
A 2015 study found it only takes a tiny amount of oxybenzone-containing sunscreen—the equivalent of one drop of water in six-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools—to cause serious damage to a coral reef.”
This is pretty frightening stuff. So, what to do? Easy! Avoid chemical sunscreens and opt for a physical blocker instead. How do you know what’s what? Read the labels. If it contains non-biodegradable ingredients and harmful chemicals (some of the worst are oxybenzone, octinoxate and triclosan, according to Parley), leave it on the shelf.
Next up, reach for physical blockers like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Oxide. While they used to be a bit thicker and did feel sticky on the skin, the formulas are getting better by the day and nowadays you pretty much don’t even notice you’re wearing them. Plus, they’re natural, which means when they wash off, they do very little harm to our fragile planet, and more often than not, they deliver some pretty amazing skin care benefits, too.
Finally, back up your sun protection with a wide brimmed hat, protective clothing and by staying cool in the shade between the hours of 11am and 3pm.
Here are six of our fave vegan sunscreen options:
Life Basics All Natural Facial Sunscreen SPF30, $24.95
Lightweight? Check. Non-greasy? Tick. Great price? You got it! With broad spectrum protection that comes from zinc oxide, plus skin care benefits of Calendula extract, green tea and rosehip oil, this covers all bases. It also has a beautiful scent of rose geranium, which we love.
UV Natural Vegan Sunscreen SPF30+, $20.95
UV Natural is one of the market leaders in natural sunscreen. 100 percent natural, while we wouldn’t suggest having it on your morning toast, it is so organic you could eat it.
Natural Instinct Invisible Natural Sunscreen SPF30, $15.99
This is excellent for regular use. Day-to-day sun protection is its forte; it soaks in well, doesn’t leave much residue and is, as the name would suggest, invisible.
Mukti Organics Daily Moisturiser with Sunscreen SPF15, $54.95
Sure, this is a little more pricey, put the products multi-tasks in a way few others do. First of all, it’s an everyday hydrator, so you can skip that step in your skin care regime. Next up, it magnifies the skin, which we all need in the heat os summer. Then, it contains 20 percent zinc oxide to protect from harmful UV rays and finally, it is packed with antioxidants that guard against skin-stressing free radicals that come about from pollution and environmental aggressors. Love it!
Eco Tan Natural Rose Hip Sunscreen SPF30, $29.95
Another sunscreen that is great for daily use on the beach or outdoors, surfing or swimming (just remember to reapply every two hours). EcoTan rubs in clear, so it is perfect for those who want to be sun-safe without looking like they’ve seen a ghost.
A Bit Hippy Vegan Natural Sunscreen SPF40, $22
Declaring themselves ‘forever vegan’ is definitely a bonus in our books! Lightly tinted, it gives you a natural summer glow without being too heavy and offers high sun protection.
Additional research, reporting and writing by Thomas Alexander.