Three vegan sunscreens to protect your skin while not wrecking the planet

The sun’s out and it’s time to slather on that sunscreen again. Even if you stay in shade between 10 am and 3 pm and never go out without a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved cover up in closely woven natural fabric, you’re going to need something. It’s fairly easy to choose one that will block the UVA and UVB rays that can otherwise burn or age your skin and contribute to skin discolouration and even melanoma. Anything with an SPF of 15+ and UVA protection, usually indicated by a UVA logo in a circle or a star rating out of 5, should block those powerful rays.

Unfortunately, the ethical issues with sunscreen range from plastic pollution to toxic chemicals (all with multiple names!) and nanoparticles. Is it going to irritate your skin or contribute to coral reef destruction? Did an animal suffer to create one or more of the ingredients?  And does it really have to be in that plastic bottle?!   

Of course you can read the label but can you remember all the various names of those dodgy ingredients?  We’re here to help, with three vegan sunscreens, all free from chemical UV filters, making them both safer for coral and kinder to skin.

Odylique Natural Sun Screen

The only one we could find which was certified vegan, organic and fairtrade, Odylique’s sunscreen uses a combination of Soil Association certified organic karanja oil and non-nano zinc oxide to create SPF30 UVB protection, while organic sea buckthorn extract (rich in omega 7) protects against ageing UVAs. Hydrating raw shea butter and antioxidant sunflower oil with jojoba extracts and calming chamomile oil care for the skin. The hypoallergenic formulation is suitable for either face or body, and for babies or anyone else with sensitive skin. As a water-free cream it’s less susceptible to bacterial contamination than water-based lotions and comes in a 100% recyclable (or reusable!) amber glass jar with aluminium lid. Check your health-food shop or Holland & Barrett or buy online.

£15.00 (50ml)/ £25.00 (100ml)

Organii SPF50 Sun Milk

This family-oriented ethical company has won multiple awards from both the beauty and the childcare camps for its SPF50 Sun Milk. Gentle enough for the most delicate skin, it’s perfect for anyone who burns easily. Non-nano zinc oxide, karanja oil, and non-nano titanium dioxide – probably the safest mineral sunscreen available based on current science – offer natural protection from UVA and UVB rays. Vitamin E tackles free radicals and calendula prevents over-drying while anti-inflammatory chamomile and soothing mallow leaf calm the skin. Certified organic, vegan and cruelty free, this contains no chemical sunscreens, parabens, colourants or fragrance. As well as buying direct online, you can add a tube to your Ocado or Abel & Cole order.

125ml – £24.95

Yaoh Natural SPF25 Sunblock

When you buy a Yaoh product, you know you’re supporting a UK brand that’s completely, ethically, vegan and not owned by a multinational alongside other, less caring, businesses. All their ingredients are ethically sourced, non-GMO and not tested on animals. This vegan sunblock provides SPF25 and 4-star UVA protection without resorting to chemical sunscreens.  The impressively simple, paraben-free plant-based formula combines a high-quality zinc oxide sunscreen with the skin-nurturing properties of coconut oil and aloe vera. Needless to say, it doesn’t contain typical animal-derived ingredients like collagen, elastin or stearic acid.  It comes in a recyclable or re-useable glass jar with a metal lid. If you can’t find this at your local health-food store you can buy it direct online.

200ml – £14.95

Find out more about the issues with sunscreen on our dedicated info page.

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