Chemical Free & Reef Safe Suncreen Products

As already mentioned in the blog ‘Are sunscreens safe?’ there are many chemicals in numerous sunscreens products that could be harmful to you.  In addition, there is also the factor of what happens to our sunscreens when we are in the sea/water where there is marine life.  We can absorb these chemicals through our skin and marine life has no choice but to be subjected to whatever is in their water.

What Chemicals Are Dangerous To Marine Life?

An image of under the sea with coral and brightly coloured tropical fish in an article about reef safe sunscreen

There are two chemicals that are already banned in some countries e.g. Hawaii because of the known dangers to marine life including Coral (they cause bleaching a condition that leaves coral vulnerable to infection and prevents it from getting the nutrients it needs to survive—as well as DNA damage and abnormalities in its growth and skeleton)  these are oxybenzone and octinoxate, both of which are harmful for us humans too so really best avoided altogether.

Also, octocrylene, homosalate, and octisalate have all been found to be harmful to fish and found in detectable levels in fish Worldwide.  More research studies are being carried out to find out more.

So Is Reef Safe Sunscreen Safe?

There is no agreed standard to what reef-safe sunscreen is, mainly because more research needs to be done to know the full picture.  It is that oils and other ingredients could also be having a negative impact on marine life.  The effects will be seen most in areas with the highest concentrations of divers and swimmers.  I believe the take-home message here is that the more natural and organic the ingredients you use on your skin the more you are not only minimising any negative effects to your overall health but also to that or any marine or animal life that those products are exposed to.  At the very least surely, we will all then be doing the least harm possible.

Chemical Free Sunscreens

There are many chemical-free and reef-safe sunscreens on the market.  I have used these products for over 15 years and have seen an explosion in the variety on offer over this time in addition to an improvement in their absorbency.  Certainly, in the early days, it wasn’t uncommon to look like I was greased up ready to swim the channel.  I can’t say that this is not a possibility now but there has been a huge improvement, and many leave a completely clear finish.  Even if there is a little whitening of the skin once the sunscreen is applied it is a small price to pay for the benefits to humans, animal kind and the natural world.

As I mentioned I have used several brands over the years so here are a few of them that are excellent quality and as natural as possible.

**All prices are as of June 2021**

Tropic Skincare

This is the sunscreen (and loads of their other products) that I use.  The factor 30 does leave a slightly white residue but otherwise, I have found this to be one of the easiest absorbed products for my skin.  I have recently tried their Factor 50 on my face and it is amazing, it completely absorbs you would never know I had sunscreen on.  There are several in their range.

**Edit May 2023.  I mistakenly ordered the factor 50 in the Skin Shade range and WOW.  I was blown away by how much better it absorbs. No white residue, no stickiness.  It was a dream and smelled gorgeous too.  I haven’t tried the factor 30 in this re-formulation but would think that it must also be a huge improvement. I’m a huge fan and massively impressed by how good it is.

Products Available:

Skin Shade sun cream – factors 15, 30 and 50 – £28 for 200ml

Skin Shade SPF50 in 100ml – £18

Sun day facial cream SPF50 in 40ml – £24 or 15ml for £10

Skin Shade tinted face cream SPF50 in light/medium and medium/dark – £24

Sun stick – just pop it in your pocket.  Tested as safe for babies/children over 6 months £20.

The range of Tropic suncare standing arranged on a floded striped blue towel. There are 13 items of different sizes either with orange or wite tubes. The background if a blue material and green plant leaves. You have the impression os sun shining on the prodcuts.


  • Certified Reef Safe they were the first beauty brand in the UK and Europe to be awarded the Protect Land + Sea seal of approval for our entire sun protection range
  • Cruelty-Free & Vegan
  • Responsibly sourced ingredients
  • Plant-based
  • Recyclable & refillable packaging (they have a refilling scheme)
  • Double offsetting their emissions.
  • Every purchase funds education through United World Schools.


Click this link if you would like to find out more about the Tropic Skincare sun care range.  This link is directly to the site of Carla Rose the ambassador that I buy all of my products from.  I won’t receive any financial benefit if you buy direct from her, I am just paying it forward as she has always looked after me so well for many years and the products arrive quickly.  If you would rather just go to the generic Tropic Skincare range then feel free to go direct.

Green People

Green People logo. At the top is a sage green squashed circle with the intertwined GP cut out of the middle of it. Underneath in black it says Green People Organic Lifestyle

This was the first company that I ever used for skincare, and they are still an excellent company.  They will have had improved formulas since I first used them, and different products suit different skin types, so they are definitely worthy of consideration.  Prickly heat is often caused by sun creams that block pores Green People’s products don’t have pore-clogging ingredients they would be a go-to product if you have suffered prickly heat in the past.  Many of their products are also scent free which can be another huge plus point if you have sensitive skin.

When I used these products, I found that the children’s sunscreen was the best absorbed. Green people advise regular exfoliation and dabbing or tap the cream once you have rubbed it in to allow better absorption.  They have also recently re-formulated their face cream which is even better absorbed and now vegan.


  • Certified organic ingredients
  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Kind to sensitive skin
  • Eczema-friendly
  • Clean & reef-safe
  • Water repellent
  • Non-pore clogging
  • Vegetarian
  • Fully recyclable plant-based packaging
  • Donations to the Marine Conservation Society with every purchase.


An image of MooGoo natural suncream SPF 30. the packaging has an image of a cow on the front standing on grass. The bluck of the tube is white with a light blue bar at the top with the logo on it.

I had never heard of this company until a patient mentioned them a few months ago.  She has also tried many plant-based/chemical-free companies over the years and had found their products to be superior.  For that reason, they are included in this list, and I completely trust her opinions and feedback.

If you have specific allergies or ingredients you need to avoid check out their FAQ page where your question will most likely be answered.  Some but not all of their products contain milk proteins be sure to check the ingredients first if you have an allergy or intolerance.

Products Available:

Cover Up Buttercup SPF15 120g – £13.50

Natural Sunscreen SPF30 120g – £15

Sun Safe Care Pack which includes SPF30, MSM soothing moisturiser and lip balm – £24

Edible Lip Balm SPF15 (5g) – £3.90


All products are:

  • As edible as possible.
  • Natural over synthetic ingredients.
  • Non-Irritating.
  • Safe for everybody including newborns and during pregnancy.
  • Ingredient concentrations in effective amounts.
  • Some products are vegan-friendly.


And importantly no animal testing


I have never used the Arbonne sunscreens however several friends have so I know them to be well-recommended.

This website is not as search friendly as the others so here are the direct links to the two that they currently offer:

FunSun SPF30 – £32

Arbonne Baby Care® formula and for adults with sensitive skin – £33

The links above are also direct to a distributor I know through networking so as with the Tropic Skincare link you can just go direct to the Arbonne website if you prefer.


Image of 3 Arbonne sun care products lying on a blue surface. They are thre in the Res Advanced Prepwork range. White tubes with orange lids. The middle tube has it's lid removed and a squiggly line of the cream has been drawn on the surface to its left like it has come out of the tube.
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