Is sunscreen biodegradable?

This blog post will answer the question, “Is sunscreen biodegradable” and cover topics like the biodegradability of sunscreen and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

Is sunscreen biodegradable?

Yes, some sunscreens are biodegradable. Several efficient UV filters (ingredients that shield the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from your skin) have been discovered to biodegrade rapidly and reduce their environmental impact. 

Biodegradability of sunscreens

Despite the fact that not all sunscreens are biodegradable, several efficient UV filters (ingredients that shield the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from your skin) have been discovered to biodegrade rapidly and reduce their environmental impact. 

As we’re about to learn, many reef-safe sunscreens are also biodegradable, which is a terrific start towards a healthy world.

You can determine if your sunscreen is biodegradable by examining the product’s box, website, or product itself. Typically, this will be indicated, but if you have any doubts, you can always e-mail the firm or contact a member of staff when buying a product.

What characteristics make sunscreen biodegradable?

Many sunscreen and sun protection products, such as those containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, are environmentally hazardous. It is recognized that these compounds are hazardous to the ecosystems of coral reefs.

According to studies on Hawaii-banned sunscreens, certain sunscreens also include “UV-blocking compounds or nano-sized mineral particles that are possibly harmful to coral health.”

The most effective sunscreens include compounds that are hazardous to coral reefs, with even little amounts causing reefs to bleach, become prone to virus infections, or lose their algae energy source.

Oxybenzone-containing sunscreens pollute swimming & beach shower water, which is hazardous to coral and algae. The primary source of oxybenzone pollution is swimmers wearing oxybenzone-containing sunscreens.

Mineral particles in sunscreen may generate hydrogen peroxide, which can bleach coral reefs and be hazardous to marine life. Multiple variables contribute to the toxicity of H2O2 to fish, making it challenging to regulate the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in any given habitat.

There are additional preservatives such as methylparaben and butylparaben that are hazardous to coral reefs and people. Some sunscreens include phenoxyethanol, a preservative that is used to anesthetize fish.

Therefore, it is essential to consider purchasing biodegradable sunscreens made from natural materials rather than synthetic chemicals.

Due to the fact that biodegradable sunscreens are composed mostly of natural or otherwise ecologically acceptable components, they do not harm the environment, pollute, or harm living beings.

Does sunscreen include any other eco-friendly qualities?

There may be some ambiguity about the biodegradability of sunscreen at the present time, but certain sunscreens have additional eco-friendly features, and anything that helps the environment is a huge plus. 

If you were hoping for additional environmental benefits, here they are.

One of the most significant trends in the sunscreen market right now is the promotion of reef-safe products, which are gaining popularity among both producers and customers as everyone becomes more environmentally concerned. 

A reef-safe sunscreen is one that does not harm coral reefs, which are enduring significant damage due to tourism, fishing, as well as other aquatic activities.

Whether swimming in the ocean, you should always use sunscreen to protect yourself from the Sun, to which you are severely exposed when at the beach or in the water. 

Upon entering the water, sunscreen often washes off your skin, or at least a portion of it, releasing the components into the ocean. Once these compounds are discharged into the sea, they may harm coral reefs & aquatic life if sunblock is not reef-safe.

However, a reef-friendly sunscreen solves this issue, and it is perfectly safe to use in the water. In many nations, particularly those where coral reefs are threatened, such as Hawaii, beachgoers are compelled to use reef-safe sunscreen.

Is biodegradable sunblock beneficial to our skin?

Biodegradable sunscreens with natural elements are often healthier for the skin than conventional sunscreens containing harsh chemicals.

Because they are oil-soluble, physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide protect UV radiation from the skin and are difficult to remove.

Physical sunscreens also do not permeate into the skin, making allergic reactions to them less probable.

How can the biodegradability of sunscreen be determined?

The easiest approach to determine if a sunscreen is biodegradable is to examine the list of chemicals. If a sunscreen contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and claims to be organic or natural, it is likely to be such. Specifically, you should avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Is zinc oxide sunblock biodegradable?

Yes, it is biodegradable.

The active element in biodegradable sunscreens that are coral-safe is zinc oxide. As a mineral component, zinc oxide is naturally present as the mineral zincite. It may also be synthesized and manufactured directly and indirectly.

As a byproduct of the melting process, zinc oxide is produced when zinc vapor combines with oxygen in the atmosphere. It may also be extracted from zinc ore by melting it. In all of these procedures, zinc oxide is a naturally occurring compound.

Is mineral sunblock biodegradable?

No, it is not biodegradable.

Mineral-based sunscreens use inorganic components to reflect, scatter, and absorb ultraviolet radiation. Most mineral sunscreens include zinc oxide or titanium oxide. By resting on the skin’s surface, the sunscreen prevents UV radiation from penetrating the skin.

Some mineral sunscreens include non-biodegradable and ecologically hazardous compounds, although the vast majority of genuine mineral-based sunscreens are harmless to the environment.

Look for non-nano particles when purchasing mineral sunscreens, since nanoparticles may be absorbed into the skin and circulation.

Which sunscreen products are biodegradable?

Despite restrictions in Hawaii, Palau, & Thailand, many sunscreens continue to contain harmful chemicals.

The absence of certifications and standards concerning the use of oxybenzone, octinoxate, & parabens makes it difficult to determine which sunscreens are safe to use.

The main non-biodegradable sunscreen chemicals are:

The HEL LIST also recommends avoiding the following substances that are harmful to aquatic environments:

  • Octocrylene
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Triclosan

Is Bare Republic sunblock biodegradable?

Reef-compliant non-nano mineral sunscreens are available from the Bare Republic. These include the mineral SPF 50 sport sunblock stick and mineral SPF 50 body sunblock lotion from the Bare Republic.

In addition to using non-nano zinc oxide, the Bare Republic FUNSCREEN products should be biodegradable! 

Unfortunately, not all of their sunscreens are biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

Their clear screen solutions include avobenzone & octisalate, which are less toxic than oxybenzone but may still kill marine life in large amounts. Make careful you buy just their mineral sunscreens to minimize environmental damage!

Is Neutrogena sunscreen biodegradable?

Not all Neutrogena sunscreens are reef-safe or biodegradable!

While they do offer a variety of mineral sunscreens, none of them seem to employ non-nano particles, and their primary sunscreen line still contains oxybenzone and other less well-known toxins such as octisalate and avobenzone.

Avoid hurting the environment by avoiding Neutrogena products when you go swimming.

Is the sunscreen from Hawaiian Tropic biodegradable?

No, it is not biodegradable.

Hawaiian Tropic provides sunscreens with both mineral and chemical bases. Their sunscreens consist of paraffinum liquidum, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, & octocrylene.

The mineral-based Hawaiian Tropic sunscreens include zinc oxide and are deemed reef-friendly owing to the absence of oxybenzone and octinoxate; nevertheless, it is not specified whether or not they contain nanoparticles. 

Their mineral-based sunscreens also include paraffinum liquidum, making them non-biodegradable.

Avoid Hawaiian Tropic, since they seem to engage in greenwashing: while their goods employ a seal & claim to be reef-friendly, this is not a legitimate certification.

Is Sun Bum a sunscreen biodegradable?

Sun Bum claims that its sunscreens do not include oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, parabens, phthalates, or formaldehyde. While they offer mineral sunscreens, they do not employ particles larger than nanometers.

Avoid their original sunscreen line, which contains the active chemicals octocrylene, octisalate, and avobenzone. Due to these components, the claim that their original sunblocks are reef-friendly is false.

Their reef-safe and biodegradable products include the following:

Is Hello Bello sunblock reef-safe?

Hello Bello is forthright about its dedication to reef safety, defining what reef-safe really entails. They are well aware of the compounds that have been shown to be dangerous and avoid utilizing them.

Their goods include zinc oxide that is not nanoscale. Due to their focus on reef safety and the absence of chemical sunscreens, Hello Bello products are the finest sun care solutions available.

Their finest sunscreens include:

Is the sunscreen Australian Gold biodegradable?

No, it is not biodegradable.

Australian Gold sunscreens are devoid of parabens and PABA, yet they all contain octocrylene. Large quantities of octocrylene may be detrimental to aquatic environments, despite the fact that it is just one of many hazardous substances.

Because they include octocrylene, Australian Gold sunscreens are not biodegradable. Despite touting its sunscreens as “very water-resistant,” anyone who uses Australian Gold UV care products should avoid swimming.

Is Blue Lizard sunblock biodegradable?

No, Blue Lizard sunscreen is not biodegradable.

Zinc oxide & titanium oxide are the major components of Blue Lizard’s mineral-based sunscreens. Some of their goods also include octinoxate, one of the most toxic substances for coral reefs.

Additionally, Blue Lizard sunscreens include isoparaffin, a chemical derived from petroleum, which renders their products non-biodegradable. In addition, they contain phenoxyethanol.

Blue Lizard’s sunscreens are entirely mineral-based, but the company makes no promise of environmental friendliness, and it is likely that it uses additional petroleum-based compounds.

Another element of concern is polyacrylamide, which may possibly break down into acrylamide, a toxin, and probable cancer. It is advised to avoid Blue Lizard sunscreens to protect yourself and the environment.

Other reef-safe, biodegradable sunscreens

Hello Bello may offer the most eco-friendly sunscreen products, but if you are unable to purchase them, you may need more choices.

The sunscreens listed below are reef-safe and biodegradable:

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Is sunscreen biodegradable?”

Does sunscreen biodegrade?

Chemical or synthetic sunblock formulations are incapable of decomposing or breaking down organically. Therefore, these formulations are not biodegradable and are detrimental to the environment. 

Chemicals are discharged from the skin into the environment, where they settle and remain.

Is sunscreen environmentally hazardous?

Each year, almost 14,000 tonnes of hazardous sunscreen are dumped into the ocean worldwide. The chemical substances that drain into the sea and coral reefs are not only from swimmers but also from human waste. 

Common home product components are washed off our bodies and wind up in lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Is zinc oxide biodegradable?

Zinc oxide is biodegradable and does not pose any health risks. However, zinc oxide sunscreens with non-nanoparticles may be safer for coral reefs than those containing nanoparticles.

Why does sunscreen decompose?

Biodegradable sunblock is an ecologically friendly sunscreen that does not include the hazardous elements that are damaging coral reefs worldwide. 

These sunscreens are biodegradable, which means they decompose naturally in the environment, & eco-friendly, which means they limit environmental impact.


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