best non toxic sunscreens

5 Best Non Toxic Sunscreens In 2024: Ranked & Compared

Are you confused by the questionable ingredients in the sunscreen industry at the moment?! 

You just want an effective, non toxic sunscreen that actually feels good on?

Let’s unveil the truth behind all the smoke screens and marketing!

As someone deeply focused on wellness, I’m just as careful about what I put on my skin as what I eat. Our skin, being the largest organ, soaks up good stuff like Vitamin D and, unfortunately, the not-so-good stuff, including harmful chemicals in some sunscreens. 

But fret not—avoiding toxic ingredients doesn’t mean you have to skip sun protection, which is a must in the Aussie sun. 

I’ve done the research to determine which sunscreens are friendliest to your skin, health, and the ocean.

Article at a Glance:

5 Best Non Toxic Sunscreens Comparison 

Non Toxic Sunscreen Tier List

Which Popular Sunscreens to Avoid

Best Non Toxic Sunscreen (2024)

6 Best Non Toxic Sunscreens: Including Full Tier List

Gone are the days of compromising between effective sun protection and safe, environmentally friendly ingredients. 

The sun care industry has heard our cries and answered with innovative solutions. Let’s explore the champions of non-toxic sunscreens that are making waves in 2024.

Non Toxic Sunscreen Tier List

Best Non Toxic Sunscreen OveralL Winner

1. Skorcha Face: Natural Tinted Sunscreen

Active Ingredient:  25% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide (w/w)*

 Inactive Ingredients:  Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Purified Water, Organic Candelilla Wax, Organic Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Organic
Isostearic acid, Organic Glycerin, Organic Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Xanthan Gum, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil, Organic Calendula
Extract, Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil, Organic Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic
Acid) (0.05%), Organic Bisabolol (Derived from Chamomile), Organic Kakadu Plum Extract, Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) (0.5%), Organic Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Organic Coriander Oil, Organic Hinokitiol Extract, Organic Citrus Grandis Seed
Extract, Red Iron Oxide*, Yellow Iron Oxide*, Black Iron Oxide*
*Naturally Occurring Mineral

 Pricing: Mid Range

Pros:

  • – SPF 50
  • – 100% Certified Organic
  • – Clear Finish Natural Tint
  • – Non Greasy
  • – Deep Hydration
  • – Reduce Fine Lines & wrinkles
  • – Antioxidants to Protect & Repair

Cons:

skorcha face natural tinted sunscreen

Best Non Toxic Sunscreen For Babies

2. Wotnot: Baby Sunscreen

Active Ingredient:  zinc oxide (250mg/g)

 Inactive Ingredients:  jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, olive oil, beeswax-white, silica, shea butter, naticide (natural preservative/ fragrance, ACO approved)* purified water, aloe vera extract, gmo-free vitamin e, candelilla wax, carnauba wax

 Pricing: Low-Mid Range

Pros:

  • – Simple Formula for Sensitive Skin
  • – Suitable for 3 months & older
  • – Suitable for eczema and psoriasis
  • – Well Priced Natural Product

Cons:

  • – SPF 30 lower protection level
  • – Heavier formula with Bees Wax that can feel oily & greasy
  • – Whitecast
wotnot sunscreen

Best Non Toxic Sunscreen For Sustainability:

3. Sun Butter: Surf Zinc

Active Ingredient:  Non Nano Zinc Oxide 227.5mg/g

 Inactive Ingredients:  Medium chain triglyceride (from coconut oil), Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Candelilla wax, Hydrogenated castor oil, Isostearic acid (plant based binder), Polyglyceryl-3 polyricinoleate (vegetable based emulsifier), d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E).

 Pricing: High Range

Pros:

  • – SPF 50
  • – 4 hours water resistant
  • – Plastic Free
  • – 50% Profit for Planet
  • – Tinted

Cons:

  • – Coconut Oil Base is Comedogenic (can clog pores)
  • – Most Expensive On This List
sunbutter surf zinc

Best Non Toxic Sunscreen For Water Resistance:

4. Little Urchin: Natural Sunscreen

Active Ingredient:  Zinc Oxide 22.75% (Non Nano) 

 Inactive Ingredients:  Candelilla Wax, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, D-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Isostearic Acid, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Simmondsia Chinensis, Tapioca Starch

 Pricing: Mid Range

Pros:

  • – SPF 50
  • – 4 hours water resistant
  • – Suitable for Sensitive Skin
  • – Added Vitamin E

Cons:

little urchin zinc sunscreen

Best Non Toxic Sunscreen For Sport

5. Thinksport: Zinc Sunscreen

Active Ingredient:  ZINC OXIDE 23.4% (NON-NANO)

 Inactive Ingredients:  PURIFIED WATER, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, POLYGLYCERYL-4 ISOSTEARATE, GLYCERIN, HYDROGENATED GLYCERYL ABIETATE, HEXYL LAURATE, CETYL DIMETHICONE, SORBITAN SESQUIOLEATE, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, TOCOPHEROL, SODIUM HYALURONATE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) FRUIT OIL, CITRUS PARADISI (GRAPEFRUIT) PEEL OIL, VACCINIUM MACROCARPON (CRANBERRY) SEED OIL, RUBUS IDAEUS (RASPBERRY) SEED OIL, CARICA PAPAYA (PAPAYA) FRUIT EXTRACT, HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, CAPRYLHYDROXAMIC ACID, TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE, GLYCERYL CAPRYLATE, NATURAL FRAGRANCE OIL. 

 Pricing: Low-Mid Range

Pros:

  • SPF 50,80 mins Water & Sweat Resistant, Great level of natural antioxidants, Well priced, EWG Top Rated since 2010

Cons:

  • Whitecast, Thick & Greasy
think sport zinc sunscreen

Why Are The Best Non Toxic Sunscreens All Zinc Based?

Zinc oxide is considered the best non toxic sunscreen ingredient for several compelling reasons:

  1. Broad-Spectrum Protection:

Zinc oxide provides extensive protection against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are primarily responsible for premature aging, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Broad-spectrum coverage ensures comprehensive sun protection, reducing the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.

  1. Physical Sunscreen:

Unlike chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV rays, zinc oxide is a physical blocker. It sits on the skin’s surface and reflects sunlight away from the skin. This mode of action is particularly beneficial for sensitive skin types, as it is less likely to cause irritation.

  1. Photostable:

Zinc oxide is photostable, meaning it maintains its protective efficacy when exposed to sunlight. Some chemical sunscreen ingredients can degrade in the sun, losing their effectiveness over time and potentially generating free radicals that could damage the skin.

  1. Safe for Sensitive Skin:

Zinc oxide is generally well-tolerated by all skin types, including sensitive, prone to irritation, or those with conditions like rosacea and acne. It is non-comedogenic, meaning it does not clog pores, which is an essential consideration for acne-prone skin.

  1. Environmental Impact:

Compared to some chemical sunscreen ingredients that have been found to harm coral reefs and aquatic life, zinc oxide is considered to be a safer alternative for marine ecosystems. This makes it a preferable choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

  1. No Risk of Hormone Disruption:

Certain chemical UV filters have been implicated in potential hormone disruption. Zinc oxide, however, does not have this concern, making it a safer option for long-term use, especially for children and pregnant women.

  1. Effective Immediately Upon Application:

While chemical sunscreens need to be applied about 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure to be effective, physical blockers like zinc oxide are effective immediately upon application. This can be particularly advantageous for those who need sun protection on short notice.

  1. Long-lasting :

Zinc oxide tends to stay effective longer on the skin in conditions where it does not get rubbed off or washed away. However, like all sunscreens, reapplication is necessary, especially after sweating, swimming, or towel drying.

Given these advantages, zinc oxide is a preferred ingredient in non toxic sunscreens for those seeking effective, broad-spectrum, and sensitive skin-friendly sun protection. It aligns well with health-conscious and environmentally aware preferences.

What Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients Should You Avoid?


When selecting a sunscreen, it’s important to be mindful of certain ingredients that might pose health or environmental risks. Some ingredients have raised concerns among scientists, environmentalists, and health professionals for their potential adverse effects. Here are several sunscreen ingredients you might consider avoiding:

  • Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3):

Concerns have been raised about oxybenzone due to its potential hormone-disrupting effects. It has been shown to absorb through the skin and may mimic estrogen in the body, leading to altered sperm production in males and increased risk of endometriosis in females. Oxybenzone is also harmful to coral reefs, contributing to coral bleaching.

  • Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate)

Like oxybenzone, octinoxate has been linked to hormonal disruptions. It can affect thyroid function and reproductive systems. Octinoxate is also not reef-friendly, contributing to coral bleaching and damage to marine ecosystems.

  • Homosalate

This UV-filtering ingredient has been shown to disrupt estrogen, androgen, and progesterone levels. While it helps sunscreen penetrate the skin, it can also allow other chemicals to be absorbed more deeply, potentially increasing their toxic effects.

  • Octocrylene

When exposed to UV light, octocrylene can produce free radicals that may damage cells and cause mutations. It is also associated with coral bleaching and can accumulate in the environment and in human bodies.

  • Parabens

While not a UV filter, parabens are preservatives found in some sunscreens. They are suspected to interfere with hormone function by mimicking estrogen, potentially leading to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive issues.

  1. Avobenzone : 

Although not as harmful as some of the other chemicals listed, avobenzone can break down in the sun, releasing free radicals. It often requires stabilization with other chemicals, which can add to the potential for irritation or other effects.

  1. PABA (Para-aminobenzoic acid):

 Once common in sunscreens, PABA has largely been phased out due to its tendency to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, as well as its potential to stain clothing. Some related compounds, like padimate O, are still used but are less common.

While not inherently toxic, there is ongoing debate and research into the safety of nanoparticles (such as nano-sized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) in sunscreens. Concerns revolve around the potential for nanoparticles to penetrate the skin and cause cellular damage. However, current evidence suggests that they remain on the surface of the skin and are safe to use.

Choosing sunscreens free from these ingredients can reduce potential health risks and environmental impact. Look for products with safer active ingredients like non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which provide broad-spectrum protection with fewer concerns. Additionally, checking for certifications and recommendations from health and environmental organizations can help guide safer choices.

Popular Sunscreens to Avoid

To assist in making informed decisions, I’ve compiled a list of sunscreens that are best avoided due to their inclusion of potentially harmful ingredients. Some of these products have previously been withdrawn from the market because they contained benzene, a substance known for its carcinogenic properties:

  • Bondi Sands Sunscreens

Bondi Sands SPF 50+ Lotion Spray recalled

  • Cancer Council Sunscreens

 Cancer Council Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 50+ recalled

  • Nivea Sunscreens

Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture SPF 30 recalled

  • Surf Life Saving Sunscreens
  • Neutrogena Sunscreens
  • Banana Boat Sunscreens

Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 recalled

  • Le Tan Sunscreens
  • Baby Bum Sunscreens9

Baby Bum Mineral SPF 50+ Lotion recalled

This list is intended to guide you away from products that may pose a risk to your health, ensuring you choose safer sunscreen options.

Toxic Sunscreens to Avoid

Buyers Guide: How We Chose The Best Non Toxic Sunscreens

Our quest for the best non-toxic sunscreens was rigorous and thorough, considering:

  • Pricing: We looked for products that offer good value, balancing cost with quality.
  • Features: The best features, such as broad-spectrum protection, water resistance, and skin benefits were key.
  • Negatives: We identified any potential drawbacks, including texture or scent.

Conclusion/Wrapping Up

Getting real about wellness means paying attention to what we put on our skin, not just what we eat.

It’s a big deal because some ingredients in around most sunscreens can mess with our hormones or even up our cancer risk when they get into our bloodstream. 

This isn’t just about us; it’s about keeping our families safe and considering the environment we’re leaving for the next crew.

So, making smart choices about the products we use is more than just good health sense; it’s about looking out for each other and the planet. In a nutshell, steering clear of those nasty chemicals is a simple way we can all live a bit healthier and show some love to the world around us.

Why you can trust us:

  • Real World Experience: Mick launched Skorcha Organic Suncare after seeing the need for effective organic & natural suncare products from 10 years of working under the sun as a roofer and door-to-door salesman.
  • Self Testing: From product testing to evidence of efficacy, we live and breathe suncare and everything to do with taking care of your skin under the sun. If we hadn’t tried it by ourselves, that means we have researched it thoroughly.
  • Continuous Learning: Always learn about natural ingredients’ power for suncare and our skin health.

Want to know more? Visit our store

FAQ

Why use non toxic sunscreen?

mineral sunscreen offers significant advantages due to its natural components, primarily zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These substances are deemed safe as they remain on the surface of your skin rather than being absorbed into it. Additionally, they are environmentally friendly, posing no threat to aquatic life or other wildlife when you swim in natural bodies of water or when the sunscreen is rinsed off.

What should I look for in non toxic sunscreen?

When aiming for a non-toxic sunscreen, prioritize options featuring zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients. The FDA recognizes these two minerals as conferring natural sun protection. These two minerals are sourced directly from the earth. They are the sole natural components endorsed for their ability to provide an effective SPF, ensuring a safer choice for your skin and the environment.

Which sunscreen ingredient was banned?

Oxybenzone (BP-3) and octinoxate (OMC), two prevalent ingredients in sunscreen, have been prohibited in locations like Key West and Hawaii because of their detrimental impact on aquatic ecosystems.

What is the ingredient to avoid in sunscreen?

To minimize the risk of skin irritation and adverse health effects, it’s advisable to steer clear of certain ingredients in sunscreen. These include oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octocrylene, parabens, avobenzone, retinyl palmitate (a form of Vitamin A), and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid). Each component has been linked to potential health or environmental concerns, ranging from hormone disruption to coral reef damage. Always scrutinize product labels and, when in doubt, consult a dermatologist to determine the most suitable sunscreen for your skin type and health requirements.

Mick Wadley

Mick Wadley – Founder of Skorcha

After a decade in the scorching sun as a roofer and going door-to-door in sales – I was forced to take my skin health seriously following a skin cancer scare before the age of 30.

So began my passion for suncare, which is both effective and natural. Crafted for adventure and endurance sports, Skorcha formulas are non-greasy, have no eye sting and absolutely no bullshit (100% Organic).

My goal is to share what I’ve learned about skin health and safe ingredients, inspiring happier, healthier lives through adventure, organic goodness and conservation!

Help us plant a mangrove tree with every Skorcha product sold to protect fragile marine ecosystems and support underprivileged communities around the world.


Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for direct, individual medical treatment or advice. It is the responsibility of you and your healthcare providers to make all decisions regarding your health. Skorcha recommends that you consult with your healthcare providers regarding the diagnosis and treatment of any disease or condition.