The Best Sunscreens Without Oxybenzone and Octinoxate
This month, Hawaii lawmakers passed a bill to ban certain sunscreen ingredients that are believed to have a negative environmental impact: oxybenzone and octinoxate. This makes Hawaii the first state to pass such a law. We spoke to dual board-certified pediatric dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Latanya Benjamin about this ban. Keep reading to find out what we learned, plus, we’re sharing sunscreens—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—that are free of oxybenzone and octinoxate.
What to Know About the Sunscreen Ingredient Ban
The bill Hawaii has passed would prevent the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing two common sunscreen ingredients—oxybenzone and octinoxate. According to Dr. Benjamin, the idea behind the ban is to “prohibit sunscreens that contained chemicals that could contribute to bleaching of the coral reefs.”
As of now, you can still jet off to Hawaii and purchase a sunscreen formulated with either ingredient. The bill has yet to be signed by Hawaii’s governor. If the bill does pass into law, it will take effect on January 1, 2021.
The Difference Between Chemical and Physical Sunscreen
With oxybenzone and octinoxate present in many sunscreen formulas, an attempt to avoid those two ingredients does cut down on the number of options available to you. However, oxybenzone and octinoxate are typically found in chemical sunscreens—not physical sunscreens. Which raises the question, what’s the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a chemical sunscreen protects you by absorbing the sun’s rays and is formulated with one or more of many possible active ingredients (of which oxybenzone is one). Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, provide protection by deflecting the sun’s rays. They contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as active ingredients.
Dr. Benjamin recommends opting for a mineral-based, physical sunscreen for children with sensitive skin, in order to not irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. Physical sunscreens are also a prime pick for anyone looking to choose a formula that wouldn’t be prohibited by Hawaii’s ban. While it is possible to find chemical sunscreens that don’t contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, they are not in the majority.
4 Sunscreens Without Oxybenzone and Octinoxate
It’s important to keep in mind that oxybenzone and octinoxate are FDA-approved ingredients in sunscreens, however if you’d like to still steer clear of the ingredients, we rounded up four sunscreens— from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—formulated without oxybenzone and octinoxate.
If you’ve ever smoothed on sunscreen, only to be left with a noticeable white cast, you’ll likely find yourself interested in this chemical-filter free sunscreen. Why? Because the formula, which contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, has a transparent, weightless finish. Essentially, it won’t look—or feel—like you’re sporting sunscreen.
Having acne blemishes on your skin is no excuse to skip out on sunscreen. This sunscreen is suitable for acne-prone skin, negating that issue. What’s more, it provides a universal sheer tint and antioxidant vitamin E protection.
Sunscreens often leave skin with a shiny appearance, which certainly isn’t ideal if you have oily skin. Thankfully, there are options like this mineral sunscreen that boast a matte finish.
While you may be more concerned with developing wrinkles and sun spots on your face, protecting your body is equally as important. Try this high performance, water resistant body sunscreen, which is suitable for all skin types—so you won’t have to worry about toting around a different sunscreen for every person you’re traveling with.