Skincare,  Anti-Aging,  Product Reviews

21 Oxybenzone and Octinoxate Free Sunscreens

Are you looking for reef-safe, non-hormone-disrupting, oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreens? You probably are if you read our previous article. If you haven’t read it (it’s a long one), let’s get you up to speed…

Sunscreen is universally considered essential for skin health as it can help protect against skin cancer and prevent premature aging. However, some sunscreen ingredients have come under scrutiny for their alleged undesirable side-effects. Two particular ingredients that have caused debate among scientists and regulatory bodies are Oxybenzone and Octinoxate.

In fact, the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and/or octinoxate will be banned in Hawaii as of January 2021 in order to prevent the bleaching of coral reefs and preserve marine ecosystems. Now it appears that Flordia’s Key West plans to issue a similar ban.

But, it’s not just the coral reefs and marine life that oxybenzone and octinoxate can be bad for. Some research has found that the ingredients can disrupt human hormones. Particularly of concern is the effect of oxybenzone and octinoxate on oestrogen.

Health Effects Of

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate

A number of studies have demonstraated that oxybenzone and octinoxate can increase the levels of oestrogen in mice and rats [1][2]. However, any hormonal effects in humans seem to be within the first few hours of application and disappear thereafter, even with prolonged daily use [3].

Both oxybenzone and octinoxate have been found in human breast milk and breast tissue [4][5]Specifically, octinoxate was found in 74% of mastectomy breast tissue samples while oxybenzone was found in 69% of the tissue samples. In addition, the levels of oxybenzone found were higher at tumour sites [5].

However, the study did not analyse healthy breast tissue for either oxybenzone or octinoxate. So, considering that 96.8% of Americans are exposed to oxybenzone [6][7], it is not clear whether the presence of these chemicals in breast tissue is abnormal or indicative of breast cancer risk.

While there is no documented evidence that the presence of these chemicals in breast milk and breast tissue causes any harm, it is still alarming. Furthermore, recent research has demonstrated that oxybenzone (along with avobenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule) is present in the bloodstream at high enough levels to warrant an FDA toxicology investigation after one day of use [8].

Don’t go skipping the sunscreen just yet though! Not only is it essential for skin health, but there are plenty of oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreens to choose from.

To get you started, here’s a list of 21 sunscreens without oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Oxybenzone And Octinoxate Free Sunscreens, Oxybenzone Free Sunscreens, Octinoxate Free Sunscreens

21 Oxybenzone And Octinoxate Free Sunscreens

For optimal sun protection there are some key things to remember:

The following sunscreens all fall into both of these categories. 

Some research suggests that mineral sunscreens offer broader UVA protection than chemical sunscreens, particularly when they also contain iron oxides.

Related Reading: The Best Mineral Sunscreens With Iron Oxide.

So, without further ado, here are 21 octinoxate-free and oxybenzone-free sunscreens…

Coola Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF50

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene.

Good For: Organic Ingredients, Reef Safety.

oxybenzone free sunscreenBuy Now From Amazon

Supergoop! Everyday SPF50 Sunscreen

Active Ingredients: Homosalate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Avobenzone.

Good For: Moisturizing, Natural Extracts.

oxybenzone free sunscreen

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Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced SPF 50+

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide [Nano]/Titanium Dioxide, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene.

Good For: Sensitive Skin.

oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreen

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Ultrasun Sports Gel SPF 30

Active ingredients: Octisalate, Unival T 150, Tinosorb S

Good For: Active People/Sports

octinoxate free sunscreenBuy Now From Amazon

Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen SPF 50

Active Ingredients: Octisalate, Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Ensulizole, Titanium Dioxide.

Octinoxate and oxybenzone free sunscreenBuy Now From Amazon

La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Homosalate, Octisalate.

Oxybenzone free sunscreen

Buy Now From Amazon

Avene Cleanance Very High Protection Sunscreen SPF 50+

Active Ingredients: Tinosorb M, Tinosorb S.

Good For: Spot Prone Skin

oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreenBuy Now From Amazon

ThinkSport Sunscreen SPF 50

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide

Good For: Active People/Sports

sunscreen without oxybenzone or octinoxate

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EltaMD UV Physical SPF 41.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide

oxybenzone free sunscreen and octinoxate free sunscreen

Buy Now From Amazon

SkinCeuticals Protect Mineral Radiance UV Defence SPF 50.

Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide

sunscreen without oxybenzone and octinoxateBuy Now From Amazon

Murad City Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide. (Contains Retinyl Palmitate).

Good For: Anti-Aging

oxybenzone free sunscreen

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La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Unscented Comfort Cream.

Active Ingredients: Homosalate, Titanium Dioxide, Octisalate, Avobenzone, Octocrylene

oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreen

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Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide

Good For: Spot Prone Skin

sunscreen without oxybenzone

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Avene Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+

Active Ingredients: Tinosorb M, Tinosorb S.

Good For: Normal to Combination Skin Types

octinoxate free sunscreen

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Ultrasun Extreme SPF 50+

Active Ingredients: Tinosorb M, Tinosorb S, Titanium Dioxide, Octisalate.

Good For: Very Sun-Sensitive Skin

Added Benefits: Antioxidants, Infrared-A Protection.

sunscreen without oxybenzone and octinoxate

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EltaMD Pure Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 47

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide

oxybenzone free sunscreen

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Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF50

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide

mineral sunscreen without oxybenzone or octinoxateBuy Now From Amazon

Avene Sun Care Very High Protection Mineral Cream SPF 50+

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide

Good For: Sensitive Skin

Avene oxybenzone free sunscreenBuy Now From Amazon

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive 30+

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide

Good For: Reef Safety

oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreens

Buy Now From Amazon

Eucerin Sun Allergy Protection Gel-Cream SPF 50+

Active Ingredients: Homosalate, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene

sensitive skin oxybenzone free sunscreen

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Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance-Free, SPF 30

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide.

Good For: Organic Ingredients

mineral sunscreen without oxybenzone or octinoxate

Buy Now From Amazon

 

That should get you started on your journey to find an oxybenzone and octinoxate free sunscreen. However, there are still plenty of other options available, so if you’re checking the ingredients on the back of sunscreen products, remember that chemicals have multiple names.

Here are the most common alternative names for oxybenzone, if none of these ingredients are listed then it should be an oxybenzone free sunscreen:

Oxybenzone free sunscreenAnd the most common alternative names for octinoxate, if none of these ingredients are listed then it should be an octinoxate free sunscreen:

Octinoxate Free Sunscreen

References:

  1. Klammer, H., Schlecht, C., Wuttke, W., Schmutzler, C., Gotthardt, I., Kohrle, J. & Jarry, H. (2007). ‘Effects of a 5-day treatment with the UV-filter octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC) on the function of the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid function in rats’. Toxicology, 238, 192-199.
  2. Klammer, H., Schlecht, C., Wuttke, W. & Jarry, H. (2005). ‘Multi-organic risk assessment of estrogenic properties of octyl-methoxycinnamate in vivo: A 5-day sub-acute pharmacodynamics study with ovariectomized rats’. Toxicology, 215, 90-96.
  3. Janjua, N., Mogensen, B., Andersson, A., Petersen, J., Henriksen, M., Skakkebaek, N. & Wulf, H. (2004). ‘Systemic absorption of the sunscreens benzophenone-3, octyl-methoxycinnamate, and 3-(4-methyl-benzylidene) camphor after whole-body topical application and reproductive hormone levels in humans’. Invest. Dermatol., 123, pp. 57-61.
  4. Schlumpf, M., Kypke, K., Wittassek, M., Angerer, J., Mascher, H., Mascher, D., Vokt, C., Birchler, M. & Lichtensteiger, W. (2010). ‘Exposure patterns of UV filters, fragrances, parabens, phthalates, organochlor pesticides, PBDEs, and PCBs in human milk: correlation of UV filters with use of cosmetics’. Chemosphere, 81, 1171-1183.
  5. Barr, L., Alamer, M. & Darbre, P. (2018). ‘Measurement of concentrations of four chemical ultraviolet filters in human breast tissue at serial locations across the breast’. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 38(8).
  6. Calafat, A., Wong, L., Ye, X., Reidy, J. & Needham, L. (2008). ‘Concentrations of the sunscreen agent benzophenone-3 in residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004. Environmental Health Perspective, 116(7), 893-897.
  7. Wang, S., Burnett, M. & Lim, H. (2011). ‘Safety of oxybenzone: putting numbers into perspective’. Arch Dermatol., 147(7), 865-866.
  8. Matta, M., Zusterzeel, R., Pilli, N. et al. (2019). ‘Effect of sunscreen application under maximal use conditions on plasma concentration of sunscreen active ingredients’, JAMA, Published online May 6, 2019.

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Laura is a skincare addict and sunscreen enthusiast with more than 10 years of experience working in healthcare and over 5 years of experience working as a nurse. She has experience in plastic and reconstructive surgery, dermatology, and aesthetics and has received training in laser treatments. Laura is currently working in healthcare education and writes for ScienceBecomesHer in her spare time. Read More.

2 Comments

  • Tianna David

    Thank you for this comprehensive list!
    I just wanted to alert you that the Alba Sunscreen does contain ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.
    It’s actually outrageous that they claim to be free of Octinoxate on the bottle only to have it masked by using a different name?
    Gross.
    I could be wrong, but Sun Bum seems to be one that is actually free of these chemicals – in case you wanted to add that one.
    Thanks again!
    TD

    • Ramya Pillappa

      Hello there,
      Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral spf 30 does not contain ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. It contains ethylhexyl palmitate. This particular component has silicone-like properties and provides that “glide” on consistency. What other ingredient are you referring to that may be similar to oxybenzone?
      RP.

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