Environmental Impact Of Sunscreens | Ecobuy

SunButter Skin Care is quickly becoming one of Australia’s biggest known reef safe sunscreen companies. Establishing themselves in 2016, marine biologist and conservation ecologist team Sacha Guggenheimer and Tom Hiney first started learning about the negative impacts of chemical sunscreens on our oceans and in particular, coral reefs, when they were working on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. 

Their product was born from the need to not only wear sunscreen whilst swimming with whale sharks, but also to stand by their passion of protecting the World Heritage site of Ningaloo Reef. With this in mind they began to develop a natural high quality sunscreen, creating a formula that possessed the highest sun protection possible for their active outdoor lifestyle (SPF50), and was also not going to compromise their skin with damaging chemicals and therefore lead to having adverse effects on marine and coral life.

Is sunscreen adding to the destruction of our coral reefs and environment?

 Australia’s first SPF50 in a tin Natural Reef Safe Sunscreen & Surf Zincs Protecting People and Our Oceans . 10% of Profits go to the Planet  Carbon Neutral 
Water Resistant Reef Safe Sunscreen

Reef Safe Sunscreen

Originally back in 2016 the SunButter sunblock was handmade specifically for whale shark guides, underwater photographers, divers and fisherman of the Ningaloo Reef, however since then they’ve been able to expand their brand from this, to creating their SPF50, 4 hours water resistant, reef safe sunscreen, approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and has been available to us as consumers since August 2019. HURRAY!

This is such an amazing feat by them and a great step forward in marine conservation as we collectively continue to bring to light and educate our friends and families on how small everyday things like this can have such a negative impact on our beloved oceans, and how easy it is to fix. 

Further proving this, their company mantra is:  “Protecting People & Oceans.” 

With so much effort and social media focus being put into protecting ourselves, let’s extend that and also concern ourselves with protecting our oceans and marine life at the same time. 

So let’s have a look at what’s in your everyday sunscreen brands, and see what chemicals are harming our oceans so we can learn what to avoid and what to look for when buying sunscreen. 


This is one of the key ingredients in most chemical sunscreens. It’s a synthetic molecule widely known to be toxic to corals, algae, sea urchins, fish and mammals. It is also said that a single drop of this chemical compound in more than 4 million gallons of water is enough to put our oceans and living organisms in danger. 

Oxybenzone is unfortunately found in over 3500 sunscreen products worldwide. 


This is a preservative ingredient which has been shown to cause coral bleaching, and therefore disrupt and endanger our ecosystems. 

Information from an International journal of science, shared data on how within just 18-48 hours, symbiotic algae had detached from coral nubbins and showed evidence of being affected by a latent infection, narrowed down to have been activated by sunscreen. What then surprised them further was the same infection was found in corals all over the world. 

SunButter Skin Care is an amazing brand doing everything they can to promote and counteract the issues presented by ‘regular’ sunscreens. They make their products with sustainable ingredients and broad spectrum UVA and UVB mineral blocker zinc oxide, which has superior and nurturing qualities for all skin types. 

Need more convincing? Here’s why you should choose reef safe sunscreens.

I think it’s safe to say that we all understand our oceans are constantly under threat from pollution and many sunscreens are big contributors to that. Of course it is not the only thing, but it is something that each of us can personally control and put a stop to. 

Whilst protecting your skin from harmful UV rays it is also killing our coral, causing toxic build-up in marine animal tissues and putting a huge strain on our oceans ecosystems. 

Obviously I’m not going to stress that anyone doesn’t use sunscreen in order to prevent this, but merely understand that simply picking a more sustainable and marine friendly brand at the shops, is you standing up and choosing to protect yourself and the ocean – and I love that about you. 

Reef Safe Sunscreen.

Sunscreen Cream.

Proudly made in Australia in a solar powered factory, SunButter Skin Care products and sunscreens are reef safe, have SPF50, no nanoparticles, no nano plastic particles, have been registered and approved with the therapeutic goods administration, are vegan and most importantly – it rubs in clear! So you don’t need to worry about walking around like the ghost of past marine life.

Ecobuy’s very own Sofi Beker was able to get her hands on their SunBetter’s Reef Safe sunscreen, and here are her thoughts;

“I absolutely loved their product. I’m a big fan of the plastic free packaging and the fact that it’s not too oily and therefore easy to apply. Having the product in a tin was quite a novelty but was actually great because I wasn’t worried about it getting squashed in my bag or leaking out everywhere. (Been there). I tried the Everyday SPF50 Reef Safe, which of course has no nanoparticles, no sunspheres and is a vegan formula. I myself have sensitive skin so I also really loved that their SPF is safe for all skin types, including babies! 

I smeared a pea sized amount onto my face and scooped a little more onto my body just before heading out the door on my way to the beach for a swim – came home without being burnt and without feeling caked in cream. Bloody Loved it.”

Share this information with your flatmates, your friends, your families, start a conversation! Let’s support each other and create conversations to help educate one another on how we can better protect ourselves, our oceans and our planet. 

About the Author:

I'm Lauren, 24 living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Doing whatever I can live a healthy, happy, eco-friendly and sustainable life.

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