Photo: What's the safest and eco-friendliest sunscreen?

Always choose a sunscreen without parabens. (Credit: tibchris via Flickr)

Unfortunately, there are chemicals of concern in sunscreens. Four substances commonly found in chemical sunscreens — parabens, cinnamate, benzophenone and camphor derivatives — are thought to be the culprits killing coral reefs around the world.


Choose a sunscreen without parabens. You might also see related ingredients on the label like methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben. All are widely used in cosmetics as a synthetic preservative; they are easily absorbed by skin and should be avoided.

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What's concerning is that parabens are suspected of interfering with hormone function. Some evidence suggests that parabens mimic estrogen and studies suggest a possible association between parabens and breast cancer.

When the U.S. Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested sunscreens they found that most are filled with chemicals hazardous to your health. To choose a safer brand check out EWG's Skin Deep Sunscreens 2011 guide.

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