Vegan Sunscreen Brands To Complete Your Daily Skincare Routine

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What completes your skincare checklist? Mine is never complete without the perfect sunscreen! And by “perfect” I mean one that’s not only safe and effective but also vegan and cruelty-free!

Sunscreen isn’t just for the summer season. Because the effects of the sun’s harmful rays are cumulative, sunscreen is a skincare staple you must wear every day. Yes, even on a cloudy day!

But do you know how much animal testing gets done with sunscreen products? Now, you might want to reconsider your choice of brands. My favorite ones? Check below for the best cruelty-free and vegan sunscreen brands!

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Why Is Sunscreen Important?

The most common misconception about using sunscreen is that you only need it when it’s sunny. But if you really care about your skin, sunscreen should be a regular part of your daily daytime skincare routine.

Even on a cloudy day, the sun is still there. And while sun rays are far from visible on these days, UV rays are still very much present.

The Negative Effects Of Overexposure To Sun  

If you have constant sun exposure without any protection you are at risk for the following:

  1. Skin cancer –  the sun’s harmful rays account for 90% of skin cancer cases! Yikes! Skin cancer is also the most common type of cancer in the USA.
  2. Premature skin aging – fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, saggy, dull, dry, and leathery skin. Who wants that?
  3. Skin damage – sunburns, blotches, spots, rosacea, including actinic keratoses and actinic cheilitis. Most of these are cumulative effects of chronic overexposure over the years.
  4. Eye damage – cataracts, pterygium, and macular degeneration. Make sure you also have UV-absorbing sunglasses!
  5. Immune system suppression – too much sun exposure can kill the skin’s defense barrier against infectious microorganisms and toxins. Eventually, it can disrupt the balance of white blood cells.

A lower WBC count weakens the body against opportunistic viruses and fungi, initially. Overtime, with chronic overexposure to sun without protection, your immune system may eventually get weaker.

The Benefits Of Using Sunscreen Everyday

Well, putting it simple, the benefits are you can significantly reduce your risks against sun damage!

Sunshine in the early morning hours can be your perfect source of vitamin D everyday. But all you need is a full 20 minutes! Beyond that, especially after 10am, your skin will need an effective protection against the UV rays.

How can the sun wreak havoc on your skin?

In its peak hours, between 10am and 4pm, the sun emits harmful ultraviolet rays:

  1. UVA – makes up 95% of the radiation that reaches the earth; this UV ray penetrates into the 2nd layer of the skin, causing wrinkles, sun spots, premature aging, and potential cancer; it can also penetrate glass windows.
  2. UVB – this is the type of UV ray that helps to synthesize Vitamin D. However, it penetrates the top layers of the skin and causes sunburn; can damage skin DNA; the UV ray that is most responsible for skin cancer.
  3. UVC – the most dangerous UV, but it does not reach the earth as the atmosphere absorbs it. However, exposure can come from artificial radiation sources like welding torches and mercury lamps.

Without protection, these UV rays can damage your skin in just a matter of 15 minutes! Even worse, these UV rays also create free radicals, causing even more harm to the skin!

Sun damage accumulates over time. Just because you don’t see visible skin damage today doesn’t mean you’re immune against it. With chronic sun exposure without sufficient protection, your skin will eventually show visible signs in just a few years.

The most common misconception about using sunscreen is that you only need it when it’s sunny. But if you really care about your skin, sunscreen should be a regular part of your daily daytime skincare routine.

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How Do Sunscreens Work?

Are you curious how a generous slathering of sunscreen protects the skin? Sunscreens work through barriers or filters, which is what makes up its active ingredients. Chemical and mineral barriers reflect (hence the white color) or scatter UV rays while organic ones absorb UV and dissipate them as heat.

Sunscreens will usually have a combination of two or more active ingredients to create a more effective barrier. There are also sunscreens that use plant products as active ingredients. Oils from carrots, sunflowers, and raspberries are the most common.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Everyone knows that the higher the SPF, the better protection you get. But do you know what the numbers mean exactly?

SPF numbers tell you how much it will take before your skin starts to burn under the sun. This will vary per person. For example, if it usually takes 15 minutes before your skin gets red, multiply that by the SPF number. Using SPF 15, it will take 225 minutes or 3 hours and 45 minutes before you get burnt.

However, getting wet and sweating will shorten this length of protection. But even if you’re using waterproof sunscreen, it’s always better to top off your application every 2 hours or so.

  1. SPF 15 – blocks 93% of UV rays.
  2. SPF 30 – ideal for daily use; blocks up to 97% of UV rays.
  3. SPF 50 – best for longer outdoor activities; also the highest effective protection factor, as anything higher than 50 has never been proven to work any better.

Also, no SPF can block 100% of UV rays. Your best bet is to go for broad-spectrum sunscreen and reapply every few hours.

Sun damage accumulates over time. Just because you don’t see visible skin damage today doesn’t mean you’re immune against it. With chronic sun exposure without sufficient protection, your skin will eventually show visible signs in just a few years.

Common Ingredients In Sunscreen

Skincare products are notorious when it comes to cryptic ingredients. Not only that, there’s usually A LOT to decipher! This is because chemicals make up a huge chunk of skincare ingredients!

1. Chemical Filters

  • Avobenzone – protects against UVA.
  • Homosalate – absorbs UVB rays and converts them into heat.
  • Octinoxate – absorbs and disperses UVB.
  • Octisalate – absorbs UVB rays; has an oily texture that makes it water-resistant.
  • Octocrylene – absorbs UV rays; has moisturizing properties.
  • Oxybenzone – absorbs UVA and UVB but works better in combination with other filters.

2. Mineral Filters

  • Titanium dioxide – physical filter (sunblock) that bounces off UV rays; gentle and doesn’t degrade in the sun but leaves a white film.
  • Zinc oxide – defends against UVA and UVB; gentle and long-lasting but also leaves a white cast; also has soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits.

3. Preservatives

  • Benzyl alcohol
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Phenoxyethanol

4. Moisturizers/Emollients

  • Plant oils/butters
  • Waxes
  • Fatty acids
  • Glycerin

Common Animal Products In Sunscreen: Watch Out!

  • Beeswax – one of the most common emollients in skin care products
  • Chitin – hydrating agent; originally from mushrooms, but now, they commonly come from crustacean shells
  • Collagen – improves skin quality; from animal connective tissues, usually from pigs
  • Elastin – for skin elasticity; protein from animal parts (skin, intestines, lungs, arteries)
  • Lanolin – emollient or moisturizer; wax or grease (animal fat) from sheep wool
  • Stearic acid/stearin – emollient and emulsifier; may come from vegetable oils, but is usually from animal fats

Sunscreens will usually have a combination of two or more active ingredients to create a more effective barrier. There are also sunscreens that use plant products as active ingredients. Oils from carrots, sunflowers, and raspberries are the most common.

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Sunscreen Chemicals: Are They Safe?

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to using sunscreen is the safety of the chemicals in it. Most of the chemical filters in sunscreens can stay in the bloodstream for up to 7 days after application. They can even pass through breast milk!

Here are some of the known effects of chemical sunscreen filters:

  • Hormone disruption
  • Skin allergies
  • Anti-androgenic (ability to lower testosterone levels)
  • Birth defects
  • Production of free radicals in the skin
  • Coral reef deaths (when chemicals reach the ocean)

Chemicals With Toxicity Concerns

Homosalate

Octinoxate

Octisalate

Octocrylene

Oxybenzone

Safer Sunscreen Ingredients

✔️Avobenzone

✔️Titanium dioxide

✔️Zinc oxide

There are also concerns about nanoparticles in sunscreens. Technically, this refers to the molecular size of the minerals (titanium and zinc) that manufacturers use in their ingredients. These smaller particles enhance absorption of products, but are thought to be harmful to living cells and marine life.

However, according to EWG, nanoparticles aren’t really bad. They can enhance sun protection and are stable in sunlight. Moreover, they don’t really penetrate the skin in significant amounts. It’s only the inhalation of nanoparticles that’s dangerous (powder form in cosmetics) for the lungs.

Most experts agree that there has to be more studies to confirm the effects of sunscreen chemicals. However, the FDA is already regulating the use of the chemicals in question.

Some countries and states ban chemicals that are harmful to the environment like oxybenzone. Also, more brands today are offering chemical-free formulations.

According to EWG, nanoparticles aren’t really bad. They can enhance sun protection and are stable in sunlight. Moreover, they don’t really penetrate the skin in significant amounts. It’s only the inhalation of nanoparticles that’s dangerous (powder form in cosmetics) for the lungs.

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FAQs

1. Is sunscreen tested on animals?

Not all, but a lot are. Many brands test their sunscreens on rabbits, mice, and rats to study the effects of their products. These test animals may also be force fed with sunscreen. If they don’t die, the scientists will still kill them so they can examine their tissues and organs.

2. Is Alba Botanica sunscreen vegan?

Most of Alba Botanica’s products are vegan, with a few exceptions. Their Hawaiian Smoothing Sugar Cane Body Polish contains honey, while their Unpetroleum Jelly and some lip items contain beeswax.

The brand is also cruelty-free, making sure that even their suppliers do the same.

3. Is Bioré sunscreen vegan?

Bioré is often among the list of vegan-friendly sunscreens. However, being under the brand Kao, it is not entirely cruelty-free. The Kao company states that:

“For products other than cosmetics, our policy is to not conduct animal testing unless it cannot be avoided due to lack of availability of alternative methods, regulatory requirements or other similar reasons”.

There’s also the fact that China requires animal testing for all products sold in their country. This is regardless of where the product is made, inside or outside China, as long as it’s in their market. Bioré is also sold in China, so you know what that means.

4. Is Malibu sun cream vegan?

Malibu has a wide range of sun cream or sunscreen products. However, not all of them are vegan. According to Tofu & Trees, from their email inquiry, their products with SPF numbers 4, 6, and 8, including their lip balms contain beeswax. The rest are all suitable for vegans.

Being cruelty-free, Malibu also states that they only test their products on human volunteers.

5. Is Sun Bum vegan?

Mostly, yes! Their vegan products includes:

  • Original Sunscreen Lotions (SPF 15-50)
  • Original Sunscreen Sprays
  • Mineral Sunscreen Collection
  • SPF Lip Balms
  • Cool Down lotions and sprays
  • Baby Bum products

“Cocobalms, Tinted Lip Balms, Signature Lip Balm, Mineral Lip Balm and Baby Bum Diaper Rash Cream contain beeswax. We are currently working on a solution using synthetic beeswax. Our Blonde range of hair products uses natural Lehua Honey.”

All Sun Bum products are cruelty-free and gluten-free.

6. Is there vegan sunscreen for dark skin?

There’s actually a vegan sunscreen for every skin type! You might think darker skin tones do not need sunscreen just because they have more of the protective melanin. The truth is, no amount of melanin is enough to protect you from skin cancer!

The problem with most sunscreen products is that they leave a white cast. For darker skin, this can look unsightly. But the good news is, there are now many brands with formulations that address this common issue. Try these!

7. Is sunscreen safe for everyday use?

The thought of having to wear sunscreen everyday had a lot of people wondering. Is it actually safe to do so? The truth is, even with the concerns about the chemicals in most sunscreen products, there’s really not much to worry about.

Many health experts believe that the benefits of using sunscreen everyday outweigh the potential risks. Also, aside from FDA regulations keeping watch on these chemicals, there are plenty of chemical-free brands you can opt for.

Many health experts believe that the benefits of using sunscreen everyday outweigh the potential risks. Also, aside from FDA regulations keeping watch on these chemicals, there are plenty of chemical-free brands you can opt for.

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Cruelty-Free & Vegan Sunscreen Brands

Back in the days, sunscreen lacks variety. You’ll have to settle for generic ones, use it on your face and just hope it won’t break you out. Well today, sunscreens have more varieties to address specific skincare needs!

Vegan Sunscreen For Face

Non-Comedogenic Vegan Sunscreen

Vegan Sunscreen With Non-Greasy Formula

Vegan Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin

Tip: If you have acne-prone skin, look for non-greasy facial sunscreens with zinc!

Looking for vegan sunscreen at Target? click here.

Vegan Sunscreen Brands Around The World

The Best Vegan Sunscreen Brands

Best Organic Vegan Sunscreen

Brand:

Green People (UK)

Features:

  • All vegan product range
  • Certified organic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Plant-based, sustainable carbon-neutral packaging
  • Broad-spectrum
  • Marine-friendly
  • Water-repellent
  • Doesn’t clog pores
  • Contains antioxidants

Brand:

Dirty Hippie (AU & NZ)

Features:

  • Organic and handmade
  • All vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • No palm oil
  • Ethical sourcing
  • Recyclable/reusable/compostable packaging

Brand:

Goddess Garden Organics (US)

Features:

  • All vegan product range
  • Certified organic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Marine-friendly
  • Water-resistant
  • Broad-spectrum
  • No chemical sunscreens
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • No parabens and phthalates

Best Natural Vegan Sunscreen

Brand:

Little Tree Naturals

Features:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • All natural
  • Handmade
  • Broad-spectrum
  • Doesn’t clog pores
  • Water-resistant
  • Suitable for all skin type

Brand:

Anakiel

Features:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • All natural
  • 100% botanical
  • Water-repellent
  • No palm oil
  • Eco-friendly
  • Recyclable packaging

Brand:

Herbana Cosmetics

Features:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Non-comedogenic

Other Brands

Here are other great vegan & cruelty-free sunscreen brands worth mentioning:

All-vegan Sunscreen Product Range

All sunscreens in these brands are totally vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. Check out their wide product range!

  • Derma E – paraben-free
  • Kiss My Face – paraben and gluten free, with antioxidants
  • Pacifica – broad-spectrum, water resistant, with probiotics, no chemicals, no parabens.
  • Sunology – broad-spectrum, reef-friendly, eco-friendly.

Brands With Vegan Sunscreens

Not all of the sunscreens in these brands are vegan, but all the brands are cruelty-free. Just look for the vegan labels!

  • 100 Percent Pure by Purity Cosmetics – all natural ingredients
  • Jason Personal Care – reef-safe, biodegradable, no phthalates and parabens; non-GMO and gluten-free.
  • Coola  – paraben-free, and protects against digital UV too; safe for pregnant and nursing women; check their vegan-friendly range, and reef-safe products
  • Hydropeptide – no gluten, paraben, phthalates, and sulfates
  • MyChelle – free of phthalates, parabens, sulfates, ureas, artificial fragrances and colors, petroleum, GMOs, and gluten; reef-safe, broad-spectrum, and with antioxidants.
  • Avalon Organics – organic sunscreen range

BONUS: To learn about other top vegan sunscreens, check out the video below!

Choosing The Best Vegan Sunscreen

Avoid:

❌animal products

❌animal testing

❌chemicals

❌parabens

❌oxybenzone

❌phthalates

Choose:

✔️Vegan

✔️Cruelty-free

✔️Mineral sunscreen/sunblock

✔️Natural ingredients

✔️Environment-friendly

✔️Ocean/reef-friendly

✔️Broad-spectrum

How To Use Sunscreen Effectively

Do you know that one American dies every hour from skin cancer? Its cases continue to rise every year faster than any other types of cancer. The thing is, the primary cause of skin cancer, which is overexposure to sun, is also very much preventable!

Now that you have the right sunscreen, make sure to use it properly. This way you can maximize the protection you can get. Here are some tips:

  • Shake well before use and apply thickly. Use at least an ounce per application.
  • Apply 15 minutes before you get under the sun, or 30 minutes if you’ll sweat or swim. This will make sunscreen less likely to wash off.
  • Use sunscreen on all parts that will be exposed.
  • Reapply every 2 hours. More often if you sweat or get wet.
  • Always check ingredients if you have sensitivities or allergies.
  • Be mindful of expiration dates. Expiration degrades SPF.
  • Always bring extra clothing and UV sunglasses or a hat with a wide brim for covering. Get in the shade as much as possible.

If you’re always under the sun, make sure to check your skin for changes every now and then. Moles or skin growths that change in shape, size, and color should warrant a medical check-up.

Do you know that one American dies every hour from skin cancer? Its cases continue to rise every year faster than any other types of cancer. The thing is, the primary cause of skin cancer, which is overexposure to sun, is also very much preventable!

Conclusion

Animal products and animal testing make a lot of sunscreen brands NOT vegan. But while there are now a lot of vegan-friendly sunscreen products, care must be taken when it comes to the safety of the ingredients. As much as possible, choose non-chemical sunscreens.

Remember: Vegan sunscreen should also be cruelty-free!

Do you have a favorite vegan and cruelty-free sunscreen that ticks all the right boxes but didn’t appear on my list? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.

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