Spray sunscreen is safe and effective

Sun protection without coral poison and nanoparticles - the check

Whether cream, milk, oil or spray - the sun protection season has started again.
As always, the offer is large and sometimes confusing. But what protection is there without palm oil, without chemical substances that can kill corals and other marine animals - and without nanoparticles that are harmful to humans?
We checked - and found:
Above all, most manufacturers do not want to (or cannot) do without palm oil. You can find out why under the point about palm oil.
Even if the sunscreens mentioned here may contain palm oil - we still recommend them because there are no alternatives and they are harmless to coral reefs and do not contain nanoparticles.

Most important facts
  • Which sunscreens are unhealthy?
  • Is there sunscreen without nanoparticles?
  • Why can sunscreen damage coral reefs?
  • Why is there almost always palm oil in the creams?

That's how we tested

We only took a close look at the organic products because the so-called UV filter in the "normal" sunscreens consists of chemical active ingredients. The UV filter is supposed to intercept the harmful solar radiation; it is specified as a sun protection factor, for example 20, 30 or a maximum of 50. However, experts have found that chemical UV filters can be harmful to health. For example, they can cause allergies or even cancer. And kill corals.

How does sunscreen work?

In organic sun creams, the UV filters consist of minerals, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They form a protective layer on the skin that reflects the sun's rays like tiny mirrors. Maybe you already know a sunscreen like this. Then you know that it often leaves a white film on the skin that is very slowly absorbed.
Because many people find this annoying, the manufacturers have reacted: They have greatly reduced the size of the mineral particles. But that can be a problem. Some products now contain such tiny particles that they are only in the so-called nano range - and that can be risky because these tiny particles can penetrate the skin. For this reason we have only selected sunscreens without nanoparticles.

There are a few terms for the ingredients of the products presented, which we will explain to you here in advance. They must be stated on the packaging so that you can easily recognize them - and avoid them.

One more note about the prices: All four products are slightly more expensive than the creams from discounters or drugstores. We did not discover any organic sun protection there without palm oil, nanoparticles and mineral sun protection factors. But you don't always need huge amounts for a summer. Therefore, we think that you can also spend a euro or two more.

Hawaii and Palau ban certain sunscreens - to protect their coral reefs

Many sunscreens are poison for coral reefs. Italian marine biologists on behalf of the EU Commission discovered this back in 2008. The two chemicals octinoxate and oxybenzone are primarily responsible. They are used as UV filters and damage the genetic make-up of fish and corals.
But it was only 10 years after this knowledge that the first island states reacted - because they are particularly affected: The US state of Hawaii and the island state of Palau in the Pacific have decided to legally ban sunscreens with the chemical UV filters octinoxate and oxybenzone. Palau from 2020, Hawaii from 2021.
Many coral reefs have died around Hawaii. One reason for this is the warming of our oceans, say scientists. Another: our suntan lotion.
This is another reason why we recommend sun protection with a mineral UV filter.
Find out why coral reefs mustn't die here.

What and why do most manufacturers use Pamöl?

Palm oil is found in the ingredients caprylic / capric triglyceride. These are so-called emulsifiers (binders) that help to combine two immiscible liquids. For example oil and water.
Most manufacturers use emulsifiers with palm oil because pam oil is the cheapest vegetable oil on the world market and is abundantly available.
The manufacturers of the organic sunscreens we asked for gave the following information about palm oil:
Eco cosmetics buys emulsifiers with coconut oil, partly also olive and soybean oil. The company only buys a product containing palm oil when these are not available in sufficient quantities. That was the last case 7 years ago.
Eubiona tries to get all raw materials from coconut or soy or similar oils. In the event of delivery bottlenecks, the company also buys palm oil, but this happens very rarely.
i + m natural cosmetics mainly uses palm oil. But they are well aware of the palm oil problem and have wanted to make products palm-free for a long time.
Also the Belgian manufacturer of Biosolis knows the palm oil problem and emphasizes that they only use certified raw materials.

Palm oil Incidentally, manufacturers of cosmetics also hide behind these names: Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate or Glyceryl Stearate SE.

What are nanoparticles?

The term nano describes the size of the individual particles in a substance. Nanos comes from the Greek and means dwarf. Nano stands as a prefix for a billionth.
Nanoparticles are only allowed in cosmetics if the use of these particles is safe and therefore not hazardous to health. The use of nanomaterials must be clearly marked.
Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are often used in sunscreens. As already mentioned above, as a mineral light protection filter.
The World Health Organization has classified nano-titanium dioxide as possibly carcinogenic in humans. Sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are therefore only recommended if the particles are larger than the nano range.

What is PEG?

Polyethylene glycols are used in many cosmetic products. But they can irritate the skin and trigger allergies. The main substance in polyethylene glycols is ethylene oxide. This substance can damage the genetic material and cause cancer. Incidentally, PEGs are not approved for natural cosmetics.

What are parabens?

In cosmetics, parabens are used as preservatives - not only in sun protection, but also in shower gel or toothpaste. For years, however, parabens have been suspected of interfering with human hormone levels.


Organic sun creams from natural cosmetics manufacturers:

Eco cosmetics sun protection

  • It comes as a lotion, cream, milk, spray, gel and oil
  • Sun protection factor: 10 to 50
  • without hormonally active substances, nanoparticles, aluminum salts, PEG, parabens
  • without synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives
  • vegan and made without animal testing
  • Manufacturer: Eco natural cosmetics
  • Price for 100 ml: from € 18.53, depending on the SPF and dealer
  • The Ey-Sunspray (new line for young people) costs from € 15.40 / 100 ml
  • available in many natural food, natural cosmetics and organic stores
  • no palm oil for 7 years (instead coconut, olive, soybean oil)

The sun creams in the video test:

Eubiona sun protection

  • Available as cream and milk
  • Sun protection factor 20 and 30
  • without nanoparticles, parabens, PEG
  • vegan
  • 95% of the herbal ingredients from organic farming
  • Manufacturer: eubiona organic cosmetics
  • Price: 100 ml from € 14.95 depending on the SPF and dealer
  • available in organic shops and in specialist shops for health food and natural products
  • rarely palm oil, more coconut or soybean oil

i + m natural cosmetics Sun Protect

  • Available as cream and milk
  • Sun protection factor 30
  • without nanoparticles
  • vegan
  • without animal testing
  • Organic quality
  • Manufacturer: i + m natural cosmetics
  • Price: 100 ml from € 12.90 depending on the dealer
  • available in organic and drug stores (e.g. denn's, Müller, Bio Company, Budni)
  • predominantly with palm oil

Biosolis sun care

  • Is available as a cream, milk and spray
  • Sun protection factor 15 to 50
  • without nanoparticles
  • Manufacturer: Provera SA in Belgium
  • Price: 100 ml from € 18.50
  • available at Altnatura, Basic, in many organic supermarkets, drugstore Müller-Naturshop, in specialist shops
  • predominantly with palm oil


By the way: Light clothing and hats or headscarves are still the best sun protection. You should also look for a shady spot between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Last updated: May 6, 2020