Parabens are a group of chemicals that are used as preservatives to stop the growth of fungus, bacteria, and mold in many different health and beauty products. However, many choose to avoid them for the risks they potentially pose. Luckily, the best paraben-free sunscreens provide the same quality coverage and protection without those risks.
Why avoid parabens? Parabens can enter the body through your skin and some scientific studies suggest that they can disrupt your hormones, according to the Environmental Working Group. This could potentially cause health problems including reproductive issues (though some say there is not enough evidence to prove this). The FDA limits the amount of parabens in products. However, when you use multiple products that contain parabens on a daily basis, you may still be overloading your body with these chemicals. Parabens may also impact the environment. They have been found in the bodies of marine mammals including dolphins, sea otters, and polar bears.
When choosing a sunscreen, you'll likely have to pick between two kinds of active ingredients: chemical and physical (also called mineral).
Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone. They are less likely to leave white streaks, but some places, including Hawaii, have banned certain chemical sunscreen ingredients including oxybenzone because they may be harmful to aquatic life. However, they're often less heavy on the skin.
Physical sunscreens use zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both to deflect or scatter the sun's rays. They are a great option if you have sensitive skin since they're less likely to cause irritation, but are also more likely to leave a white cast on your skin.
To help you narrow down your sunscreen options, here are the five best paraben-free sunscreens on Amazon, carefully selected for your unique needs.
1. The Best Paraben-Free Sunscreen For Your Body
With more than 600 reviews and a 4.3-star rating on Amazon, reviewers adore this paraben-free sunscreen from Supergoop. This chemical SPF 50 formula easily rubs into the skin without leaving white streaks behind, and it's super lightweight, meaning no sticky feeling while wearing it. Plus, with ingredients like sunflower extract, which is rich in beta carotene to protect skin from environmental aggressors, and rosemary leaf extract, which has a calming effect on the skin and is rich in antioxidants, you can expect your skin to be protected from the sun but also feel moisturized.
What Amazon reviewers are saying: “It has to feel right, not be sticky, not smell bad, rub in fast… and this fits the bill.”
2. The Best Paraben-Free Sunscreen For Your Face
This sunscreen and moisturizer combo from DRMTLGY does double duty to hydrate your skin and protect it from the sun, making it a great choice for faces. This paraben-, fragrance-, and oil-free formula works for all skin types and features hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to plump the skin. A mix of physical and chemical active ingredients offer SPF 45 to protect your skin with minimal white streaks. And if it doesn't work for you, there is also a 60-day guarantee.
What Amazon reviewers are saying: “I really love the ease of use, packaging, and the effectiveness. Overall, I am extremely satisfied, and I'll be keeping this in my regular purchase line-up for sunscreen.”
3. The Best Paraben-Free Sport Sunscreen
This paraben-free sunscreen from All Good offers 80 minutes of water-resistance while still having a lightweight, non-greasy formula. This physical sunscreen uses non-nano zinc oxide to provide SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun while also being coral-reef friendly, making it a great pick for you and the environment. Other ingredients like organic green tea and buriti oil nourish the skin. However, since zinc oxide is the active ingredient, it could potentially leave white streaks.
What Amazon reviewers are saying: “I do a lot of hiking, and sunscreen has been part of my skin care regimen for decades. I now have a sunscreen that goes on smoothly, does not leave a white cast, protects my skin without harming the coral reef, doesn't burn my eyes, and is very reasonably priced. All Good is my new favorite and I'll be recommending it to my friends.”
4. The Best Sunscreen For Kids And Babies
Protect your baby’s sensitive skin with this SPF 50 sunscreen from Thinkbaby, which is top-rated by the EWG for ingredient safety. With 80 minutes of water resistance, this sunscreen is perfect for fun days when you don't want to be constantly reapplying. This physical sunscreen contains zinc oxide as the active ingredient, which is reef-friendly, but may be a bit difficult to rub into the skin of your child and might leave white streaks. However, this doesn’t seem to bother Amazon reviewers; this product has more than 650 reviews and a 4.4-star rating. It's also cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan.
What Amazon reviewers are saying: “I have tried ALL of the safe sunscreens, so save yourself some time and trust me when I say this is the best one. It has a consistency just like regular sunscreen - smooth and soft, not sticky or pasty like many natural sunscreens.”
5. The Best Budget Paraben-Free Sunscreen
This budget-friendly sunscreen from Hint will not only save you some serious dough, but the 360-degree spray will also save you plenty of time while drying quickly. This SPF 30 chemical sunscreen smells like pineapple, and is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Fans love how light and streak-free it is.
What Amazon reviewers are saying: “Best sunscreen ever! Truly lightweight and not greasy at all. Once you apply it you seriously can’t even tell you’re wearing sunscreen! And the smell... so good.”
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.