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.