Oxybenzone-free Sun Protection: Five of the Safest and Most Effective SPFs

Oxybenzone, or benzonephenone-3, is one of the most common chemical filters found in commercial sunscreens. It forms colorless crystals that are readily soluble, and provides UV coverage; however, controversy around this chemical has begun to reshape the sun care market.

If you've been following industry news, you may have heard Hawaii recently became the first U.S. state to pass a bill banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. If the state's governor signs the bill into law, more than 3,500 sunscreen products will be prohibited in the tropical islands beginning 2021.

As a player in the sun care industry, word of one of the most common chemical filters in your product being banned can be worrisome. However, there are alternative solutions out there that remain in compliance while still appealing to your consumers. We have created a quick look at reasons to start moving towards oxybenzone-free products, as well as personal care solutions already out there to keep you on top of these market changes.

Why Oxybenzone-free

The issue with most conventional sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and other chemicals is that they may cause damage to the ocean's coral reefs. Although the recent requirement to ban these ingredients will only affect Hawaii, this measure may eventually have nationwide impacts. Moreover, while the primary function of oxybenzone is to absorb UV light, research has shown that it significantly penetrates the skin and stays in our bodies for an unknown amount of time.

As such, many consumers are turning to alternative sunscreens as a safer and more effective solution for both users and the environment; therefore, personal care companies would be wise to get a jump on the possible future changes and increasing global trends.

Alternative Sunscreen Formulations Fit for You

When it comes to finding and creating the best sun care products that no longer contain these banned chemicals, Univar Solutions can help you make that choice with confidence. Following a consumer approach to look for oxybenzone-free products, our formulation lab experts have developed several alternatives to address the upcoming market changes.

These five advanced formulations address a variety of consumer needs in the sun care market, while still remaining compliant with the proposed Hawaii sunscreen legislation:

1. Hawaiian Surf SPF 30 Oxybenzone-Free Body Lotion

For You If: You are wanting to produce a lightweight, broad spectrum SPF 30 that imparts a non-greasy, smooth after-feel.

2. High SPF (50+) Water-Resistant Oxybenzone-free Sunscreen

For You If: You are needing a water-resistant, durable sun protection product that absorbs quickly without a sticky after-feel. 

3. Mineral-Based SPF 50 Oxybenzone-Free Sunscreen

For You If: A mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen is needed, containing natural emollients, emulsifiers and rheology modifiers. This product also contains ingredients shown to provide anti-pollution and blue light protection benefits for the environmentally conscious consumer.

4. SPF 50 Oxybenzone-Free Sport Spray Sunscreen

For You If: Your consumers are looking for a water-resistant, touch-free, rub-free sunscreen spray that applies clear and dries quickly while imparting a silky, light feel.

5. SPF 50 Oxybenzone-Free Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

For You If: Your consumers are in the market for lotion with skin-soothing ingredients that cater to their sensitive skin. This formulation, while acting as a gentle, irritant-free lotion, is still certified for broad-spectrum protection.


If you are looking to stay on top of the upcoming regulations or get a one-up on your competitors who want to align with consumer trends, the Univar Solutions global solution centers are at the ready. Whether you are interested in reformulating your sun care products or leveraging our formulations for turnkey use, our team is ready to help you tackle challenges within the personal care industry.

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