Holland & Barrett (H&B) has stopped selling suncare products containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in favour of reef-safe mineral formulas, stating it is the first major UK retailer to ban chemical sunscreens.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate have been directly linked to the damage of vulnerable marine life such as coral reefs, mussels, fish and dolphins, and Thailand and Hawaii have both announced a complete ban on these ingredients.

The retailer is continuing to stock brands including Ultrasun, Sukin, Moogoo, Jason and Green People, but to coincide with the ban, it has introduced its own Mineral Sunscreen, which it boasts is ‘one of the most affordable on the market’. With an advanced mineral, liquid formulation that is easy to apply, it comes in SPFs 15, 30 and 50, housed in packaging made from recycled plastic.

When countries started
banning chemical suncare ingredients
we felt we had to act too

“As a business that cares about the wellness of people and our planet, we’re constantly looking at ways to help make beauty shopping more sustainable,” explains Jo Cooke, H&B beauty trading director, commenting on the move. “When countries started banning chemical suncare ingredients we felt we had to act too. This move gives our beauty customers a range where they do not have to make a choice between being environment safe or skin safe in the sun.”

Adds Nicola Bridge, head of ocean advocacy and engagement at the Ocean Conservation Trust, adds: “We are really excited to hear that Holland & Barrett is taking this huge step to support a thriving ocean. Everyone can make simple changes in their daily lives to help protect our ocean and we recommend using sustainable sunscreen as a great way to keep yourself and the ocean safe. Hopefully other retailers will be inspired to do the same for the health of our ocean.”