Surprisingly, the answer is almost certainly “no”. That’s because the majority of sunscreens – and certainly the more affordable brands – contain tiny grains of microplastic.
If you thought that plastic microbeads were banned for use in cosmetics, then think again. According to a post on the Moral Fibres eco blog, the ban applies only to “rinse-off products” such as toothpaste, shower gels and face scrubs.
It doesn’t cover products – like sunscreen – that are intended to be applied to the skin and left there.
So when sunscreen washes off in the sea or in the shower, the microplastic enters the aquatic environment and joins all the other bits of plastic – large and small – that find their way into our rivers and seas.
If you’d like to try a non-plastic sunscreen, Wendy of Moral Fibres has some suggestions, though they are generally much more expensive than the more popular brands.
Don’t fancy splashing out? Then Wendy is also encouraging people to put pressure on the government to extend the microbeads ban, by writing to their local MP.
For more information, read the full blog post on Moral Fibres: Does Your Sunscreen Contain Microplastic?
Footnote: I’ve discovered that my favourite sunscreen – Lifesystems Sport Sun Protection – contains dimethicone, so I’ll be trying one of Wendy’s suggestions: Shade All Natural SPF 25 Sunscreen which also has the advantage of not being packaged in plastic.