Sunscreen is a must-have island-hopping around Thailand, but did you know that most commercial sun protection contains harmful chemicals that can kill coral? These reef-safe sunscreens are tested and loved by our staff at Roctopus Dive, helping keep our ecosystem healthy and our skin protected in the sun, salt, and sand of Koh Tao!


Given Koh Tao’s year-round beautiful weather, skin protection is critical on our sunny little island, especially out on the water on our way to dive sites. But most of that sunscreen washes off your skin as you jump in the ocean, and any chemicals in it go straight into the marine environment.

But some active ingredients in big-name sunscreen brands have been proven to be toxic to coral, affecting their ability to grow and reproduce, and promotes viral infection across coral colonies. According to a study reported in The New York Times, the some 14,000 tons of sunscreen that washes into the world’s oceans annually is a bigger threat to marine ecosystems than climate change.

Making the simple switch to a sustainable, eco-friendly brand can help preserve paradise around the world.

When shopping, look out for harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate in the listed ingredients. Instead, grab a bottle labeled as:

  • Containing mineral-based with zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These minerals sit on top of the skin, blocking harmful rays, and are not damaging to the environment.
  • “Non-nano” products. Nano-particles are similar to microplastics – just smaller – in that they can be ingested by fish and other sea life, causing harm and passing the particles up the food chain.
  • PABA-free. PABA, or para-aminobenzoic acid, is an ingredient used in many toiletries and cosmetics that has been linked to liver cancer and skin allergies.

Or go with one of our personal favourites!

Sun Bear Sunscreen

Courtesy of Sun Bear

This powerhouse sunscreen is palm oil free, PABA and oxybenzone free, vegan, and not tested on animals. The Australian company has worked with leading scientists to create a product that offers an island-ready SPF 50+ rating, which is produced entirely using solar power and comes in fully recyclable packaging.

Why we love it

In addition to offering up perfect sun protection, the social entrepreneurs at Sun Bear donate an incredible 80% of profits to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. This adorable species on the brink of extinction serves a critical role in keeping the rainforests healthy. BSBCC is the only sun bear sanctuary in the world, which works to rehabilitate and care for the remaining sun bear population.

Badger Natural & Organic Sunscreen

 Courtesy of Badger Balm

Badger’s longstanding formula has won awards for its quality and safety, blending organic plant extracts, exotic oils, beeswax, and minerals to create its moisture-rich sun protection.

Why we love it

Badger sources many ingredients from expert local communities and families from around the world. As a small island family ourselves, we understand the importance of supporting local businesses and maintaining an ethical supply chain. Plus, their products smell incredible!


 Courtesy of Supergoop!

Supergoop! is the mermaid of all sunscreens, blending all-natural ingredients into a full-on line of SPF-infused skincare and beauty products, from mineral-based hand creams and facial powder, to sunless tan sprays antioxidant-infused sunblocking mist.

Why we love it

The team at Supergoop! are innovative and forward-thinking, developing products that promote the importance of avoiding harmful chemicals in our everyday routines.

Avasol Surfer Stick

 Courtesy of Avasol

This surfer staple offers heavy-duty sun protection for those beach days, made of entirely bio-based materials and truly water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The stick also comes in different skin tones that blend perfectly into your skin without being messy or greasy.

Why we love it

The stick container is super convenient and made with zero plastic, so it’s completely biodegradable! It’s the perfect addition to our toolkits to re-up sun protection throughout the day and holds up during bright, sunny training sessions on the sea surface.

All Good Sunscreen

 Courtesy of All Good Brand

With its line of zinc-based products, All Good has been not only a sustainability-driven business but a true advocate for the reefs and their preservation for years, directly supporting restoration and education projects around the world.

Why we love it

The company’s newest release is a 6-ingredient sunscreen butter packaged in a small tin, which demonstrates All Good’s dedication toward plastic-free operations. There is also a huge variety of sunscreens to choose from, from easy sport sprays to soothing sunblock formulas for sensitive skin.