General Questions

Is Stream2Sea FDA approved?

Sunscreens are regulated in the United States by the FDA as over the counter (OTC) drugs.  Although the FDA does not ‘approve’ OTC drugs, there are strict regulations surrounding their labeling and production.  All our formulas are registered with the FDA, and our facility is FDA registered and inspected.

Some of your products use Acrylates Copolymer. Is it biodegradable?

Acrylates Copolymer is a type of film former we use in our Mineral Sunscreen (SPF 20) for Face and Body and our Mineral Sunscreen (SPF 30) for Body that offers excellent long lasting water and rub-off resistance properties as well as improved skin feel at very low concentrations.

Although the polymers are not biodegradable, they absorb to bio-solids and are unlikely to accumulate in the food chain. They are also shown to be non-toxic to aquatic organisms on an acute basis with an LC50>100 mg/L in the most sensitive species tested. The acrylates we use are a large chain, large particle size that passed our toxicity trials. There are a few other ingredients we could have used for water resistance, but the natural ones are derived from pine, which we found to be toxic to the aquatic environment during our development process

Are your products vegan?

All our sunscreens EXCEPT our new SPF40 Zinc Balm are vegan.  Our founder is an animal rights activist, and was one of the early signers of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.  It was a very difficult decision for us, but we feel it is important to disclose that we tested our formulas during the development process on fish and coral because there are currently no standards or lab tests to determine safety. You can read more about that decision and the results here:

Do you use Sustainable Palm Oil?

We do not purchase palm oil or use it in any of our formulas, although it is used in some of the raw materials we manufacture with. Our primary raw material supplier, Croda, takes palm oil sustainability very seriously:

“Croda is committed to reducing its contribution to deforestation and any resultant impacts on climate change and biodiversity through working with organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and with suppliers and customers to ensure tractability of critical raw materials back to suitably accredited sources.”

Palm oil, when purchased through ethical sources contributes to global food security and provides income directly to local communities, since 40% of the world’s palm is produced by independent, small farmers rather than the large conglomerates.  You can learn more about Croda’s efforts to reduce palm oil in their formulas and to ensure the palm oil they use is fairly traded and sustainable:

Coral Reef Safe Sunscreen Questions

Why do you use Alumina? Isn’t it bad?

We use Alumina, not to be confused with Aluminum Chloride, which is often used in deodorants, cans, cookware, etc. 

Alumina is a natural inert mineral. It is a constituent of many rocks and soils and is the third most abundant element on earth making up close to 8% of the earth’s crust. Alumina is naturally found in fruits and vegetables because plants absorb it from the soil. It is also naturally found in small amounts in ground water.It has been rated by the Environmental Working Group as ‘Good’ with a score of ‘2’, which means minimal risk to humans or the environment.

Alumina or aluminum oxide, its used to naturally enhance water resistance, reduce oiliness and increase transparency onto the skin. It is used in our Mineral Sunscreen SPF 20 for Face and Body and Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 for Body.

Where can I find the expiration date on your sunscreen?

Most chemical sunscreens on the market expire after only 1 year. Stream2Sea mineral-based sunscreen has a shelf life of 3 years!

Where do you find the the expiration date? Stream2Sea’s sunscreen is regulated by the FDA and is considered an OTC (over-the-counter) drug. Therefore, we have a different method of lot coding and the lot number is considered the expiration date. It has nothing to do with when it is manufactured, as seen in the example image.

For the best sun protection, use Stream2Sea sunscreen before the stated expiration date and store it in a cool, dark place.


Will your reef safe mineral sunscreen stain my clothes?

Mineral sunscreens are naturally whitening and may discolor dark clothing or gear.  It will easily wash out with soap and water in most cases, and using an enzyme-based stain remover will help.  For gear, a little soap and water plus a scrub brush will usually remove any staining or whitening.

Our tinted sunscreens use iron oxides for color, and like most mineral make-ups or other sunscreens, they can discolor clothing or towels.  The best way we have found to remove mineral stains is to pre-treat with a stain remover, citric acid or lemon juice and let sit overnight before washing in the hottest water your garment can safely handle, and then air dry.

What do you mean by mineral sunscreens reflect rays while chemical sunscreens absorb rays?

Approved sunscreen ingredients come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each works differently to protect your skin from UV rays. The chemical sunscreens like methoxycinnamate, oxybenzone, avobenzone and the like work by absorbing into your skin and absorbing the UV rays. Besides the likelihood of irritating skin and the toxicity that has been associated with many of the chemical sunscreens, we simply don’t like the idea of putting something on your body to absorb something that we don’t want on or in our bodies. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sit on top of your skin and work by reflecting and scattering the UV light away from the skin… Make sense?

Do Stream2Sea products pass the Sunscreen Bans restrictions?

Yes, they do! All of our products are made with natural ingredients that do not harm or bleach coral.

For those who aren’t aware, Hawaii has passed a law that prohibits the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that harm coral, starting in 2021. Our sunscreens and other products do not contain these chemicals.

Is your sunscreen broad spectrum? What does that mean?

YES! All our sunscreens exceed the FDA’s requirements for broad-spectrum claims, offering protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Unless your sunscreen is broad spectrum, it may only protect you from the UVB rays that cause sunburn. The problem is that the UVA rays penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin – causing wrinkles and premature aging, as well as damage at the cellular level.

UVA1 light is in the range 340 – 400 mm; UVA 2 light is in the range of 320 – 340 nm.

A sunscreen with a critical wavelength over 370nm is considered by the FDA to provide excellent UVA protection. Stream2Sea sunscreens have critical wavelengths ranging from 380nm to 385nm, offering excellent broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays!

When you chose a sunscreen labeled BROAD-SPECTRUM, you are purchasing a product that has been tested by a third-party, FDA-regulated laboratory. A sunscreen needs to reflect (mineral) or absorb (chemical) at least 90% of the UV rays to be called broad spectrum. Although some suppliers have said that titanium dioxide does not offer broad-spectrum protection, all of our sunscreens exceed the FDA’s requirements.

Why don’t you offer an SPF 50+ sunscreen?

Sunscreens with very high SPFs offer only marginally better UVB protection (the rays that cause sunburn) than lower SPFs, yet consumers often believe they are getting double the protection. It would be logical to think that an SPF 30 would be twice as good as a 15, but that’s not how the ratings work. For example, an SPF 15 will block about 93% of the UVB rays, an SPF 30 will block about 97% and an SPF 50 will block about 98%. Moving beyond, the differences in protection are so minute yet give the users such a false sense of security that it may tempt people to stay in the sun longer than they should, while applying too little sunscreen. Your skin may be protected from sunburn, but could leave yourself exposed to the UVA rays that cause other kinds of skin and cellular damage. Our preference is to offer sunscreens that will feel good on your skin and encourage you to reapply every 80 minutes or after a good swim.The FDA has also called for a ban on sunscreens stating an SPF greater than 50, calling them misleading, but this has not yet been enforced. We hope to see this as a future regulation.

I still get burned when wearing sunscreen. Why?

The main cause of sunscreen failure is not using enough product and not reapplying often enough. On the day of your fun in the sun, slop it on. Don’t forget to reapply often. The FDA recommends at least every 2 hours, more often if playing in the water or sweating a lot.

If I use your sunscreen will I still be able to get a tan? Or once I have a tan, do I need to use sunscreen?

The answer to both these questions is YES, however getting a tan will be safer and more gradual. Remember that a tan is the body’s response to injury from UV rays. Darker and tanned skin has a higher melanin content which reduces the likelihood of burning, but it is still at risk for skin cancer. Those with darker skin especially need to use caution because skin cancer is less visible and often not diagnosed until it’s really bad. Our recommendation? If you are white, black, tan, pale, blue or purple — and playing or working in the sun, please use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Is your biodegradable sunscreen waterproof or water resistant?

The FDA no longer allows the use of the term “waterproof” when labeling sunscreens.  In 2011, the FDA changed the regulations regarding how sunscreens could be labeled.  Water-proof, Sweat-proof and sunblock were all removed from (compliant) labels, as the FDA determined these were misleading claims.  Some sunscreens are certainly more sweat and water resistant than others, but NONE are water proof!

Under the new regulations, sunscreens must now pass third party testing showing how long the consumer can expect the SPF protection to hold up while swimming or sweating.

How is this done?

Human volunteers apply the sunscreen, then after its dry, they are immersed in comfortable agitated water for 20 minutes.  They come out of the water for 20 minutes, then repeat for a total of 40 minutes of water immersion. The SPF is then measured AFTER the water immersion. This is the SPF that can then be printed on the bottle of the sunscreen that claims 40 minutes of water resistance. Very resistant tests would repeat until a total of 80 minutes immersion is reached..

All of our biodegradable sunscreens, including our lip balm, exceed the FDA’s rating for 80-minute water resistance. When you are ready to remove our reef safe sunscreens, you will literally need to wash them off with soap and water. Another advantage to that enhanced water resistance is that if you sweat or swim, they won’t run into your eyes or rinse off in the water. Even so, you should reapply every 80 minutes if you are sweating or swimming, or every two hours.

Why do mineral sunscreens leave a slight white sheen?

The statement “white is the new green” is gaining in popularity with folks who want to protect themselves and the environment. Minerals look pretty much like chalk. When mixed into a lovely formula of antioxidants like you find in Stream2Sea, and when applied correctly, it can go on very nicely with minimal sheen. If it really bothers you, you want it to blend better, we have two other options for you. We have a terrific tinted version in both spf 20 and spf 30 and a new Eco-safe Zinc Everday Sunscreen in an spf 45.

So why the white sheen? Minerals sit on top of your skin to reflect the sun away. The chemical sunscreens go into your skin and are later found in your bloodstream and within 30 minutes you can detect elevated levels of estrogen and endocrine disrupters. If a mineral is too clear, I would suspect nano particles which harm the environment. Protect yourself, your family, and your environment, choose Stream2Sea, the only brand of mineral sunscreen on the planet that has been tested and proven safe for humans, fish and coral larvae.

Mineral Sunscreen Ingredient Questions

So you use titanium dioxide. I thought TiO2 was bad for me too?

Titanium dioxide has gotten a bad rap for two reasons, neither of which is a concern for us:

1) When inhaled, it can have a similar effect as asbestos. We don’t use powdered TiO2 in our production facility, and don’t recommend that you play with it. You are not going to inhale our sunscreen and we’re not going to inhale the material during production. A-OK there.

2) Traditional sunscreen grades of TiO2 may not effectively protect against UVA rays. Ours does! Significant testing efforts in FDA-approved facilities show that our titanium dioxide provides long-lasting UVA and UVB protection. Used as a single active ingredient, our TiO2 exceeds both the European and FDA guidelines for UVA protection as well as FDA’s requirements for broad-spectrum sunscreen. Our dispersion is naturally derived and has been approved by Ecocert for use in organic and natural skin care products. Our sunscreens also show exceptional photo stability.

I read that titanium dioxide oxidizes in the water and harms marine life! Is that true?

The information provided about titanium dioxide and zinc oxides used in sunscreens, is correct as it pertains to nano-minerals.  T1O2, (titanium dioxide), in its nano-form can harm aquatic life through this exposure.  This is called,  “photo-oxidation.”

It’s really important when purchasing mineral-based sunscreen that you look for “non-nano,” in the ingredients listing on the label and this is why.  The nano particles, while they do make for a more sheer product for our use, can harm the beneficial organisms that make up the ocean.  Phytoplankton in particular, are not just food for other organisms, they also attribute to a large portion of the oxygen we breath on Earth.  Larger organisms such as corals and oysters also, for lack of a better description, can choke on the smaller particles in nano minerals.

NON-nano titanium dioxide, however, does not create a photo-oxidation.

You can read more about this here:

What about zinc oxide?

Remember the lifeguards at the beach or pool with the blue or white nose? They used zinc oxide mineral sunscreens, which were OK as long as YOU were OK with the heavy, pasty white or blue nose. Today’s sophisticated sunscreen manufacturers have three primary options when using zinc in their formulas:

– Clear zinc oxide which is coated with inert substances. You can recognize this on a label by ‘non-whitening’ or ‘goes on clear’ verbiage. This material has been optimized to improve skin feel and reduce whitening — BUT we have yet to see ANY testing that has shown aquatic safety.  There are several different grades of Clear Zinc, the most common brand being ZinClear™, produced by Altria or Dow Chemicals.  It is so highly toxic to aquatic organisms that a cautionary statement is listed on the front page of the MSDS sheet.  We do not believe it should be in used in any sunscreens when playing in or on the water.

– Nano-particle or micro-fine zinc oxide, which typically has a particle size ranging from 300 – 70 nm for microfine or less than 100 nm for nano-grade. The micro-fine is mostly non-nano, but is partially small enough to present potential damage.  It is well accepted that nano zinc is aquatic toxic.

– Uncoated zinc oxide, which can be either nano or non-nano. Raw zinc has been shown to affect the pH of the environment and does exhibit some aquatic toxicity.  Coatings on zinc can improve the spreadability and reduce the pH shifts, making it potentially a safer choice for the aquatic environment.

What is EcoSafe Zinc™?

EcoSafe Zinc™ we use in our EcoSticks is non-nano, naturally-coated, USP grade and Cosmos certified.

NOT all zinc oxides are created equally, and ours is the only zinc we have identified that has passed rigorous aquatic safety testing.

What’s the main difference between the Titanium Dioxide sunscreens and the new Zinc one, other than the SPF and mineral ingredient?

Our new Eco-Stick formulas contain a blend of titanium dioxide & our new EcoSafe™ Zinc (which passes all of our rigorous aquatic toxicity testing requirements). However, given their size (TSA-friendly) and packaging they are formulated for easier & on-the-go application – we like them for kids (and/or husbands/wives/partners) who will not stand still long enough for overall application! Given their concentration and size, they will not provide as extensive coverage as the original Sunscreen products. The original formulas will always be our go-to formulas for the active water-loving, sun-worshipping individual, as they provide overall coverage and long-lasting protection.

Nanoparticles in Sunscreens Questions

Does your mineral sunblock contain nanoparticles like Clear Zinc?

NO – our sunscreens do NOT contain nanoparticles. For those that really want to know, our mean particle size tested at 179 nm.

Why do companies use nano zinc oxide?

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide form a physical barrier that reflects and scatters UV light. The smaller the particle, the less whiting the appearance. The only way to achieve a transparent appearance on the skin is to deliver the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in nanoparticle form. We feel that a little whitening is a good tradeoff for the health of our bodies and our environment.

But what is a nanoparticle?

The European Cosmetics Regulation defines ‘nanomaterial’ as ‘an insoluble or biopersistant and intentionally manufactured material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the scale from 1 to 100 nm.’ These can be up to 100,000 times smaller than a human hair! The chemical make-up of a nanoparticle may be different from its larger physical form, meaning that it can react differently within a living system. The smaller the nanoparticle, the deeper they can travel into a cellular structure. Although manufacturers have stated that nanoparticles are safe, there are still multiple concerns among scientists. Some researchers believe that nanoparticles will be absorbed through the skin and can pass the blood-brain barrier. Nanoparticles in lip balms could be swallowed. If there is a break or burn on the skin, nanoparticles could easily pass through.

We know that every product we use on our bodies ultimately reaches the ocean. A recent study has shown that zinc oxide nanoparticles, even in extremely low concentrations, caused significant developmental disorders in sea life (link here When nano sunscreens wash off people’s bodies, they can harm our environment.

Our motto, when in doubt, throw it out (or recycle it J). We don’t use them. Did we already tell you that white is the new green?

Face, Hair & Body Care Questions

What is the SPF of the shampoo and conditioner?

Although both formulas do contain UV protecting ingredients, the FDA does not allow SPF ratings for these types of products.  The formulas are created to protect your hair against UV damage and color fading, but do not offer SPF protection for the scalp. 

Sensitive Skin Questions

My skin is sensitive to chemicals and zinc. Can I use your products?

Our titanium dioxide is very mild, classified as a non-irritant and is ideal for children and those with sensitive skin. That said, there’s always someone who is sensitive to something. Please do spot test any new products on your skin prior to smearing it all over your body and ruining your day of fun in the sun!

Are your products safe for use on babies/children?

If your baby is under six months old, always consult your doctor. Whenever applying a new product to your child (or yourself for that matter), it is always wise to spot test on a small area like the inner arm or thigh the day before you are planning to use it to make sure there aren’t any unknown sensitivities to any of the ingredients. If irritation occurs, try another product.

That said, our formulas are very gentle and mild and were formulated specifically to be suitable for children and those with sensitive skin.

Will your sunscreen make my skin break out?

We have sensitive skin too!  Many mineral based sunscreens use oils to make them spread easier.  Not at Stream2Sea! Because our formulas are water-based, you might have to spend a little more effort rubbing in our sunscreen, but they are not greasy and won’t block your pores! 

Are your products gluten-free?

In order to claim gluten-free, the products must be tested by a third party and we have not yet prioritized that testing. That said, we believe they are gluten-free and do not use any gluten-based ingredients (wheat, rye, barley, etc.) in any of our formulas.

Do you test on animals?

We have a confession to make – we test all our products on friends and corporate officers. We also tested our products to ensure they would not be harmful to fish and other aquatic life when used as directed. We are adamantly opposed to animal testing when there are other alternatives. In nearly every case – except aquatic toxicity – there are options besides testing on living creatures. At this time, there are no cellular cultures or models that effectively assess aquatic toxicity. Therefore, our testing included the use of purposely bred live fish and EcoConsciously and scientifically obtained coral larvae which allows us to state with confidence that our formulas are safe for freshwater fish, saltwater fish and coral larvae so that we can say with confidence that our products are safe for freshwater fish, saltwater fish and coral larvae!For more details on this decision, please read our Autumn’s blog post on the topic here.

Packaging Questions

What is Sugarcane resin packaging?

We don’t like plastic either and are very excited to announce that we are using 100% recyclable tubes made from sugarcane resins.

Read more:

When using paper products, cartons and brochures, we use eco-friendly inks and recycled papers including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified papers. FSC is an independent organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. When you see this logo, you can be confident that buying it won’t be harming they world’s forests.

Are your full-sized products refillable if I unscrew the cap?

They’re really not intended for re-use. We love the idea, but honestly, we minimize the number of preservatives in our products because they are the harshest part of a formula.

As soon as someone starts refilling an existing package, it opens it up for contamination.

If you want to refill from the bigger bottle (which we love), your best bet is to get the silicone tubes where you can boil them between fills.

Shipping Questions

Do you ship internationally?

Yes, we do! We ship from our UK warehouse. If you wish find a store where you can purchase Stream2Sea near you with locations please use our Store Search.

My package is stuck in Customs. What do I do?

We’re so sorry to hear that your package is being delayed by customs. Please reach out to our customer support team at and we’d be happy to assist you in trying to locate your package. 

Please note, Stream2Sea cannot contact customs on your behalf, but we are happy to guide you in the steps necessary to retrieve your package. All Customs and Duty are responsible of the customer.

I received a damaged or incorrect product, what do I do?

Damaged Product

We can assure you that products leave our warehouse in an excellent state. Stream2Sea has a quality assurance process to ensure that all items leave our warehouses in great condition. Our products are shipped from UK via Royal Mail. The journey involves a little more handling and sometimes along the way, a box may superficially dent or crease or a bottle may leak.

If you received a badly damaged package, please take a photo of the damaged item(s) and reach out to our customer support team at and we’d be happy to assist you.

Incorrect Product

We are very sorry if a mistake was made in processing your order. Please contact us immediately with your order number at Please attach photos of the incorrect item(s) you received to help identify the mistake.

For more information please visit our Shipping & Returns page.

Other Questions

Organizing an event or giveaway and want to use our products?

If you, or your organization, would like a one-time product donation for an event or giveaway, we would love to hear about it! In exchange, we need to be sure that you, and those receiving our products are educated on how to properly use them, as well as what makes them eco-friendly.

Interested in becoming a partner with Stream2Sea?

We’re always looking to collaborate with folks who are passionate about the Stream2Sea mission to #ProtectWhatYouLove. We have lots of different programs based on your influence and desired level of involvement.

Click here to learn more!

Have more questions? Get in touch!