Scientific Proof


When it comes to eco claims, the beauty and wellness sector is still like the Wild West. Anybody can pretty much say anything and nothing much happens.

There is a move to introduce anti-Greenwash legislation in the EU and also some initiatives to set standards, but for now just about anything goes.

Consumers are fighting back. Just google “Class Actions Suits Reef-Friendly Sunscreens” and see what you find… plenty of brands are being called to task.

Here’s how some brands continue to befuddle consumers with ‘reef-safe, ‘reef-friendly’ and ‘ocean-friendly’ claims:


It’s a red herring. Just because ingredients degrade, dissolve and disperse, it doesn’t at all guarantee that they will do no harm. It’s molecular compatibility that really counts.


This is what magicians call misdirection. “Look over here”. All of these sun filters (the active ingredients doing the protective work) are not harvested or mined from nature as these names suggest but instead man-made in the same factories as ‘chemical sun filters’. They’re all ‘chemical’ too in fact but then again, so are you. So while Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide do occur in nature, the ones in Organic/Mineral/Natural formulations, are factory-made often coated, or very small and according to this study react with sunlight to create hydrogen peroxide, thereby damaging phytoplankton. Alongside coral and sea grass, phytoplankton is another huge pillar of marine life and also an enormous carbon sink.


A number of man-made ‘chemical’ sun filters have been found to damage coral. Several of these are made in the U.S. (the country which communicates on this subject the most) and are not declared safe for human use in the E.U.

Excluding them from (U.S.) formulations, is a great start in mitigating damage to coral (and humans). However, what about the other ingredients??? At Aethic, we know for a fact, from having tested them, that a good number of fillers, thickeners, preservatives, essential oils and perfumes can also harm coral.



The crucial test is compatibility. Ingredients must first provide skin with photo-stable UVA/UVB protection and should be compatible with people as well as marine life. Only testing of the entire formula can verify this.

We had a full range of ingredients tested on coral. The harmful ones were then excluded and a finished product was formulated with the harmless ingredients and tested on coral once more. Intact.

We also had the finished product tested on sea urchins and clams. It left these intact too.

The testing was done by the same scientists who first discovered the problem sunscreens posed to coral and published their seminal study in 2008. (Upon reading this, our founder decided something had to be done and started Aethic).

All the scientific evidence was used to apply for a patent. It’s an invention after all. The patent was scrutinised by patent offices around the world. It passed and was granted.

One of the world’s largest personal care companies, tried to have the patent revoked. Twice. The second time in appeal. Both times, Aethic’s patent was upheld.

So now you know why we say: “The World’s Only Proven and Patented Ecocompatible Formula” 

On behalf of corals and marine life worldwide, thank you for your protecting your skin with Aethic’s products.

If you wish to have more detailed information, please visit this site.



Aethic Reef safe Sunscreen SPF 40+
The ingredients in our patented formula.

Aqua, Cera Alba, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoylhexyl Benzoate, Methylenebis-benzotriazolyltetramethylbutylphenol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Lavandula Hybrida Abrialis Oil, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool, Edta.

Aethic reef safe sunscreen seal

“There is growing consumer concern that words like biodegradable, reef safe, eco-friendly, natural, mineral or organic could just be bluewash. We urge all sunscreens producers making or implying eco-claims to substantiate them for their final finished formula. Consumers today deserve scientific proof; true, relevant, eco-compatibility test results published and peer-reviewed by reputable marine scientists”

Aethic Founder & CEO Allard Marx