Supergoop Sunscreen Review: Does it Have Toxic Ingredients?

Supergoop Sunscreen Review: Does it Have Toxic Ingredients?


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Supergoop is one of the most popular sunscreen brands in the U.S. The brand markets their products as “SPF Boosted Skincare” and claims that their products can “help prevent up to 90% of the signs of aging.”

But does Supergoop actually contain research-backed anti-aging ingredients or are these just marketing claims? Are the sunscreen ingredients in their products safe? How do real users rate Supergoop sunscreen? And which retailer sells this brand for the best price?

In this article we’ll answer these questions and more as we review every ingredient in Supergoop’s two most popular sunscreens: Glowscreen and Unseen Sunscreen.

We’ll give our take on whether these products are likely to be safe and effective for sun protection and anti-aging, feature some real user reviews of the brand and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Supergoop sunscreen for the best price.

We'll also explain why Supergoop was sued over one of its marketing claims.

Supergoop Glowscreen Review

Supergoop Glowscreen ingredients

The ingredients in Supergoop Glowscreen are shown above.

Supergoop Glowscreen is a chemical sunscreen, which means that it contains active ingredients that absorb into the skin to absorb UV rays from the sun, and these ingredients end up in the bloodstream.

Octocrylene at a concentration of 10%, octisalate at 5% and avobenzone at 3% are the active ingredients.

While these ingredients are effective for sun protection, we recommend avoiding them. A medical review published in the Chemical Research in Toxicology journal documented that octocrylene breaks down into a compound called benzophenone in the body, and the study authors described benzophenone as a carcinogen, which means it may cause cancer, and is an endocrine-disruptor.

Avobenzone has been shown in clinical research to disrupt metabolism and cause obesogenic (increasing the risk of obesity) changes to human cells, as we documented in our review of Tula skincare (another brand using this ingredient).

We recommend avoiding chemical sunscreens entirely due to these questionable health effects, and sticking to physical sunscreens (our recommendations on that front later).

Chlorphenesin is a preservative shown in a 2020 clinical trial to be toxic to human cells.

Glowscreen does contain some effective anti-aging ingredients.

Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, which is clinically proven to reduce wrinkles. Niacinamide has also been shown to have a skin-brightening effect and to reduce visible signs of aging.

Overall, we consider Supergoop Glowscreen likely to provide sun protection and to have an anti-aging effect.

However, we cannot recommend the product currently due to our concerns over the endocrine-disrupting nature of chemical sunscreen ingredients, and due to the inclusion of an additive ingredient shown to be toxic to human cells in one clinical trial.

One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Supergoop Glowscreen comes from a creator called “Sincerely Miss Ash” and has over 25,000 views. The video focuses more on the functional benefits of the sunscreen (rather than the health effects that we focused on), and includes a product demo:

Why Was Supergoop Sued?

Supergoop was sued in 2021 in a class-action lawsuit alleging false advertising over their products being “reef-safe,” according to Class Actions Reporter.

The complaints in the lawsuit are similar to those we raised in the previous section of this article: that some of the chemical sunscreen ingredients used by Supergoop may not be as healthy and safe as the brand claims.

The lawsuit claims the following: “By advertising ‘reef-sale’ and ‘cruelty-free,’ yet using active chemical ingredients that are known to cause reef and marine damage, [Supergoop!] is deceiving [its] customers who are relying on [its] representations.”

We consider this to be a red flag about the brand’s ethics.

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Review

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen ingredients

Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen has a similar formulation to Glowscreen. Three of its active ingredients are the same, but this product also contains the active ingredient homosalate at an 8% concentration.

A medical review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found homosalate to be a “cytotoxic and genotoxic substance.” This means it may be toxic to human cells and potentially damaging to the genetic information in cells. We recommend avoiding all products containing this ingredient.

Unseen Sunscreen does not contain the two anti-aging ingredients we highlighted in the previous section: sodium hyaluronate and niacinamide. We cannot identify any ingredients in this formulation that we consider to have an anti-aging effect.

Overall, we consider Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen to be likely effective for sun protection but likely ineffective for anti-aging effects. We consider Unseen Sunscreen to be a worse formulation than Glowscreen which contained several anti-aging ingredients backed by clinical studies.

We do not recommend this product overall due to the questionable health effects of the chemical sunscreen ingredients.

A YouTube creator called “Glowish” published an unsponsored Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen review where she used the product for 14 days and shared her results:

Is Supergoop Reef Safe?

Consumers are often curious about whether Supergoop sunscreens are reef-safe given that some chemical sunscreen ingredients are proven to be harmful to reefs and other natural ecosystems.

As we documented in our review of Elta MD Sunscreen, a chemical sunscreen called octinoxate is so harmful to reef ecosystems that it’s banned in Hawaii.

We consider Supergoop sunscreens to be safer for reefs and other wildlife than Elta MD and other sunscreen brands that contain octinoxate, but we consider physical sunscreen brands to be potentially safer to reefs than Supergoop.

As we documented in the ingredient review, several active ingredients in Supergoop sunscreens have been shown, at least in test tube studies, to be toxic to human cells. If a substance is toxic to human cells it may be toxic to the cells of other animals and ecosystems.

Physical sunscreens use metal oxides such as titanium dioxide and iron oxide that are much cleaner, safer and have more favorable toxicity data in our opinion than chemical sunscreens.

Our Clean Sunscreen Pick

YOUARESUNSHINE from ClearStem is our top sunscreen pick.

It's an SPF 50+ physical sunscreen entirely free of questionable additives, and it may even have anti-aging effects.

This sunscreen contains green tea extract, which is clinically shown to moisturize the skin and reduce wrinkles.

Interested consumers can check out YOUARESUNSHINE at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Real Customers Review Supergoop

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

Unseen Sunscreen has been reviewed over 14,000 times on Amazon at the time of updating this article, and has an average review rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “J. Whitehead” who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims that it applies easily and doesn’t leave a white cast on skin:

“I absolutely love how it spreads. A little bit just glides all over your face…No white cast. This one goes on clear. The other one had a white cast that you really had to rub in for a while to make it somewhat less obvious.”

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “A. Hubler” who gives the product a 1/5 star review, and claims what they received may have been illegitimate:

“I’ve ordered this sunscreen numerous times. I bought four packages this time because they were on sale. I guess that should have been a red flag because something is off with them. There is a strong smell and very sticky texture when normally has no odor and a very silky primer like feel. They are also smaller than normal compared to last product I purchased. They are not expired so that’s not it. I will order directly from Supergoop to compare - Possibly a formula/packing change. If it is a formulas change, will not purchase again.”

Where to Buy Supergoop for the Best Price

Supergoop sunscreen is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a one-time purchase of the two sunscreens reviewed in this article at the time of updating this article:

Glowscreen (1.7 ounces)

Brand website: $38 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $38 (free shipping, link)

Sephora: $38 (free shipping, link)

Unseen Sunscreen (1.7 ounces)

Brand website: $38 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $38 (free shipping, link)

Sephora: $38 (free shipping, link)

Sephora is around 15-20% cheaper on Amazon than the brand's website for a one-time purchase, when factoring in shipping fees.

Sephora may be a better option, because the Amazon listings are from third-party sellers.

Pros and Cons of Supergoop

Here are the pros and cons of Supergoop in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Should protect skin from sun
  • Glowscreen contains anti-aging ingredients
  • Mostly positive online customer reviews
  • May be better for reefs than other popular sunscreen brands

Cons:

  • Contains chemical sunscreen ingredients
  • Contains potential endocrine-disruptors
  • Brand sued for false advertising
  • Brand website charges for shipping
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Supergoop sunscreens are likely to provide sun protection, because they contain effective chemical sunscreen ingredients.

We consider Glowscreen also likely to have an anti-aging effect, as it contains two ingredients shown in clinical studies to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. We do not consider Unseen Sunscreen likely to have an anti-aging effect.

We do not currently recommend Supergoop sunscreen, because the chemical sunscreen ingredients contained in the two formulations we analyzed may have questionable health effects in humans and wildlife.

We recommend physical sunscreen, and in our opinion it’s illogical to use chemical sunscreen because we have not come across any clinical evidence that chemical sunscreen has superior sun-blocking effects.

Supergoop has been sued over claims that their products are “reef-safe,” and the plaintiffs allege that some of the chemical sunscreen ingredients they contain are harmful to aquatic life.

Most of the online customer reviews of Supergoop that we came across while researching this article were favorable.

At the time of updating this article, Amazon and Sephora have better prices on one-time purchases of Supergoop than the brand's website.