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Greenwashing, Cleanwashing, reef-friendly und Co.

How the EcoSun Pass® helps you make environmental decisions about your sunscreen.

When we had the idea to build a sustainable sunscreen brand, we were confronted with the following question: How can we effectively protect against UV radiation without polluting the environment?

We found a new rating system that scientifically evaluates the environmental impact of sunscreen-filter combinations. When we discovered the EcoSun Pass, we knew immediately: this is the basis for our formulation. So let's take a closer look at the EcoSun Pass.


Although we wish everything in our world was natural, including the ingredients in our skin care products, unfortunately this is not always the case. One look at the list of ingredients in each cream in a typical bathroom and it quickly becomes clear: the lists are long and the ingredients are quite often chemical in nature - regardless of the marketing promises on the front. Chemicals are a normal part of our modern lives - the only important thing is to make sure they are good for us and the environment.

The EcoSun Pass was developed by BASF, a well-known German chemical company, and includes all available UV filters, including those not distributed by BASF. BASF was looking for a scientific, transparent and comparable approach to evaluate the environmental impact of UV filters. Since there was no established method for this until now, the idea for the EcoSun Pass was born.

What is the EcoSun Pass based on?

First step: define the criteria

The EcoSun Pass® considers eight criteria: the biodegradability of filters, their acute aquatic toxicity, chronic aquatic toxicity, accumulation in adipose tissue (logPow), bioaccumulation, terrestrial toxicity, sediment toxicity, and hormone-like effects.

Second step: One profile per filter

Based on the above criteria, each filter has a specific risk profile per impact category. Based on this, a single figure is created for the impact of a filter on the environment: The so-called ecotox profile.

Third step: Defining a mathematical formula

Then the question arises: Which filters are included in the formulation and in which concentrations? There are several filters that do not meet the specified requirements from the outset. One of these filters, which we have already mentioned, is called Octocrylene. But new filters, such as ethyl hexyl salicylate (EHS), must also be excluded. They contribute to chronic aquatic toxicity and are also suspected of causing hormonal disruption. In addition, there are other filters that must not exceed a certain concentration, such as zinc oxide, which, despite the impression that they are "natural," are anything but environmentally friendly.

Fourth step: The final number

The result of all these considerations is a single number that provides information about the environmental friendliness of the respective filter combination. The higher this value, the more environmentally friendly the UV filter composition. Any ratings above 200 can then be called "EcoSun Pass approved.

How is eco elio according to the EcoSun Pass® rated?

As already mentioned, we are talking about the EcoSun Pass because we used it as a guide during the development of our formula and to ensure we meet the corresponding requirements. And based on those results, we can confidently say that we have the most environmentally friendly solution possible.

What are the key takeaways?

Look for the EcoSun Pass. This is a reliable, transparent and trustworthy environmental label. And it goes far beyond the "in compliance with the Hawaiian Reef Act" statement that some manufacturers print on their products. eco elio is not the only brand that is EcoSun Pass approved, but it is one of the few. What about your favourite products? Truly sustainable and reef-safe or a case of greenwashing?

Also take a closer look at the other ingredients. While the EcoSun Pass® only takes into account the filters, which make up between 10% and 20% of the formulation, the rest of the formulation contains many other ingredients that could also be harmful to humans and the environment. In eco elio, apart from the filters, all ingredients are fully biodegradable.

We are tested and recommended by the German Allergy and Asthma Association and are suitable even for sensitive and delicate skin. You can find out more here:

Have fun in the sun!

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