When planing your next adventure you might see some beaches that say reef safe sunscreen only. What does reef safe sunscreen mean? Is our sunscreen bad for the reefs?
Sunscreen Ban: What you need to know
Hawaii is the first state in the US to ban the sale of certain type of sunscreen that hurt the coral reefs. The new law is effective January 2021 but I didn’t even realize that our sunscreen is hurting the reefs. There is no need to wait until then to start doing our part.
Other popular tourists destinations have also created a ban including: Key West, FL; The Caribbean Island of Bonaire, Palau, and may other place are jumping on board to keep our reefs safe.
You will probably want to bring your own reef safe sunscreen with you because it will be overpriced if you with to purchase at your resort or destination.
Why is our Sunscreen Bad for The Coral Reefs?
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are the ingredients found in most sunscreens that are getting into our oceans and causing bleaching of the coral reefs. When the corals get bleached they it becomes very easy for them to get diseased and die.
You may think that your sunscreen is safe but some major brands such Tropicana, Bannana Boat and Coppertone can contain theses ingredients. The National Park Service States:
“We may not realize that the products covering our skin wash off when we enter the water, and it adds up! Research tells us that 4,000 to 6,000 TONS of sunscreen enters reef areas annually. This does not spread out rapidly or evenly over the entire ocean, but concentrates on popular tourist sites. It is estimated that 90% of snorkeling/diving tourists are concentrated on 10% of the world’s reefs. “
I had no idea that so much sunscreen was harming the reefs! So what can we do to help save the reefs? What sunscreens are safe for our oceans?
What to look for when buying Reef Safe Sunscreen
When you are shopping for sunscreen you will want to look for the following things:
#1 Make sure that they don’t have oxybenzone and octinoxate in the ingredients.
#2 Look for the term “non-nano” which means that particles in the sunscreen are above 100 nanometers in size so that they can’t enter into the corals.
#3 Mineral based sunscreen with the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Mineral based sunscreen will still help you from getting burnt but these ingredients don’t harm the reefs.
#4 Reef-safe labels. Now that people are aware of the harmful effects more sunscreen manufactures are making specific reef safe sunscreen.
Here is a list of some popular some reef-safe options for your next adventure.
- Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen
- All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion
- Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion Sunscreen – SPF 30
- Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 30
- All Good Sport Sunscreen Butter Stick Water Resistant – SPF 50+
- Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30, 5oz Bottle
- Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen – Non-Nano Zinc Oxide SPF 30
- Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion – Mineral Sunscreen – Non-Nano
- Stream2Sea – Mineral Sunblock with SPF 30 UVA/UVB
- COOLA Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50
I know that I am going to be getting some for my next tropical adventure. Lets work together to do our part and keep our oceans safe.
“Dear ocean, Thank you for making us feel tiny, humble, inspired, and salty… all at once.” — Unknown
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