A key staple of any beach trip other than a bikini is the sunscreen applied to protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays. But, many don’t know the sunscreen is almost as harmful to the coral reefs as the sun is harmful to us.
In July 2018, Hawaii banned the sale of sunscreen containing two harmful chemicals that are found in suncare products, oxybenzone, and octinoxate. These ingredients are not only harmful to the environment but potentially are harmful to your skin. The Florida Keys have also taken similar action which will go into effect in early 2021. The chemicals in many suncare products have harmful effects on coral reef ecosystems.
Many companies that make suncare products without oxybenzone and octinoxate have labeled their products as reef-friendly even though they still contain harmful and toxic ingredients to marine life. This is because there is a lack of a definition from the federal government and loose regulations on what is allowed. This makes it difficult to identify the difference between what are harmful ingredients and what is truly safe for the environment and your skin.
When looking for sunscreen/suncare products to ensure that products are reef safe, always check the label to avoid purchasing the above ingredients. Products that come in aerosol form, produce harmful chemicals that coat the sand and eventually wash away into the ocean harming wildlife and fragile ecosystems. Products with the main active ingredients as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are generally safer for the environment.
We’ve attached products we recommend that are great for your skin and the environment.
List of "Reef Friendly" Sunscreens:
Note This List is Not Comprehensive
* REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Mattifying Face Sunscreen (active: uncoated 22% zinc oxide)
* Badger Original Sunscreens (active: uncoated zinc oxide 18.75%)
* Raw Elements Tinted Moisturizer, face sticks, or lotions (active: zinc oxide 23%)
* Amavara Mineral Sunscreens (active: zinc oxide 19% - 22.25 %)
* SunButter SPF50 Water Resistant Reef Safe Sunscreen (active: zinc oxide)
* BeautyCounter Countersun Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 (active: zinc oxide 14.5%) Great for full body coverage!
* Surfdurt (active: zinc oxide, percentages not provided)
* Olita Mineral Sunscreens (active: zinc oxide, percentages not provided)
* Waxhead Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Stick (active: zinc oxide 25%)
* Kōkua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50 (active: zinc oxide 25%)
* TotLogic SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen (active: zinc oxide 20%)
* All Good Mineral Sunscreens (active: zinc oxide 12%)
* Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen (active: zinc oxide 3.7%, titanium dioxide 5.6%)
* Goddess Garden Mineral Sunscreen (active: zinc oxide 6%, titanium dioxide 6.4%)
* TropicSport Mineral Sunscreens (active: zinc oxide 8.6%, titanium dioxide 4.55)
* Tropical Sands SPF 30 Sunscreen (active: zinc oxide 6%, titanium dioxide 6%)
* Christina Moss Naturals Sunscreen (active: zinc oxide 6%, titanium dioxide 6%)
* Stream2Sea lotions (active: titanium dioxide 8.8%)