If you haven’t heard of reef-safe sunscreen, it’s time you did. You’ve probably heard of mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.
You’ve seen lotions, sprays and mists on the shelves of local stores. With so many sunscreens to choose from, it’s hard to know what to choose.
You may want to be environmentally conscious while providing the best protection for your skin. With reef safe sunscreen, you can do your part to save the world’s coral reefs and protect your skin with safe ingredients.
Learn what reef safe sunscreen is and why it’s so important!
What is reef safe sunscreen?
While there are no regulations for what “reef-safe” sunscreen means, the basic idea is that these sunscreens are better for the well-being of coral reefs. Harmful chemicals in other types of sunscreens can damage reefs.
In fact, Hawaii passed a law in 2018 banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone and/or octinoxate.
The bill states, “The legislature finds that the use of chemical-based sunscreens is detrimental to the health of coral reef ecosystems in Hawaii.
The National Ocean Service notes that chemicals in lotion and aerosol sunscreens can impair plant growth, cripple and deform animals, and contribute to coral bleaching.
Sunscreens enter the ocean when people swim in the water. Wastewater from swimming pools and showers also enters the ocean through stormwater and sewage.
In recent years, therefore, sunbathers have increasingly switched to reef-safe sunscreens.
Is reef safe sunscreen a scam?
Reef-safe is not regulated at all compared to FDA-regulated attributes such as broad spectrum, water resistance and SPF.
Nothing definitively explains what these types of sunscreens can or cannot do. Therefore, much of the hype about reef-safe sunscreens is due to marketing.
Reef-safe sunscreens, however, really do exist. With coral reefs declining worldwide, it is vital to their existence that we do our part to protect them. You should also avoid certain ingredients and watch the amounts.
The Haereticus Environmental Laboratory (HEL) has published a list that includes these harmful chemicals that pose a threat to ecosystem health. This list includes parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate, nylon powder, any form of microplastic beads or spheres, and more.