Sunscreen pollution is a real problem that threatens the global safety of coral reefs — one of the most diverse yet delicate ecosystems on Earth. In addition to providing a home for a wide variety of species, coral reefs help protect the coastlines from erosion and storm surges. Unfortunately, coral reef conservation has become a critical issue, and the chemicals found in some sunscreen products — mainly oxybenzone, parabens, and nanoparticles — are a big part of the reason why. Read on to learn more about how to choose a reef-safe sunscreen that will protect your skin and the environment.
What is Reef-Safe Sunscreen?
“Reef-safe” isn’t a regulated term, so you need to manually check the active ingredients to make sure a product is actually safe for coral reefs. Some retailers have voluntarily stopped carrying sunscreens with chemicals like oxybenzone, but it’s important to do your own research and become an informed buyer. Choose another product if you see any of the following ingredients listed on the label:
- Oxybenzone or Octinoxate: Avoid products with oxybenzone, octinoxate, benzophenone-3, or BP-3.
- Parabens & Nanoparticles: Avoid products with petrolatum/mineral oil, because it has been proven to be harmful to aquatic life. Also, avoid anything on the HEL List, including nanoparticles like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (there are non-nano versions available on the market that are effective and safe for coral reefs).
What Are the Best Reef-Safe Sunscreen Products?
The good news is there are a lot of eco-friendly sunscreen products on the market, especially now that the dangers of common active ingredients are known. These products aren’t unreasonably expensive and still provide adequate UV protection. If you want a safer, smarter sunblock, try any of the following reef-safe sunscreen products:
- Stream2Sea Sport Sunscreen
- Badger Clear Zinc SPF 40
- Countersun Daily Sheer Defense
- REN Clean Skincare Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30
- All Good Sport Sunscreen
- Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Body Sunscreen
- Kokua Sun Care Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50
- Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
- Elina Organics Sun Day SPF 35
- Hello Bello Mineral Sunscreen Spray
- C’Est Moi Sunshine Screen
- Earth Mama Organics Uber-Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
- Babo Botanicals Zinc Screen
Learn More About Smart Skin Cancer Prevention with GentleCure
Applying sunscreen is integral to reducing the risk of skin cancer, as well as sunburn and premature aging. But, it’s important to be aware of the ingredients you’re putting on your skin and how those ingredients may affect the environment around you. For more information on skin cancer prevention and treatment, contact us by phone or online. Our skin cancer information specialists can address your questions and concerns.