We’ve all heard of the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but did you know that some sunscreens can damage the marine environment and coral reefs? That’s why reef-safe sunscreen has become increasingly popular in recent years. Let’s take a closer look at what reef-safe sunscreen is, why it matters and a selection of our favourite reef-safe sunscreens.
What is reef-safe sunscreen?
According to Save the Reef, an organisation that protects the world’s coral reefs, reef-safe sunscreen is a type of sunscreen that does not contain any chemicals or ingredients that are toxic to coral reefs or other marine life. This means that reef-safe sunscreen does not contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone or any other chemical or ingredient that can be damaging to coral reefs. Instead, reef-safe sunscreens use natural ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide meaning that the sunscreen contains only mineral UV-blocking ingredients like titanium dioxide and oxide. The key is to look for a sunscreen that uses physical UVA and UVB filters instead of chemical filters, which have been linked to coral reef destruction. These ingredients provide broad spectrum UV protection while being safe for both human skin and marine life.
Have a look at the ingredients label on your sunscreen. Steer clear of any of the following ingredients and substances:
- Any form of microplastic, such as “exfoliating beads”
- 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
- Any nanoparticles or “nano-sized” zinc or titanium
Why does it matter?
Coral reefs are essential ecosystems in our oceans, providing habitats for a wide variety of marine plants and animals. Unfortunately, these fragile ecosystems are facing threats from climate change, pollution, dredging and overfishing. The chemicals found in conventional sunscreens are yet another threat to coral reefs because they can disrupt their growth and reproduction cycles. By choosing reef-safe sunscreen, we can help protect these vital ecosystems from further damage caused by toxic chemicals found in regular sunscreen products.
Where can I get reef-safe sunscreen?
Purchasing reef-safe sunscreen can be tricky, as most readily-available sunscreen contains ingredients that are harmful to ocean life. But thankfully dur to the increase of awareness of this issue, more and more affordable, reef-safe sunscreen products are popping up. Most reef-safe sunscreens can be purchased online, but keep an eye out at the shops for any new sunscreen products that don’t include any of the harmful chemicals mentioned above.
- Any suncare products from Sunbutter Skincare – Aussie company! RRP $29.95 for single products-$76.70 for bundles
- All Good Sport Sunscreen Lotion – Broad Spectrum, SPF 30 – RRP $43.39
- OLITA Organic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 – RRP $29.74
- Sukin Skincare SPF30 Sheer Untinted Sunscreen – Aussie company! RRP $25
- Suntegrity Mineral Body Sunscreen – Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – RRP $35.68
- Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ – RRP $23.03
Reef-safe sunscreen provides an excellent option for those looking to enjoy a day at the beach without worrying about harming coral reefs or other marine life with their sunscreen choices. By using natural, physically protective ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium, reef-safe sunscreens offer broad spectrum protection while also being safe for both humans and the environment alike! So next time you go swimming this summer, remember to choose a reef-safe sunscreen and preserve our aquatic life.
By Sarah Panther