Is your sunscreen reef safe?

Is your sunscreen reef safe?

by Jason Yau May 18, 2017

Spring has begun and Summer is right around the corner. With weather typically in the mid 70’s F and the sunshine is intense, sunscreen comes to mind. There are many options out there to choose from and it can get overwhelming.

When traveling to the islands and other tropical locations, there’s a good chance you will jump into the big blue. Even if you have no plans to snorkel around the coral reefs, you still make an impact on marine ecosystems. At a time when these fragile systems are experiencing one of the worst coral bleaching events on record, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a sunscreen is, "Is it reef safe?"

The most important thing to consider when choosing a sunscreen is, "Is it reef safe?"

A scientific study released in 2015 by Downs et.al. found oxybenzone to be harmful to coral larva inhibiting growth. When shopping for sunscreen, don’t just read the label, read the ingredient list. The following is a cheat sheet of the ingredients that have been shown to cause coral bleaching even at low levels:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Butylparaben
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-Methylbenzylidine Camphor

In general, any natural ( organic, biodegradable ) sunscreen is better for the environment than a conventional one. Look for a brand that uses physical sunblocks such as zinc oxide or titanium instead of chemical ones. If you want to decide between the two, zinc oxide is proven to block both UVA and UVB rays whereas titanium oxide primarily blocks UVB rays.

In general, any natural ( organic, biodegradable ) sunscreen is better for the environment than a conventional one.

So what can you do? Apply sunscreen at least 10-15 minutes before going in the water so that the lotion absorbs into your skin. Use a natural sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium oxide.

Auctiv Sunscreen refuses to use chemicals that are harmful for your skin and our environment. 




Jason Yau
Jason Yau

Author

Co-Founder of Auctiv Sunscreen




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