Beauty: Safe Sunscreen

Maybe I live under a rock - but this is a topic I have never thought much about. It might be because I live in the city and don't go on hot vacations much, but reef safe sunscreen is such an important and interesting topic. Even though I am not near a coral reef, I still think about natural in general, such as the lakes and rivers at the cottage. These are all things that we could be harming with the chemicals that are in our sunscreen. While, at the same time, sunscreen it incredibly important to us! We need to protect our skin from the harmful rays. This is when I came across the topic of reef safe sunscreens, and what isn't safe about normal sunscreens.

I'm not a scientist or testing any of these product, so this is just information that I have been reading online and wanted to share with you. I will share all of the links as well, so you can continue your reading. Plus I will share the sunscreen I am using right now that is reef safe!
The following information is from "Best Reef Safe Sunscreen, Ocean & Eco Friendly Brands" from, click the link to read more. 
No sunscreen is 100% safe for marine life, oceans, and reefs in particular. However, some sunscreen brands (specifically sunscreen without oxybenzone and octinoxate) are significantly more friendly compared to sunscreen with dangerous ingredients. Here are the main ingredients to look for and chemicals to avoid in sunscreen while choosing a safe natural one for oceans:
  • Top ingredient to look for in a reef safe sunscreen is almost always non nano zinc oxide. 
  • Top dangerous sunscreen ingredient to avoid is oxybenzone and octinoxate. 
  • Make sure to carefully read the label to confirm your product is oxybenzone free. Avoid butylparaben, octinoxate, triclosan, PABA, octocrylene, and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor in sunscreen ingredients. 
  • Remember a non oxybenzone sunscreen is a must.
  •  Water resistant sunscreens are better as less ingredients will wash of your body and face into the ocean - so if you are looking for sunscreen for swimming, snorkeling or diving, check the water resistance duration on label.
  •  Parabens - another big NO - paraben free sunscreen is good for the ocean and good for sunscreen safety for your face and body.
  •  Check if the sunscreen brand "claims" their products are “reef safe / friendly" or "coral safe / friendly". If you are going to be in Hawaii (Oahu, Kona or any other favorite snorkeling beaches) make sure to comply with Hawaiian laws for reef safe sunscreen use.
Did you know that Hawaii is the first state in the United States to ban specific sunscreens that are leading to harm of the reefs? The law will take effect in January 2021.
The sunscreens that are being banned are the ones that contain the above mentioned ingredients "oxybenzone" and "octinoxate"

The following is from the artcile "Your Reef Safe Sunscreen Guide – 15 Sunscreens That Are Reef Safe" from
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two ingredients believed to contribute to coral bleaching. When coral bleaches, it is not dead, but under significant stress and subject to increased mortality levels. According to the National Park Service, 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs every year. These now banned chemicals are believed to be one of the contributing factors to the coral reef destruction. Most popular sunscreen brands are known to contain these dangerous chemicals. These brands include Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat, to name a few. However, we are starting to see a trend of these big brands creating new, less toxic sunscreen lines such as Banana Boat’s Simply Protect which is made without oxybenzone & parabens. 
Image from "Why use Reef-Safe Sunscreen?"

These are some of the tips that they listed on their website to look at when selecting sunscreens:

  • Avoid sunscreens containing petrolatum, commonly known as mineral oil, which takes years to biodegrade, and are known to be harmful or fatal to aquatic life and waterfowl. 
  • Avoid sunscreens with high content of Titanium Dioxide. This mineral does not biodegrade and is found to react in warm seawater to form hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to all sea life. 
  • Oxybenzone and octinoxate, the two chemicals recently banned in Hawaii and are believed to cause coral bleaching. 

 There are so so many different articles, blog posts, research findings about this topic, and if you don't live near a coral reef, you may not know about this. It is so incredibly sad what is happening, and I really hope that you took a few minutes to read through this. Even if you don't live near a coral reef, it could still be making an impact on the nature around you such as lakes and rivers!

This is the sunscreen that I found that is reef safe, and it is by a brand that I trust and that Sephora sells. I am not sure if I am alone on this, but if Sephora sells a particular brand, it makes me feel way better about trying a product! The sunscreen line is only available in Europe right now because it is relatively new but I have linked the website I was able to order it from online (with not duty). I have been loving it! Though, there are many other brand you can try that the above sources listed on their sites!

1 comment:

  1. So true, if you don't live near the ocean, it's sometimes difficult to know or even think about things such as using 'reef-safe' sunscreen! But yes, it is such a problem in our oceans. My pet hate is seeing people slather on the sunscreen without letting it absorb into their skin, then jumping straight into the water where it just slides off! It's much better to allow at least 40 minutes for the cream to absorb into your skin, and provide that UV protection!