Lathering up with sunblock, in the face of a sweltering summer sun, is undeniably a smart move. However, with all the not-so-nice chemicals being revealed in our everyday products, sunblock too must be purchased wisely. Not only are certain sunscreen ingredients harmful to our bodies, but some are a contributing factor to the downfall of our oceans reefs.
Each year roughly 8 million lbs of sunscreen washes off swimmers into coral reef environments, causing pollution. Active ingredients commonly found in sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are the main culprits.
Oxybenzone causes coral to bleach at a lower temperatures than usual, meaning coral will easily get sick in temperatures they can usually handle and die. What was once an underwater castle of colour and diverse life, becomes sickly white and uninhabitable.
On a solution-based note, with this information coming to surface, there are a handful of wonderful people who have put this problem atop their priority lists and founded sunscreens that are healthy on our bodies and completely reef-friendly.
Check out our top five reef friendly sunscreens below:
Signature sunscreen lotion SPF 50
This Aussie company “was a collaborative dream that emerged on a joint surfing holiday.” Founded by three families passionate about a life outdoors and the health of their little ones, their sunscreens are designed free of nasties and harmful reef ingredients.
This SPF 50 sunscreen gives you broad coverage, is non-greasy, and offers 4hours water resistance! Suitable on both face and body, this lotion is also packed with yummy skin goodies to hydrate your skin “so you feel like you’re wearing a moisturiser, not a sunscreen.”
Certified Natural Sunscreen
‘Raw elements’ was founded by ocean lifeguard Brian Guadagno. After discovering how harmful regular sunscreen chemicals can be on our bodies and the sea, he sought to make a natural sunblock that also met the protection demands of his role. Now their companies mission is “to create the safest, most effective sunscreen on the planet”.
This sunscreen contains 97% certified organic ingredients and 100% certified natural ingredients. It is incredibly hydrating and gentle enough for the face and children, whilst providing coverage for up to 80m. And of course, totally reef friendly!
Waterproof SPF 30 Reef-safe Sunscreen
Mama Kuleana are a Maui based brand with strong etho’s. “In the Hawaiian language, Kuleana is defined as accepting responsibility with diligence and intent.” Their products are all handmade ‘in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains’ with the safety of our reefs and bodies in mind.
This sunscreen is completely safe on the environment - from ingredients to biodegradable packaging. Alongside zinc power, this little pot contains hydrating organics like shea butter, coconut oil, and almond oil.
Organic Sunpaste SPF 50
This sun paste, with is SPF 50 and thick application, “is formulated for outdoor lovers by surfers, climbers, hikers, and athletes to stay on longer and protect against wind, water, and sweat.”
This non-toxic formula is safe on reefs as well as little kiddies. One main ingredient, called Thanaka, “has been used for over 2000 years as a natural sun protectant”. It comes from the wood of a native tree to Myanmar, is used under sustainable practices, and is hydrating on the skin.
SPF 50 Sunscreen
Think Sport create safe products for the active lifestyle, aiming to have the least impact possible, whilst also connecting with non-profit organisations by providing product or engaging in activates that “help the world become a safe, healthier place.”
This sunscreen contains no toxic chemicals and scored a top rating on EWG (Environmental Working Group). It has broad spectrum coverage and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. It smooths on easily leaving behind no greasy residue!
If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to drop them in the comments below!