Why Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen
4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen enter in the oceans from swimmers, snorkelers, and divers annually. It has also been discovered that some ingredients in chemical sunscreen can bleach and kill coral. These beautiful reefs are also home to millions of other species and we need to be cautious that we are not doing anything to harm the sensitive ecosystems. Inside coral lives an algae called zooxanthellae. This algae provides the coral with food energy and gives the coral the beautiful coloring that we all love to snorkel and scuba dive to see.
Chemicals in some sunscreens can cause coral viruses, which lead to the coral expelling the algae that lives within them, and gives them their color and their energy source. This leads to the coral becoming “bleached” and it may even die.
What’s worse is when the algae is expelled it explodes, sending the virus into the water, where it can contaminate surrounding reefs and communities.
It has been reported that 60% of our coral reefs are at risk because of pollutants, overfishing, physical damage, and disease. Every little bit adds up to cause this harm and we need to take preventative measures to stop it.
One way that we can do this is to be careful of what we are wearing on our skin when we enter the water. Even the smallest amount of sunscreen can cause the virus. Biodegradable sunscreens are a safe and effective way to protect our skin and the coral.
It is easy to tell if your favorite sunscreen brand is coral-safe, just look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients on the label. These ingredients are not harmful to coral, unlike chemical sunscreens with ingredients like parabens, cinnamate and benzophenone. Ingredients like this are not only linked to killing coral, but chemical sunscreens can also be harmful to humans. Mineral and biodegradable sunscreens are a win-win.
Our biodegradable sunscreens are safe for the oceans, reefs, and coral. We use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are mineral ingredients that have not been found to harm coral. They are water-resistant so they will not wash off in the water for 40 minutes, and once the water-resistance wears off, the ingredients that may enter the water will not harm the reefs.