Sunscreen is of course the number 1 thing on our holiday list of things to take but while it’s busy protecting our skin did you know that it’s also busy killing the environment?
Most chemical sunscreens contain oxybenzone which is believed to be the culprit. Oxybenzone is in fact the most common, harmful chemical linked to bleaching fragile coral reef populations and leaving them deformed worldwide. Did you know that as little as one drop in the equivalent of six-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools can seriously harm coral reefs and marine ecosystems.
A recent study revealed that about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in reefs worldwide, which can result in bleaching, damaged DNA and abnormal skeleton growth in coral. The concern is so serious that some places ― including the state of Hawaii are now banning the sale of sunscreens with those chemicals.
Here is a list of chemicals (known as the awful 8) we need to ensure are NOT in our sunscreens:
PABA (Aminobenzoic Acid)
Be careful, some sun-screen manufacturers have started to label their products as ‘Reef/Eco-friendly’ but there is next to no regulation on such claims so always check the ingredients for yourself.
Let’s also be wary of using aerosol cans of sunscreen, because the spray mostly falls on to sand, where it gets washed into the sea or into sea turtle nests. So armed with all of this info, let’s go make well-informed sun-screen choices when protecting our skin this year. Thankfully there’s a load of reef-friendly protective sunscreen readily available that are kid-friendly, give optimum UVA and UVB protection and still smell nice! Below is our top choice at Ben’s Beach to help keep our oceans clean while also protecting our skin. Happy holidays!
Stream2Sea Sun Protect Lip Balm SPF 30
Manda Organic Sun Paste SPF 50
Badger Healthy Body Care Lavender Sunscreen Cream SPF 30
Eir NYC All Natural Surf Mud Pro Stick SPF 50
Sun Bum Travel Tripper Travel Kit with SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion