Using the Right Sunscreen for the Ocean

Choosing the right sunscreen for the ocean is crucial to protect both your skin and the marine environment. Certain sunscreen ingredients can be harmful to coral reefs and other marine life. Here are some tips on choosing ocean-friendly sunscreens:

  1. Look for “Reef Safe” or “Ocean Safe” Labels:
    • Choose sunscreens labeled as “reef safe” or “ocean safe.” These products are formulated without oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals known to be harmful to coral reefs.
  2. Avoid Oxybenzone and Octinoxate:
    • Oxybenzone and octinoxate are common chemical UV filters found in many sunscreens, but they can be harmful to coral reefs. Choose sunscreens without these ingredients.
  3. Choose Mineral Sunscreens:
    • Look for mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients. These ingredients are less harmful to marine life.
  4. Broad Spectrum Protection:
    • Ensure that the sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
  5. Water-Resistant Formulas:
    • Opt for water-resistant sunscreens to ensure they stay effective while you’re in the water. However, it’s important to reapply after swimming or sweating.
  6. Fragrance-Free:
    • Fragrances in sunscreens can contain chemicals that may be harmful to marine life. Choose fragrance-free or lightly scented options.
  7. Biodegradable Formulas:
    • Some sunscreens are labeled as “biodegradable,” indicating that they break down more easily in the environment.
  8. Check the Ingredient List:
    • Take a look at the ingredient list to ensure there are no harmful chemicals. In addition to oxybenzone and octinoxate, some chemical filters like avobenzone may also have negative effects on marine life.
  9. Minimize Packaging:
    • Choose sunscreens with minimal and eco-friendly packaging to reduce environmental impact.
  10. Check for Nanoparticles:
    • If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of nanoparticles, you may choose non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide formulations.

Remember to apply sunscreen generously and reapply it as directed on the product packaging, especially after swimming or sweating. Additionally, wearing sun-protective clothing and seeking shade can further reduce your reliance on sunscreen and minimize its impact on the environment. We hope these tips help for choosing your sunscreen for the ocean!