why choosing reef safe sun protection is so important
If you’ve ever vacationed in a tropical destination, chances are the local coral reefs were a popular spot for sightseeing. Coral reefs offer magnificent displays of nature, as they are home to an incredibly diverse array of marine life. Unfortunately, all around the world these ecosystems are in constant danger of being wiped out or lost due to pollution.
Much of the problem can be found in sun protection products. Most chemical sunscreen formulas get their UV-protection qualities from ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octocrylene, and avobenzone. These ingredients are known to cause harm to marine life, as well as to the humans who slather on chemical sunscreens in search of fun in the sun.
Oxybenzone is the most dangerous and most common culprit. It’s been found in surprisingly high concentrations throughout tourist-oriented reefs. This chemical bleaches the coral white as it extracts nutrients, impeding marine life growth and development, causing deformities. In humans, oxybenzone has been linked with allergies, skin irritation, and endocrine disruption. Oxybenzone is found in more than 3,500 sunscreen products sold in the United States.
No sunscreen is waterproof (use of that claim by sunscreen manufacturers is prohibited by the FDA) and even water-resistant formulas eventually wear off. As chemical sunscreen leeches out into the water around swimmers, it endangers underwater habitats. Chemical sunscreens in aerosol form can also have a negative effect on the ocean as overspray washes from the shore. Even one drop of standard chemical sunscreen is harmful to corals. Imagine what the estimated 14,000+ tons of sunscreen dumped into coral reefs each year does.
What can you do?
Choose reef-safe sunscreen: This is the most impactful step you can take toward protecting coral reefs. Reef-safe sunscreens are made with natural minerals like non nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that are safe for your body and for reef environments.
Steer clear of spray sunscreens: This will help avoid the cloud of chemicals that ultimately lands on the shore and washes back into our waters. Additionally, it will help you avoid irreversible damage to your heart and lungs that can be caused by aerosol sprays.
Use alternate protection: Avoid overabundantly applying any sunscreen. Just 1 ounce (about a shot glass full) should be enough for your entire body. When possible, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved rash guard, or by hanging out in a shady spot, especially between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
We’re all for fun in the sun, but we encourage you to do it safely for the sake of our planet and your health. Ask your pure haven Consultant about our 100% non toxic, reef-safe sun protection collection , including sunscreen, face sunscreen lotion* , sunscreen stick*, and lip balm* with spf protection.
* Available through August 31, 2022, or while supplies last.