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What is reef-safe sunscreen?
You may have heard the term reef-safe sunscreen, and you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.
In January 2021, a law went into effect making Hawai’i the first state to ban sunscreens that include two ingredients that are particularly harmful to the coral reefs that exist throughout the islands. Hawai’i is not the first place to implement such a ban, nor is it likely to be the last. So learning about reef-safe sunscreen now will make it easier to meet local guidelines as you return to travel.
Better for the Planet
If you haven’t read your bottle of sunscreen, it’s time. If the words “oxybenzone” and/or “octinoxate” appear on it, then it’s time to consider a switch. Because while Hawai’i may be the first state to make this law, it is not likely to be the last. Environmentalists have recommended moving away from these two chemical sunscreen in favor of “physical” sunscreens – those containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These chemicals have been shown to have detrimental effects on coral reefs, such as those that
Better for You
There is also a growing body of research that suggests removing these chemicals from regular use is better for humans as well. The chemicals have been shown to be absorbed into your bloodstream, potentially causing disruptions to hormones across your body systems. In other words, when you comply with local laws, you are also supporting your own well-being.
What is the best reef-safe sunscreen?
Finding a reef-safe sunscreen that works for you can take some trial and error. I have tried several brands, but keep coming back to Stream2Sea. This small, woman-owned business has created an entire line of skin and hair products that are better for you and the reefs. (Not to mention a pandemic-inspired, all-natural hand sanitizer as well!).
If you have darker skin, like I do, you will appreciate the tinted option which helps the titanium dioxide appear a little less noticeable.
Extra bonus: the sunscreen tubes are made of recyclable sugar-cane resin. (And if you buy in the bulk, the larger bottles are fashioned from recycled milk jugs).
So before you hit the beach, the pool, or your backyard, consider choosing a reef-safe sunscreen like Stream2Sea.