Sunscreen & Coral Reefs

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Reef safe sunscreen is a type of sunscreen that is designed to be less harmful to coral reefs and other marine life. These sunscreens typically use mineral-based ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, instead of chemical ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation, while mineral sunscreens work by reflecting and scattering UV radiation. Chemical sunscreens can be harmful to coral reefs because they can leach into the water and cause coral bleaching, a process in which coral loses its color and is more susceptible to disease. In addition, some research suggests that chemical sunscreens may also harm other marine life, such as fish and sea turtles.

On the other hand, mineral sunscreens are considered to be less harmful to coral reefs because they do not leach into the water and do not cause coral bleaching. In addition, mineral sunscreens are also considered to be less harmful to other marine life.

However, it's important to note that not all mineral sunscreens are created equal. Some mineral sunscreens use nanoparticles, which are particles that are so small they can penetrate the skin. These nanoparticles can potentially be harmful to coral reefs and other marine life, so it's important to look for non-nano mineral sunscreens.

Another consideration is that just because a sunscreen is labeled as "reef safe" or "coral reef safe" doesn't necessarily mean it's safe for the environment. Sunscreen manufacturers are not required to meet any specific criteria to use these terms, so it's important to read the ingredients list and look for mineral-based sunscreens that are free of harmful ingredients like oxybenzone.

The FDA proposes that 11 ingredients commonly found in sunscreen need additional data from safety and efficacy testing. Chemicals to avoid in sunscreen include:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone
  • Homosalate
  • Octinoxate
  • Octocrylene
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Ensulizole
  • Meradimate
  • Padimate O
  • Sulisobenzone

Steer clear of these 11 ingredients in order to avoid potential health risks, such as endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, and more. It’s best to shop for chemical-free sunscreen altogether and purchase organic sunscreen made with mineral active ingredients instead.

If you are in Roatan check out the Aegis All Natural products. Their SOL-Screen is a great Reef Safe sunscreen that you can purchase along with a range of different all natural products they sell.



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