Parts of Florida, like the sunny paradise of Key West, have banned the sale of chemical sunscreens that harm coral reefs. It’s a step toward protecting the world’s third largest barrier reef – effective in January 2021. So, now is the perfect time to switch out your SPF safeguard for one that protects both your skin and the sea. This follows suit of other tropical destinations like Hawaii and Palau, which put restrictions on selling over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.
How does this impact oceans?
Coral reefs are delicate ecosystems with thousands of marine species. Sunscreens are washed off into ocean waters and can harm aquatic animals, according to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. The two ingredients found in banned sunscreens are linked to bleaching coral reefs and contributing to coral toxicity, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Beachgoers, fisherman and children alike use chemical sunscreens because it absorbs the sun’s rays. These products are typically formulated with oxybenzone, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A physical sunscreen deflects the sun’s rays, using titanium oxide or zinc oxide as an active ingredient.
What are some sunscreen alternatives?
“Reef-friendly” and “reef-safe” are not defined by the FDA, and no testing protocol has been agreed upon for these sunscreens. Still, companies like Sun Bum are taking precautions by creating new sun care products, labeling them as “reef- friendly” to show people it’s free of oxybenzone and octinoxate.
There are hundreds of sunscreens, but only one world. So, find your new, clean alternative this year! Fill up your beach bag with these protective face and body sunscreens.
SUN BUM ORIGINAL SPF 50 SUNSCREEN LOTION, $16
This brand prides itself on its original moisturizing body sunscreen – made for fun in the sun. It replaces most sunscreen’s standard oxybenzone and octinoxate formulas with vitamin E, which helps with premature skin aging. Sun Bum offers a variety of SPFs as well as reef-friendly mineral sunscreens, tanning lotions and lip balm!
SUPERGOOP! UNSEEN SUNSCREEN SPF 40, $34
As its name alludes, there’s no need to worry about an odd white caste on your skin. This cruelty-free face sunscreen is a perfect addition to your skincare routine, with its soft, velvety finish. The broad-spectrum SPF 40 sunscreen primer provides protection from blue light thanks to its highlighted ingredient, red algae.
CERAVE HYDRATING SUNSCREEN BODY LOTION SPF 30, $18
Known for its consideration of all skin types, CeraVe created a daily lotion sunscreen that offers 100% mineral sun protection. Its gentle formula reflects harmful UV rays, all the while hydrating skin to minimize irritation. It’s mild on sensitive skin and free of fragrance, parabens and irritating chemicals. It comes in both face and body sunscreens!
DRUNK ELEPHANT UMBRA SHEER PHYSICAL DAILY DEFENSE BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN SPF 30, $34
This sheer, natural protectant can be used daily with its UVA/ UVB protection. Its infused raspberry seeds and marula oils lock in essential moisture, which makes it a perfect match for sensitive skin types. Plus, it’s 100% free of silicones and fragrances typically known to irritate skin. It’s a non-greasy, invisible finish that’s easy to apply during those hot, Florida summers.