4 Sunscreens to Protect Your Skin and Marine Life

Summer is approaching fast, and everyone will soon be slathering on sunscreen at the beach– if not already. Although we all need sunscreen, it is time we talk about what our sunscreen is doing to the environment.

Studies show that an ingredient called oxybenzone, which is often found in sunscreens, is harming coral reefs. When we go to cool off in the ocean, our sunscreen spreads into the water, leaving marine life defenseless against the chemicals left behind.

The study also includes that many coral reefs have been severely damaged by coral bleaching due to the pollution from sunscreen. Coral bleaching occurs when the coral in a reef turns white. At this point, the coral is not yet dead: it can still come back to its vibrant self in time, but the harmful ingredients in sunscreen are making it harder for that to happen. The coral, already weakened by global warming, is more susceptible to the harmful effects of the chemicals in sunscreen. Once the coral reefs are no longer thriving, it decreases the food supply of other species, creating a domino effect.

Luckily, to make it easier for us to protect marine life, many companies have released sunscreens that are safe for coral reefs. Below is a list of safe sunscreens according to Snorkels And Fins.

1. Sun Bum ($15.95; SPF 15, 30 and 70 available)


2. ThinkSport ($19.89; SPF 50+)

3. Raw Elements ($17.49 or $33.98 for two)

4. Kokua Sun Care ($29.99)


Both Hawaii and Key West, Florida, have banned sunscreens containing chemicals that harm marine life. This is a move in the right direction, but we as environmentally conscientious consumers must take an extra step to ensure that no matter what beach we are at, we are using sunscreens that protect both us and the environment.

For more information regarding environmentally safe sunscreen use, you can visit Earth911, Hawaii and Vogue.