The Ultimate Guide to Reef Safe Sunscreen
Up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen are estimated to wash in coral reef systems around the world
every year! Harmful chemicals used in sunscreen are a contributing factor in reef destruction.
Hawaii was the first US State to ban non reef friendly sunscreen in 2018 and hopefully the
Cayman Islands will follow suit shortly. Please use Reef Safe Sunnscreen.
Effect of sunscreen on the marine environment
The chemicals found in popular sunscreens have a detrimental effect on coral reefs. Coral
exposed to common sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, cause coral to
show sign of distress (NOAA). This leaves coral colonies vulnerable to infection and lead to coralbleaching. A study conducted in 2015 proved that oxybenzone rapidly induces coral bleaching.
One drop in 4.3million gallons of water (that’s 6.5 olympic swimming pools) is enough to be lethalto a reef (Dr. Craig Downs). Not only are these chemicals toxic to coral reefs, but traces of
oxybenzone and octinoxate have been found in fish too. It can decrease fish fertility and
Check before you purchase
Don’t trust a product that says “reef safe” or “reef friendly” because these labels are not regulated, so look at the ingredients and judge for yourself. Some companies don’t use the ingredients oxybenzone or octinoxate and claim to be “reef-friendly”, however these are not the only twoharmful ingredients used in sun lotion.
A list of ingredients that are toxic to marine life:
• 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
• Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
• Micro-plastic spheres or beads.
• Nanoparticles including that of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
You’ve heard the phrase “take only pictures, leave only bubbles”, as a scuba diver don’t you want to protect the underwater world? Do you really want to be putting these chemicals on your skin anyway? Use natural products which are non-nano zinc or titanium based. A few of my favourite brands are Raw, Manda and Stream2sea. If you can’t find these brands before your holiday to East End Grand Cayman, we sell it in our shop. Use reef friendly sunscreen that is actually reef friendly.
Save our oceans!