Did you know that over 14,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers into the ocean every year?
Though it’s of vital importance to wear sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer, some chemicals found in common sunscreen can harm the coral reefs that make our oceans so rich in sea life. These ingredients include oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene. As well, to be truly safe for the reefs, the sunscreen must be “non-nano” meaning that the particles are big enough (above 100 nanometers) that they cannot be absorbed into the reef. However, most chemical sunscreens do not follow these guidelines, leading to coral bleaching, and even death for the reefs.
To make sure you’re buying a reef-safe sunscreen, make sure you check for a “reef-safe” label. If you’re having difficulty locating the label, try to choose a mineral-based cream or lotion rather than chemical-based one. Also, avoid using a sunscreen mist or spray, which usually contain smaller particles that can be ingested by the reefs.
We appreciate you taking the time to learn about reef-safe sunscreens so that we can continue to protect our beloved Caribbean!