A LITTLE GUIDE: Reef-Safe Sunscreens

SPF 50. UV protection. Water-resistant. These are all words you probably know to look for when you're shopping for sunscreen for your next holiday. But there’s another necessary detail to add to your checklist: reef-safe.

Why do we need to look for reef-safe sunscreen?

According to a report from Marine Life, a marine conservation NGO, 82,000 kinds of chemicals from personal care products that have made their way into the world’s oceans - the main culprit? Sun screen with 14,000 tons thought to wash into the oceans each year.

What makes sunscreen so deadly to coral reefs?

Chemicals to be exact. Oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common sunscreen ingredients are believed to contribute to coral bleaching. When you swim with sunscreen on, chemicals like oxybenzone can seep into the water, where they’re absorbed by corals. When coral bleaches, it is not dead, but under significant stress and subject to increased mortality levels. The reason why isn't completely clear, but increased water temperatures and disruption in the local ecosystem — both worsened by climate change — are important co-factors and very likely to be accelerating the process. In fact these chemicals are so harmful, that in May 2018 Hawaii banned the sale of sunscreens made with oxybenzone and octinoxate entirely.

What ingredients SHOULD I look for?

We get it, you need to wear SPF to protect your skin from UV rays, so stopping wearing sunscreen entirely is not an option. So your best bet is to look for reef-safe sunscreens with physical rather than chemical ingredients and to avoid aerosols entirely as they release the sunscreen into the sand and air, which can easily end up in the ocean.

When you’re buying sunscreen, lookout for contain mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that reflect the sun off your skin, without threatening the environment. It’s important to find words like "non-nano" or "reef friendly" on the label, which means the particles aren't small enough to be absorbed by, and harm marine life. The whole idea behind non-nano particles is that instead of dissolving in the ocean and potentially threatening marine life, they sink and become part of the ocean sediment.

However, not all mineral formulas are created equal, which is why we’ve rounded up the best reef safe brands to add to your beach bag this summer.

Green People Organic Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30

Made without any parabens, this water resistant formula contains rosemary, olive, green tea and avocado extracts perfect for sensitive skin.

EQ Evoa Sun Stick SPF50

Loved and tested by surfers and super easy to use, this sun stick offers maximum protection and is perfect to apply on busy kids (speed is key).

Green People Organic Facial Sun Cream SPF30

Don’t forget your face! This reef safe formula is non irritating and can be worn under makeup, so ideal if you have eczema or psoriasis.

Coola Makeup Setting Spray, SPF30

Want to wear makeup on the beach? Keep makeup from shifting and melting with this weightless formula that’s water resistant too.

EQ Evoa Sunscreen SPF50+

Maximum heat needs maximum protection, so we recommend a high SPF if you’re off to the tropics. This kid friendly formula is perfect for sunburn prone skin and is water resistant for extra time in the ocean.

Original Sprout Face + Body SPF27 Sun Screen

This award-winning UVA & UVB protective sunscreen is non-greasy and allergen free, meaning it is reef-safe and friendly to you too.

Coola Mineral Face Matte, SPF30

Tinted moisturiser meets sunscreen this SPF is sheer and helps reduce shine, offering that extra coverage when you need it.

EQ Evoa Lip Stick SPF30

Off hiking or spending the day in the sun? Don’t forget your to keep your lips hydrated with these reef-safe friendly formula.

Organii High Protection Sun Milk SPF50

Intensely hydrating with powerful SPF protection. A fluid consistency means there is no whiteness or residue left on the skin after application.

Shop our full range of sunscreens today and get your beach bag ready for a reef-safe summer.

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