Tag Archives: coral

How Sunscreen is killing the coral reef

When you think of sunbathing or going on holiday, you always associate wearing sunscreen. Going on holiday hasn’t been a realistic opportunity for many of us recently, I can imagine many of us yearn for a beach holiday and opting for a staycation at home. But the sea is paying a hefty price based on your choices.

Wearing sunscreen while in the sun in an essential part of healthy skincare, after all, no one wants skin cancer. Have you wondered whether your sunscreen choice is harming the environment?

You may have watched documentaries about the rise in sea temperature due to global warming and its impact on coral reefs. Well, it’s also pollution that’s having an effect or coral reefs – from our sunscreen.

Coral reefs, also known as rainforests of the sea, play a vital role in the health of the earth’s oceans.

What is sunscreen doing?

According to National Geographic, about 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year and about 70 – 80 percent of coral reefs in the Caribbean have been lost in the last five decades due to pollution and warming waters. This is shocking!

Some sunscreen lotions contain a chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene and when you go into the sea and sunscreen washes off into the water, it is absorbed by the corals having a devastating effect.

This doesn’t just occur when swimming, it can happen when you’re having a shower to wash off any sunscreen.

Change is coming…

But help is on the way, on 1st January 2020, the small Pacific nation, Palau, became the first country to ban sunscreen that is harmful to the corals and sea life. Hawaii has recently introduced a ban on sunscreens that are harmful to the environment. This came into effect on 1st January 2021.

We want to protect our skin but we have to protect the environment too and there is a solution.

Check out the following tips

  • Look for the two common mineral sun-filters – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They are great at reflecting the sun’s rays as it coats the skin like a mirror.
  • The ones to go for will state ‘non nano’ as they won’t contain particles that contaminate the sea and affect marine life.
  • Avoid sunscreen that contain – oxybenzone, octinoxate or octocrylene. These are the ones that have been banned by Palau and Hawaii. For good reason!

When you are in the sun, please ensure you wear the suitable sun protection and choose wisely to help the oceans too.