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Why You Should Try Reef-Safe Sunscreen This Summer

Woman applying reef-safe sunscreen

Yes, sunscreen is important. But the type of sunscreen you choose is also important. That’s why you should try reef-safe sunscreen.

Though it might be tempting to grab the first sunscreen that’s on sale in the beauty aisle, doing that can have repercussions on your health and the environment in general.

And this is especially true if you like going swimming in the ocean when it gets hot out.


Because whatever you put on your body is not only absorbed by your skin but can also get released into the environment – in this case, into bodies of water that all kinds of plants and animals call home. 

So, what’s a great way to avoid harming your body or the planet? Easy. Opt for reef-safe sunscreen that’s gentle on both.

But here’s a word of caution, though: There’s a lot of sleazy marketing out there. In other words? Just because something says it’s reef-safe doesn’t necessarily mean it actually is.

So, let’s take a look at what to avoid when you’re shopping for sunscreen to make sure you’re getting the good stuff.

Ingredients to Avoid When Shopping For a Reef-Safe Sunscreen

How can you tell if a particular sunscreen is worth it or not? Before buying, make sure to look at the ingredient list on the back, not just the claims made on the front.

Though some ingredients might be fine for your health, they could still damage ecosystems.

For example, one issue that’s come to light is the harmful effects of coral bleaching. This is due to nanoparticles in the chemicals that disrupt the growth cycles and reproduction of the coral. Other negative effects include growth abnormalities and DNA damage.

Yeah, not great.

And let’s be real – if these ingredients are killing sea life, why would we want to put them on our skin?

So, here are chemicals to watch out for that harm coral reefs (and often your body, too!):

  • Octinoxate 
  • Oxybenzone 
  • Homosalate
  • Parabens
  • Petrolatum (also known as mineral oil)
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • PABA
  • Triclosan
  • Micro-plastics like exfoliating beads
  • Titanium Dioxide (thought to be harmful to sea life)

Consider sunscreens that use physical UVB and UVA filters rather than chemical ones. This helps minimize coral reef deterioration and helps prevent toxic chemicals from getting absorbed into your body!

So, what are some good sunscreen options that fit the bill? You’re about to find out.

Top Reef-Safe Sunscreens

Fortunately, there are many reef-safe sunscreen brands on the market today that are also great for your skin. And some places, like Hawaii, are going so far as to ban sunscreens that aren’t safe. So, this makes it easier to choose the best options out there!

The following brands don’t use toxic chemicals to make their sunscreens, so their products are suitable for your skin and are also environmentally friendly. 

Supergoop! Mineral Sheer Screen

This natural sunscreen option from Supergoop! has an SPF of 30. It doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and won’t leave a white cast when you apply it (like so many sunscreens do). Instead, it gently hydrates your skin and can also be used as a make-up primer.

Countersun Daily Sheer Defense

This sunscreen by BeautyCounter has an SPF of 25, and it’s lightweight enough to be used on babies and people who have sensitive skin. It even contains organic ingredients such as chicory root extract to help your skin stay hydrated.

Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen

Another 30 SPF option, Raw Elements users rave about its natural ingredients and ability to last through sweaty beach days and other outdoor activities. Plus, this company gets bonus points for offering its sunscreen in plastic-free packaging!

Bottom line

So, there you have it! Now you know why you should try reef-safe sunscreen this summer. It might not seem like a big deal, but being an informed consumer and choosing reef-safe sunscreen can go a long way in preserving aquatic life – plus, it’s better for your skin, too. 

And when it’s time to wash off your sunscreen, don’t forget to have some of our all-natural Castile soap on hand!

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