What You Need To Know About Reef-Safe Sunscreens

What You Need To Know About Reef-Safe Sunscreens

Here’s the best way to protect your skin and the ocean.


Dermatologists or skin experts always tell us to wear sunscreen as they play an important role in protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. That’s why they are a must-have, especially when it comes to diving. Of course, who would want a sunburn after a fulfilling diving experience? Not us!

But did you know that sunscreens negatively affect corals and other marine life? Studies have shown that there are ingredients in sunscreen that may be the factors in the declining health of coral reefs. 

As a responsible diver, it is essential to keep your skin protected and also your duty to protect the environment around you. 

In this article, we’ve gathered the best tips on choosing the perfect reef-safe sunscreen for you. 

How To Choose A Reef-Friendly Sunscreen? 

The sad truth is some companies are trying to hide or play loose around the unclear term “reef-safe.” They claim that their products are reef-friendly, even if it is not. That’s why it is important to check the ingredients of a certain sunscreen to ensure that it doesn’t contain any reef-harming chemicals. 

  • Be a Responsible Consumer, Check The Label.

    • Studies suggest that oxybenzone and octinoxate have the most detrimental effect on sea life. Ensure that it doesn’t include the Os — oxybenzone, also known as benzophenone-3 and BP-3, and octinoxate. Here are the other ingredients to avoid, according to HEL list:

    • Octocrylene 
    • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor 
    • Triclosan 
    • Any nanoparticles or “nano-sized” zinc or titanium (if it doesn’t explicitly say “micro-sized” or “non-nano” and it can rub in, it’s probably nano-sized) 
    • Any form of microplastic, such as “exfoliating beads”

  • Avoid Parabens

    • These preservatives are found in most skincare products. Ensure to avoid the products containing parabens as they take years to biodegrade and are known to be harmful to aquatic life. 

  • Choose The Water-Resistant Sunscreen. 

    • A sunscreen that stays on longer in water is less likely to wash off in the ocean. It is a great way to protect your skin and the environment. 

  • Use Rub-On Sunscreens. 

    • Aerosol, or spray, sunscreens quickly spread the product in the air. And once they go into the sand, it is possible that they can get washed away into the sea.
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