Is your sunscreen reef safe? and why you should care
Written by Holistic Health Coach, Lisa Horgan
If you’re someone who values the environment, clean ingredients, and non-toxic formulations (which I know you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog!) then you really should make sure you're buying reef-friendly sunscreen, and here's why.
First of all, It's always a good idea to do a regular inventory of all the products you buy and assess if there are better, more sustainable options.
Formulations change all the time and brands sell out. Just because you once read that this company was doing great things for the environment, doesn’t mean that they’re still doing it now, or that their ingredients are clean.
I cleaned up my products a long time ago, but I must confess, my sunscreen went under the radar.
Sunscreen is a particularly important one because we apply it liberally in the summer and then swim in the ocean.
The runoff from this, has a catastrophic impact on marine life and in particular, coral reefs. Climate change, over fishing, and this added chemical residue from sunscreen all contribute toward what we call Coral bleaching. Over time this leads to coral death.
Coral reefs support an incredible underwater ecosystem, and their very existence is crucial (do a quick google of what will happen without coral reefs and you’ll see why!)
Even if you’re not planning on swimming on the ocean, when you wash off in the shower, the residue can still make its way into the water and negatively impact marine life.
The chemicals that aren’t so friendly for marine life aren’t good for your health either. A reminder that we are part of nature and not above it. When we take good care of our own bodies, nature is taken care of too.
"Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor, it acts like an estrogen and anti-testosterone chemical."
–Craig Downs, biologist
(Director of the environmental lab Haereticus in the state of Virginia)
So what can we do?
Watch out for Greenwashing
If something says All natural, this doesn’t automatically mean that its reef safe.
This is called greenwashing. When companies use buzz words like eco-friendly it may trick the customer into making assumptions that the entire company or entire product line is ticking all the boxes.
Always check the ingredients label to be sure. Don’t be fooled by these sneaky companies, especially when there are others working tirelessly to do things right.
Some healthy solutions
Luckily there are non-toxic, reef-safe alternatives. You just need to know what you’re looking for. The two main chemicals you don’t want in your sunscreen are Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. However, Just because a product label says “No Oxybenzone” or “Oxybenzone Free,” does not necessarily mean it is Reef Safe.
Always, always read the ingredients list.
If the sunscreen is super cheap, chances are, you're getting a cheap product filled with toxic fillers. As so often in life, you get what you pay for. Find a company you can trust. Read their list of ingredients and learn about how they’re sourced & produced.
As always, this product is USDA Certified Organic and handmade in small batches with ingredients you can understand and trust.
If you liked this blog then keep your eyes peeled and your inbox refreshed for next week as I talk about all the other ways your favorite skincare brand is helping the environment!
Lisa is a contributing writer for Bee-friendly. A certified holistic health coach, blogger & yoga teacher for 10 years. Passionate about health and wellness, natural remedies and plant-based nutrition. You can find her on Instagram @livesimplylisa
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