Hormone disruptors, toxins, carcinogens, preservatives in many popular sunscreens can negatively impact people, corals, aquatic and marine life. In 2018, Hawai’i passed a ban on sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate – two of the more dangerous ingredients – which goes into effect in 2021. Still stores continue to sell them. Many brands that removed these two chemicals from some of their formulations now label them as “reef safe” as if simply not containing oxybenzone and octinoxate automatically equate to a product being safe. There are no regulations on the term “reef safe”, “coral safe” or “safe” in general. In fact there are many questionable active and inactive ingredients commonly used. Some we try to avoid include: oxybenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate, octocrylene, avobenzone, dimethicone, parabens, BHT, nanoparticles, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrances, retinyl palmitate, cocamide dea, phenoxyethanol. Always check the bottle.
We look for sunscreens that are safer for people and the environment. When choosing a sunscreen we like broad spectrum protection from minerals such as non-nano zinc oxide (or titanium dioxide) in a natural base. See our PDF for a few to try. Feel free to print and share with your local shop buyer or at your next sunscreen trade-in.