Did You Know Sunscreen Damages The Ocean?

fish in coral

Help protect Aussie sea life with reef safe sunscreens that avoid using damaging chemicals – and won’t make you break out.

Coral reefs all over the world are suffering, and a major contributing factor to their decline come from the chemicals found in everyday sunscreens.

Sunscreen washes off in the ocean and the shower, entering the waterways and severely affecting marine life and choral reefs. 

“ ¼ of all marine species live in coral reefs”

According to The Coral Reef Alliance coral reefs are a critical element for healthy and thriving eco systems. 

They contain huge percentages of diverse sea life, protect our coastlines from coastal erosion and wave energy, and provide income and resources to millions of people through tourism and fisheries. 

underwater coral reef
The Great Barrier Reef

The Problem with Sunscreen

Ocean Conservancy say that chemicals in everyday sunscreen like oxybenzone and octinoxate can decrease the damaging effects of UV rays on skin, but badly effect our oceans. 

These chemicals decrease the immune systems of marine life, induce choral bleaching, and impair growth and reproduction of many sea creatures. 

Oxybenzone can deform young coral and damage its DNA. Other chemicals in sunscreen decrease fish fertility, resulting in a drop in reproduction rates. 

14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year”

Through swimming in the ocean, down shower drains and even in the sand where aerosol sunscreen is sprayed. 

A study in 2015 demonstrated the disastrous effect of sunscreen.

Oxybenzone starts causing serious damage to corals at concentrations as low as the equivalent of one drop of water in six-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

coral reef
Most coral reefs are along coastlines

Reef Safe Sunscreen

Reef safe sunscreens are produced without harsh chemicals in them that damage our reefs or sea life. 

By using non nano zinc-oxide as a primary ingredient, these sunscreens block UVA and UVB rays from our skin by forming a physical barrier on skin, rather than being absorbed. 

Reef safe sunscreens like Australian brand SunButter are joining the revolution towards chemical free sunscreens to save our oceans.

SunButter is vegan too and made with sustainable ingredients and recyclable packaging. 

Marine biologist founders Tom Hiney and Sacha Guggenheimer strive to make their products as environmentally friendly as possible, as shown through their mantra.

“Protecting people and oceans.”

Say goodbye to stinging eyes as SunButter sunscreen is more gentle due to its natural ingredients that make it safe for all skin types. 


What We Can Do To Help

  1. Buy reef safe sunscreens – non nano zinc oxide mineral sunscreens are the best.
  2. Wear protective sunwear – hats, long sleeves, and seek shade where you can.
  3. Avoid aerosol sunscreen.
  4. Avoid wearing any other chemical products into the ocean.

Read more about the importance of wearing sunscreen and what other brands are great for sensitive skin

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