Sunscreen Recipes

What Sunscreen Ingredient is Bad for Reefs?

2 Mins read

Sunscreen is an essential product for protecting our skin from the harmful effects of the sun, including sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer.

However, some ingredients in sunscreen have been found to have negative impacts on the environment, particularly on coral reefs.

In this blog post, we will explore the ingredient in sunscreen that is harmful to reefs and what alternatives are available.

What is the ingredient in sunscreen that is harmful to reefs?

The ingredient in sunscreen that has been found to be harmful to reefs is oxybenzone.

Oxybenzone is a chemical sunscreen agent that absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation and protects the skin from UV rays.

It is commonly found in many types of sunscreen products, including lotions, creams, and sprays.

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Why is oxybenzone harmful to reefs?

Oxybenzone has been found to have negative impacts on coral reefs. When applied to the skin and washed off in the water, oxybenzone can leach into the ocean and enter the coral reef ecosystem.

In coral reefs, oxybenzone has been found to affect the growth, reproduction, and DNA of coral, leading to coral bleaching and death.

Oxybenzone has also been found to have estrogenic activity, which can alter the reproductive systems of fish and other marine life.

What alternatives are available?

There are several alternatives to oxybenzone-based sunscreens that are less harmful to coral reefs. These include:

1. Mineral sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients.

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These minerals sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays, rather than absorbing them like chemical sunscreens do.

Mineral sunscreens are generally considered to be safer for the environment, as they do not leach into the water and are not harmful to marine life.

2. Non-nano mineral sunscreens

Non-nano mineral sunscreens use particles of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that are larger than 100 nanometers.

These larger particles do not penetrate the skin and are not easily absorbed into the body.

Non-nano mineral sunscreens are also less harmful to coral reefs, as the larger particles are less likely to leach into the water and affect marine life.

3. Biodegradable sunscreens

Biodegradable sunscreens are made with natural, plant-based ingredients that are less harmful to the environment.

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These sunscreens are formulated to break down more easily in the environment and are less likely to have negative impacts on coral reefs.

Conclusion

While sunscreen is important for protecting our skin from the harmful effects of the sun, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients used in these products and their potential impacts on the environment.

Oxybenzone is an ingredient found in many sunscreens that has been found to be harmful to coral reefs, but there are alternatives available that are less harmful to the environment.

By choosing sunscreens made with mineral or biodegradable ingredients, we can help protect both our skin and the environment.