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How using natural sunscreens can help preserve reefs and marine ecosystems?

Everyone knows that protecting the environment is a good idea, and everyone wants to do their part to better the planet. Actions like recycling, being mindful of energy use, and using reusable water bottles are all great ways to reduce your environmental impact. However, a key to environmental protection may be hidden in our skincare routines: sunscreen.


Sunscreen is an important skincare step, as it protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays (UV rays) that cause aging, weaken the skin barrier, and promote the development of some cancers. We discovered that as we swim, some of our sunscreen glides off; free to dissolve into surrounding areas where environmental concerns are being discovered. Yes, even waterproof sunscreens are not 100% effective at preventing products from washing off.


At Sea You Sun, we are passionate about protecting marine ecosystems, including coral reefs. Traditional sunscreens on the market, and their ingredients, have been shown to cause damage to coral reef ecosystems and wildlife. Ingredients known to cause reef damage, especially, are:

Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-8, OD-PABA, 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor, 3-Benzylidene camphor, nano-Titanium dioxide, nano-Zinc oxide, Octinoxate, and Octocrylene.


While it can seem like a small issue, globally it is progressing, with an estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen thought to wash into the oceans each year. Some places, like Hawaii, have even banned most sunscreens due to the harmful effects they have. It is important to protect these ecosystems as they sustain marine life and attract tourism. Without protection, 90% of the world’s coral will be threatened by 2030 according to scientific findings. You may think this only applies when you are at the beach, but even from home sunscreen has the potential to wash down the drain and eventually end up in the ocean. These facts are what inspired us to educate others and offer better options.


Does this mean you need to stop wearing sunscreen? Absolutely not. There are alternative ingredients and sunscreen brands that understand the importance of preserving nature and wildlife. At Sea You Sun, we use our knowledge to select only the best sunscreen brands that are natural, reef safe, kind on skin, and organic.


The suncare products we choose to deliver to our audience must pass our tests in order for us to recommend them. We ensure that the ingredients used in each product are not ones that cause disease and contamination of coral reefs or surrounding ecosystem. They must be sustainable, and they must be effective at preventing UV damage. Our top picks are brands and products that you can feel good about; knowing they are not only better for your skin, but better for the environment.

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