Blessed with mile upon mile of gorgeous coastline, it’s only natural for us coastal dwellers to want to spend as much time soaking up vitamin sea as possible. But, how can we make sure that we are protecting our bodies and our planets at the same time? One of the simplest steps is switching to reef-safe suncream. Here’s why.
Climate change, plastic pollution and destructive industries are having a massive impact on the health of our coral reefs around the world – the rainforests of our seas. On top of this, a more innocuous threat is also having a destructive effect not only on the health of our reefs but the health of our bodies too: toxic suncream. Filled with harmful chemicals that are both absorbed by our skin and washed into the ocean, many ‘traditional’ suncreams are doing more harm than good and we’re ready to make a change.
How Does Sunscreen Damage Our Oceans?
Many off-the-shelf suncreams (often packaged in nondegradable plastic bottles) contain substances that are harmful to coral reefs and marine wildlife. These include one of the major culprits, Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3), which is found in over 3,500 conventional suncreams. Washed into the oceans either directly through swimming or indirectly from showers, these chemicals are causing widespread devastation across vital underwater ecosystems, such as:
- Coral bleaching
- Coral deformities and abnormal growth
- Damage to coral DNA
- Decreased fertility in fish and marine mammals
- Weakened immune systems in marine wildlife
- Impaired photosynthesis in algae
Often referred to as the rainforests of the oceans, the loss of our coral reefs would have enormous consequences worldwide. 25% of marine life would lose their breeding and feeding grounds, coastal fishing and tourism industries would suffer, and coastal habitats, no longer protected by their reefs, would become more vulnerable to erosion and storms. In short, their loss would be an environmental catastrophe – but there are simple steps that we can all take to combat the problem head on and secure a healthier, happy future all round.
Why Use Reef-Safe Suncream?
Not only does using reef-friendly sunscreen help to secure a healthier future for our blue planet, but it’s much safer for you too. This is because the same chemicals in suncream that bleach our coral reefs and damage marine wildlife are also being absorbed by our skin too. By switching from chemical-filled synthetic suncream to natural, reef-safe suncream, you can reap all the benefits to leave you feeling better than ever and prevent toxic chemicals being absorbed into sea and skin. Among many benefits, organic reef-friendly sunscreen can:
- Protect skin from skin cancer, sunspots and wrinkles with safe UV protection
- Reduce skin irritation and allergies from harsh chemicals (such as oxybenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, avobenzone and homosalate)
- Keep skin healthy, hydrated and nourished with natural ingredients
- Protect coral reefs and marine wildlife and defend vital ecosystems
- Invest in the long-term health of body and planet
By buying sustainable suncream, we can care for our skin, protect our oceans and support eco-conscious businesses. This also includes buying brands that use recycled or recyclable packaging and who champion earth-friendly ethics.
If you can’t wait to head to the beach, we’ve also put a list of some of our favourite earth-conscious swimwear brands making gorgeous, sustainably-produced swimwear for ocean playtime in the daytime. Check them out here.