Every year, between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen washes off into the sea. It accelerates coral bleaching and is also toxic to certain fish species. Two ingredients, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are harmful for fish, yet they are present in at least 70% of the sunscreens on the market.
We're glad Hawaii is setting a good example and raising awareness to the threats. The state has good reason for doing so, they lost nearly half of their reefs to bleaching in the warming trends of 2014 and 2015, so it's important to protect what's left.
We want you, as a diver and good citizen of the earth, to help set an example with responsible consumer choices.
Here's our selection of four favorite sunscreens that are reef-safe, good for your skin, and also benefit local communities!
Our first selection comes from where it all started: Hawaii! mama KULEANA sunscreen is hand made on Maui Island. No ingredients harming coral reefs, no hormone or endocrine disruptors, and a biodegradable packaging.
They also sell rash guards that are perfect for snorkeling!
Where to Buy: mama KULEANA online store
Brian Guadagno, an Ocean Lifeguard, started to work on a reef safe formula years ago in his own kitchen. The only active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide, a natural mineral providing safe and effective protection against UV rays and all the other ingredients are either organic or certified natural, and sustainably sourced.
We like the wide range of products, especially the stick, super handy to apply and perfect to travel with.
Where to Buy: Raw Elements online store
Manda was very smart into looking at what nature does best. And they rediscovered ‘Thanaka’, made from the wood of a small tree in Myanmar. It has been used since 2000 years in Burma to protect the skin, you may have even experienced it yourself if you ever traveled there.
They integrated ‘Thanaka’ into a sustainable sunscreen, along with organic coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter.
Where to Buy: Manda online store
The idea originated from Caroline, a massage therapist and outdoor enthusiast who, after working in emergency care on an ambulance, had the vision to create a product that would harness nature's power to heal. That was in 1997 in California.
Since then, they developped a wide range of reef friendly products, always keeping sustainable development and giving back to the planet at the heart of their business.
Where to Buy: All good online store
With a size that most often averages 12 meters length (40 feet), whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea.