I’m sure the title of this article is confusing for many people, but the fact is that many sunscreens contain chemicals that can break down and kill coral reefs.
How does sunscreen kill coral reefs? How has sunscreen damaged coral reefs? What type of sunscreen is safe for coral reefs? These questions will be answered in the section below!
1. Why sunscreen harms corals
Sunscreen typically contains chemical compounds such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate, which are used to absorb UV rays and prevent them from penetrating the skin. However, these compounds can also absorb UV rays when exposed to water, especially seawater, and the absorbed UV rays can harm coral reefs. Many studies have shown that these compounds can be toxic, reduce photosynthesis efficiency, cleanse zooxanthellae (a type of algae that live with coral reefs and help provide energy), cause coral reef degradation and transformation, and cause adverse effects on the marine ecosystem.
In addition to UV absorbers, sunscreens also contain other preservatives to keep the product stable and extend the duration of protection. However, these preservatives may contain chemical compounds that can harm marine environments, especially coral reefs. When these compounds escape into seawater through bathing, diving, or by reacting with water, they can contaminate the marine ecosystem, affecting the reproduction, development, and survival of species living in this environment.
Therefore, the use of sunscreens that contain ingredients that can harm coral reefs and the marine environment in general has become an important environmental issue. As part of the effort to protect the marine environment, scientists and environmental organizations have recommended the use of sunscreen products that do not contain compounds that harm coral reefs, known as “reef-safe sunscreens”.
With a large number of tourists, concentrated at the same time in the same location at beaches, coral reefs… the concentration of harmful substances increases, causing ecosystem destruction.
This has also recently been noticed and evaluated by cosmetics companies and environmental defenders. With the trend of green production, such as the use of new generation paper packaging and bottles made from paper by L’Oreal. Cosmetics companies also use environmentally friendly materials, derived from organic plant sources.
Rihanna has released a line of cosmetics called Hydra Vizor Moisturizer. I took a look at it and was particularly interested in the sunscreen tube because it had the label: “MADE WITH CARE FOR CORAL REEFS; DOES NOT CONTAIN OXYBENZONE OR OCTINOXATE.
The product is formulated with the intention of protecting coral reefs; It does not contain OXYBENZONE or OCTINOXATE.
2.Some sunscreens protect corals
Here are a few reef-safe sunscreens that I have found and listed. These reef-safe sunscreens are gentle on the skin and do not harm coral reefs. They are also available in a variety of formats, including gels, creams, and sprays.
a. Coola Mineral Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Coola Mineral Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30″ is a natural sunscreen product from the brand Coola. Coola is known for producing organic sunscreen products, using natural ingredients and not containing chemical compounds that can harm the marine environment and the health of users.
The tube has a very distinctive coconut oil smell. As the name suggests, this sunscreen contains mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO), which help to absorb and reflect harmful UV rays from sunlight. These ingredients typically do not absorb UV rays into the skin like chemical UV absorbers, so they do not harm coral reefs and the marine environment.
b. Fenty Beauty Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
This tube of cream with a unique design and a thin and light texture is a hybrid of moisturizer and sunscreen. The product is part of the Hydra Vizor Moisturizer collection by singer Rihanna.
This sunscreen has broad-spectrum protection, meaning it protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
The “invisible moisturizer” feature means that this cream has added moisturizing properties, keeping the skin hydrated without leaving a greasy feeling and without creating white streaks that reveal the traces of sunscreen.
In addition to providing sun protection and moisturizing the skin, this product can contain additional ingredients such as vitamins and antioxidants, which help to keep the skin healthy and reduce the harmful effects of the environment.
c. Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36
Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36 is a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 36 and PA+++. It is made with natural ingredients such as green tea, sunflower and aloe vera, which help to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, while also moisturizing and soothing the skin. The sunscreen has a thin and lightweight texture that is easy to spread on the skin and does not clog pores. The product is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Overall, Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36 is a good sunscreen product that effectively protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, while also moisturizing and soothing the skin. The product is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
d. Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
Say goodbye to the feeling of stickiness and whiteness with the all-new SPF formula, which not only protects against UV rays, but also against blue light that causes aging and pigmentation, and adds a soothing feature to the skin from environmental aggressors.
Dermalogica is an American brand that specializes in high-end, spa-grade products. Dermalogica was founded in the laboratory of the International Dermal Research Institute (IDI). As a result, the price of the product is also not cheap, almost 2 million VND for a 50ml tube of cream. But of course, you get what you pay for.
e. Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++
Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++ is an oil-free, non-comedogenic and non-irritating physical sunscreen. Sunscreens made with naturally derived ingredients, including squalane oil and zinc oxide, are both sun protection and moisturizing. The sunscreen has a light texture that is easy to apply and leaves no white cast on the skin. The product’s packaging is recyclable.