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Reef-Friendly Sunscreen — Why It's Important, Plus Our Recommendations


If you’ve been soaking up every moment of summer, you’ve probably already gone through your fair share of sunscreen bottles this year. Keeping your skin protected from the sun is super important — but so is protecting our oceans and their coral reefs. Luckily, there are plenty of sunscreens on the market that are labeled as reef-safe or reef-friendly, which are formulated to protect your skin as well as the environment.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about reef-safe and reef-friendly sunscreens, plus a few sunscreen recommendations.

What Is Reef-Safe Sunscreen?

When sunscreen is marked reef-safe, that means it is free of active ingredients known to be toxic to coral reefs. The main two chemicals known to cause coral bleaching are oxybenzone and octinoxate; other chemicals that many reef-safe companies also refuse to put into their sunscreens include octocrylene, parabens, triclosan, and nanoparticles.

Some places around the world have even banned sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, including Key West and the nation Palau.