Thanks to harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, many sunscreens pose a severe threat to the world’s coral reefs. But, not all sunscreens are alike. In fact, there are a variety of brands and formulas available that can protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays without devastating marine ecosystems.
Ahead, we take a closer look at some of the best sunscreens for the environment, plus other sun-protection options to consider.
Sunscreen safe for coral reefs
If you’re looking for a sunscreen that can protect your skin and the coral reefs, look for a formula free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals can rob coral reef of its vital nutrients, drain its colors — resulting in a bleached effect — and pose a threat to fish and other wildlife found in coral reefs. Not to mention: They’ll soon be banned in Hawaii and, possibly, other popular tourist destinations. We share the best sunscreens for the environment, below.
Mad Hippie Facial SPF
When it comes to sunscreens without oxybenzone and octinoxate, shopping the eco-friendly section is your best bet. Case in point: Mad Hippie Facial SPF. The eco-friendly face sunscreen is free of harmful chemicals — including both oxybenzone and octinoxate — and made from natural skin-protecting ingredients such as carrot seed oil, avocado oil, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen
What better way to celebrate the Hawaii sunscreen ban with a sunscreen inspired by The Aloha State (and free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. The Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen contains powerful active ingredients — such as, homosalate and titanium dioxide — that protect the skin without compromising coral reefs. Also, the sunscreen is cruelty-free, biodegradable, and plant-based.
Supergoop! 100% Mineral Invincible Setting Powder
If you’re searching for a sunscreen without oxybenzone and octinoxate, a mineral formula — such as Supergoop! 100% Mineral Invincible Setting Powder — is a great place to start. Perfect for SPF touch-ups, the mattifying sunscreen powder is both sweat-resistant and translucent. Also, it can reduce shine and boasts a smoothing effect once applied.
Other types of sun protection to try
Eco-friendly sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect your skin from the sun. In fact, there are a variety of sun-shielding items that can keep your skin safe without posing a threat to the world’s coral reefs. Discover other types of sun protection, below.
Dermatologists also recommend UV clothing as a form of sun protection. Although the sun-protecting material doesn’t cover the body 100 percent, wearing UV clothing can lower the amount of sunscreen needed to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Dermatologists will agree: Wearing sunscreen is vital for protecting the skin from the damaging effects of the sun. That said, sunscreen isn’t the only way to provide sun protection. In addition to applying SPF to your complexion, wearing a sun hat can increase sun protection.
When it comes to sun protection, what you wear isn’t the only thing that matters — your surroundings do, too. If you can’t find shade under a tree or awning, use a UV protected umbrella to shield your skin from the dangerous effects of the sun. Umbrellas treated with UV protection can provide a necessary shield between your skin and the sun’s damaging UV rays. Not to mention: The shade helps keep you cool on hot summer days.
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