WHEN YOU’RE SHOPPING FOR SUNSCREEN, HERE ARE SOME KEY THINGS TO LOOK FOR:
1. The absence of oxybenzone and octinoxate in listed ingredients. These two chemicals are harmful to corals and can cause sunscreen-induced coral bleaching, so look for them in the ingredient list. Their absence points the product being reef-safe.
2. Mineral based sunscreen with the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Sunscreens made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are mineral-based, so rather than being absorbed like traditional sunscreen, the particles of these ingredients sit on top of the skin and block harmful UV rays. These ingredients are less harmful to corals and are not linked to coral bleaching.
3. Indication that ingredients are “non-nano”. In order for mineral sunblocks to leave corals untouched, they must be “non-nano”, meaning the ingredient particles must be above 100 nanometers in size so that they cannot be ingested by corals.
4. Reef-safe labels. Typically companies will label their products as “reef-safe” but always check the ingredients to be sure.