An SPF is arguably the most important step in your skincare routine. Wearing an SPF every day – yes, even in winter, is your best protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. But like with every skincare product – sunscreens are not all made equal.
One of the most important things to look out for when purchasing a sunscreen is whether it is are reef-safe. But what does reef-safe mean? A reef-safe sunscreen is a sunscreen that does not contain chemicals that are going to be harmful to reefs and to marine life. Common ingredients found in sunscreens are Uncoated Zinc Oxide (Zno) this ingredient has been found to cause bleaching by disrupting the Single-Celled Algae called Zooxanthellae – this Algae has a symbiotic relationship with the coral – meaning they help to keep each other alive. A reef-safe alternative to this ingredient is Modified Titanium Dioxide, which when tested at the same concentration as Zno, seemed to have little to no effect on corals.
Other common sunscreen ingredients such as Octinoxate and Octocrylene have been found to bioaccumulate in the bodies of fish, dolphins and coral and Oxybenzone has been shown to cause bleaching across multiple coral species that are particularly in the presence of light. I know that sounds like a lot to take in, but in essence – sticking to a Titanium-based sunscreen is the safest option for protecting the sea. To make things just that little bit easier for you, we have rounded up five reef-safe sunscreen brands we recommend, so you can slip, slop, slap safely.
Australian company, Bondi Sands has a huge range of reef-safe sunscreens to suit all different needs. From lip balms to sensitive skin options and high water-resistant products – there is a sunscreen to suit everyone.
New Zealand made, natural, sustainable and ethical brand – Coola has plenty of reef-safe and skin-safe sunscreen options for the whole family.
Global brand Nivea has a range of reef-safe sunscreen products that includes a Sport range, 0% sticky range and even after-sun range.
Naked Sundays is an Australian brand, whose sunscreen based skincare products are infused with antioxidants and collagen.
Skinnies is another New Zealand made, natural, sustainable and reef-safe sunscreen brand, who creates less-is-more products – so you don’t need to keep reapplying so often.