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FROM THE BLOG: Women's Health // What Is Reef-Safe Sunscreen? 🏝️
The following article was written by Hannah Joseph for Australian Women's Health
What is Reef-Safe Sunscreen?
You're seeing it everywhere – here's what you need to know
If you've scrolled through Instagram or Facebook lately, chances are you've stumbled upon a mention of reef-safe sunscreen. What exactly are reef-safe sunscreens? And more importantly, should you be using one? We break it down for you.
Sunscreen and the ocean
Here's something that might surprise you: seawater contains thousands of chemicals from personal care products, and one of the most damaging of these pollutants is sunscreen. In fact, one 2015 study estimated that up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen infiltrate the planet's coral reefs every year and cause irreversible damage. Both oxybenzone and octinoxate have been linked to increased coral bleaching and marine degradation, and they're also two of the most common ingredients found in chemical sunscreen.
Here's where we pause for a sunscreen refresher. There are two types of sunscreen: chemical sunscreens absorb UVA and UVB rays and convert them into heat, while physical sunscreens (also known as mineral sunscreens) form a barrier on the skin and reflect these rays.
Back to the reefs. Things are so dire that, in March 2018, Hawaii passed legislation that prohibits the sale of any sunscreens containing either oxybenzone or octinoxate (the law kicks in next year, when you will no longer find these kinds of sunscreens on the shelf in Hawaii).
You wouldn't think of hitting the sea without sunscreen, so what can you do?
The active ingredients in physical sunscreens are zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, both of which sit on the surface of the skin and create the barrier between skin and the sun. Both zinc and titanium dioxide are seen to be less damaging than chemical formulas on coral reefs, but of the two, titanium dioxide doesn't block UVA rays as effectively as zinc.
Understandably, many of us are scarred by the memories of past summers spent with thick, opaque, neon stuff smeared on our noses, but you'll be happy to hear that times have indeed changed, and innovation means the latest zinc formulas are clear and easily worked into skin, so there are no tell-tale marks.
Ready to try a reef-safe sunscreen?
The new endota Natural Clear Zinc SPF50+ is a natural, reef-safe sunscreen that is perfect for sensitive skin, thanks to the exclusion of potentially irritating chemical UV filters, sulphates, silicones, parabens or synthetics, and the calming benefits of zinc itself. With an ultra-hydrating formula that always stays clear on skin, Natural Clear Zinc offers broad-spectrum protection against ultraviolet rays, and helps prevent premature photoageing caused by sun exposure (like sun spots, wrinkles, collagen damage and loss of elasticity) to promote healthier, younger looking skin, plus it's water-resistant for four hours.
Now you can happily spend a day at the beach, knowing you're protecting your skin and the ocean.