When you think of the top sunscreen brands, you may think of Tropicana, Banana Boat, and Coppertone - large companies that have been around for a long time. However, these sunscreen brands and many others actually contain chemicals that are harmful for oceans and people. More and more consumers are catching on to the benefits of physical sunscreens - those made of zinc and titanium dioxide, like our Olita Mineral Sunscreens, that protect your skin by reflecting sunlight. The aforementioned brands mainly produce chemical sunscreens, which contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, butylparaben, and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC). Oxybenzone is harmful to coral reefs, can cause gender shifts in fish, inhibit embryonic development of sea urchins and mammals, plus causes procarcinogenic activity. Some studies even suggest it may be an endocrine blocker in humans. This creates a need for an alternative type of sunscreen. Obviously covering up is the best way to protect yourself, but mineral sunscreen like Olita’s is the next best alternative and works really well to protect skin from harmful UVA UVB rays.
It is estimated that 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up on coral reefs every year. This puts about one third of the ocean’s coral at risk. It is predicted that by 2050 (just 30 years from now!) 75% of coral will be critically at risk. There are many reasons to protect coral, the most biodiverse and endangered ecosystem in the world. Coral provides a habitat to many fish and plants. It is a food source for humans and drives a lot of tropical tourism. It is also a natural barrier against hurricanes, typhoons, and tsunamis. In addition to sunscreen damaging coral reefs, there are many other environmental threats facing our oceans. These include rising sea temp, ocean acidification, plastic pollution, and overfishing.
Luckily, there is hope for the coral reefs. Many great organizations are working hard to preserve and restore coral reefs. One technique that is being used to restore reefs is putting in artificial reefs. This provides a habitat for coral inhabitants, buffers the coast, and provides a place for coral to grow back slowly. Hawaii has even banned non-reef-safe sunscreens, and other states like Florida are sure to follow soon. We are proud to sell our REEF SAFE Olita Mineral sunscreens, which are of course safe on your skin and safe on the environment. Our other products, like the AfterSun body oil (Fragrance Free) are EWG (Environmental Working Group) Verified, meaning they contain only the safest ingredients for your skin. Head over to the shop part of our website to get some today!