With summer right around the corner, some of us might be planning to spend more time at the beach. Surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling - so many fun activities! We all know that applying and reapplying sunscreen is crucial for maximum summer fun - but it's also important to make sure that our sunscreen is keeping our aquatic friends safe too.
Many sunscreens have a long list of chemicals in them to keep us protected from the suns UV rays - two that have been found to be an issue are oxybenzone and octinoxate, but there are many more. These chemicals then wash off of our bodies as we keep cool in the water and subsequently harm aquatic life, predominantly coral reefs. There are actually two types of sunscreen options out there: chemical and physical. Physical sunscreens (also known as mineral sunscreens) are best because they use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to create a physical barrier to block out UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens will hep to make sure you are not only taking care of the health of your skin, but also aquatic life. If you're not keen on using mineral sunscreens (they do tend to leave you with a bit of visible residue on your skin), then just be sure to make a more conscious decision on what types of chemical sunscreens you use. When choosing a chemical sunscreen, lotions are better than sprays. Next, it's time to turn that bottle around and look at the active ingredient list. Look up the "HEL list" for the chemicals you want to avoid in a sunscreen.
Hope you all have fun this summer while also protecting our waterways!
To learn more look up: reef safe sunscreen.