Is Your Sunscreen Harming the Coral Reefs?

See Ya Sunscreen, Hello Swim Suits!

Swimsuit over SunscreenMay is melanoma and skin cancer awareness month. And if you haven’t heard, the sunscreen that doctors have been advising us to wear is harming the coral reefs. With bold instructions to “reapply after swimming for maximum sun protection,” it’s a wonder it took this long to realize where all those chemicals were going.

Oxybenzone, found in many sunscreens, lip balms, and makeup, is the devil in the details. A study by the US Centers for Disease Control nearly 10 years ago found 97% of Americans were contaminated. Oxybenzone isn’t just released directly from skin, it also penetrates skin, ultimately revealing itself in our urine. The lotion with SPF that you put on every day? If it contains oxybenzone, it will eventually make its way to the ocean, wherever you live.

The campaign to chuck the SPF sprays and lotions is sadly invigorated by scientific proof of the damage done. To understand the critical effect on the environment, checkout what Hawaii has been dealing with in this eye-opening 10-minute video. The good news? You can make a real difference right now!

1) Check the ingredients of the skin products you use and buy. You may see lots of oxy-somethings listed, but the offender is “oxybenzone.”

2) Opt for less lotion and more suit. I have seen more families on the beach choosing to outfit themselves in board shorts, rash guards, and wide brimmed hats. The fall of oxybenzone gives way to an increase in the number of styles of swimwear available. Retailers like Lands End, Coolibar, HydroChic, are now showcasing fashionable protection in the form of swim pants and long sleeve tops. These active-inspired sea-worthy separates will help keep you, and the coral reefs, healthy.

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