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Visiting or living in Hawaii means enjoying the beautiful beaches and coral reefs that make up this unique island paradise. To ensure these natural wonders are preserved for future generations, it is important to choose a reef-safe sunscreen when spending time outdoors. Reef-safe sunscreens are formulated without certain chemicals that can harm marine life and pollute our oceans. In this article, we will look at what makes a sunscreen “reef safe” and explore some of the popular reef-safe sunscreens available in Hawaii. We will also discuss why it is important to choose reef-safe sunscreen when visiting or living in Hawaii.

Reef-safe Sunscreen VS. Reef-friendly Sunscreen

Reef-safe and reef-friendly sunscreens are both formulated to protect marine life from the harmful effects of certain chemicals. However, there is an important distinction between the two labels. Reef-safe sunscreens do not contain any of the chemical ingredients that are known to be harmful to coral reefs and marine life, such as oxybenzone or octinoxate. Reef-friendly sunscreens may contain synthetic compounds like oxybenzone or octinoxate but in lower concentrations or in combination with other ingredients that counter their potential negative impact on the environment. 

When choosing sunscreen for your Hawaiian vacation, it is important to consider both types carefully. We recommend beachgoers like you use reef-safe as it provides a more natural form of protection. Reef-friendly sunscreens have a higher level of protection against the sun’s UV rays and may last longer on the skin than reef-safe sunscreens. However, they can still cause damage to coral reefs if they end up in our oceans. By choosing reef-safe sunscreen when visiting Hawaii’s beaches, you can ensure that you get adequate protection from the sun’s rays while keeping our oceans clean and healthy. 

What Makes a Sunscreen Reef-safe?

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Reef-safe sunscreens are formulated without certain chemicals that have been found to damage coral reefs and their ecosystems. These chemicals, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are common in traditional sunscreen but can cause coral bleaching, deformities in fish, and other negative impacts on marine life. In contrast, reef-safe sunscreens are made with mineral sun blockers instead of these harmful chemicals. These ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which work by reflecting UV rays away from the skin while still allowing UVA/UVB protection. Additionally, reef-safe sunscreens often don’t contain nanoparticles which may penetrate the cells of coral reefs when released into the water.

Beyond its environmental benefits, reef-safe sunscreen has additional advantages for your skin’s health. Since it is free of common allergens and irritating fragrances found in many sunscreens, it is ideal for those with sensitive skin or allergies to sunscreen ingredients. Additionally, because these sunscreens are free of chemical compounds like oxybenzone they can be used on both children and adults safely without worrying about possible negative side effects.

Types of Reef-safe Sunscreen

When it comes to reef-safe sunscreens, Hawaii has a wide variety of options available. Always look for reef-safe sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher to ensure your skin is receiving adequate protection from the harsh Hawaiian sunlight.

Physical Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens are among the best as they contain active mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that form an invisible barrier on the skin that reflects UV rays. These physical sunscreens are effective for both UVA and UVB protection and are reef-safe as they do not contain any chemical compounds that can harm marine life.

Natural Sunscreens

Other types of reef-safe sunscreen include those made with natural ingredients such as plant oils, beeswax, and aloe vera. These products tend to be more moisturizing than traditional chemical sunscreens, making them ideal for drier skin types. Natural sunscreens usually provide strong protection against UVA rays but may be less effective at blocking UVB rays so make sure you check the SPF rating before purchasing one!

Reef-safe sunscreen also comes in other forms such as lotions, sprays, gels, creams, and sticks. Whatever type you choose, make sure it is free from chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate which can still be damaging to our environment even if they don’t contain nanoparticles.

Tips for Choosing The Best Reef-safe Sunscreen

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Enjoy Hawaii’s beaches and coral reefs without having to worry about harming either one. Invest in a quality reef-safe sunscreen and pay attention to these tips when picking an option:

  1. Check the label. Look for sunscreens that are labeled reef-safe, which indicates that they do not contain nanoparticles, oxybenzone, or octinoxate. It is also a good idea to look for sunscreens that are mineral-based and rely on ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to protect from the sun’s UV rays. 
  2. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF rating (at least 30) to ensure you get adequate protection against the sun’s rays without causing damage to coral reefs.
  3. Consider its packaging. Most plastic containers are made using polyethylene, which can be damaging to wildlife if it ends up in our oceans. Therefore, look for options that come in biodegradable or compostable containers.
  4. Ensure that any product you purchase is cruelty-free or has not been tested on animals.

Hawaii-made Reef-Safe Sunscreen

These reef-safe sunscreens have become increasingly popular over the years due to their ability to provide effective protection against the sun’s rays while being gentle on our oceans and marine life. By choosing one of these options when planning your next beach day in Hawaii, you can rest assured knowing your skin will be safe from sun damage without compromising on our planet’s welfare.

Raw Love Sunscreen’s SPF 35 is a full broad spectrum sun protection. It uses non nano zinc as the active ingredient and certified organic plant-based materials to offer luxury protection for your skin. The natural mineral sunscreen formula is water resistant and FDA compliant, providing beneficial antioxidants while also moisturizing your skin. 

The passion for product excellence and environmental responsibility is evident in every aspect, from ingredient sourcing to shipping. It stands out from the rest by offering unparalleled sun protection with a fully naturally derived vegan formula and carbon negative bio-resin packaging. The 100% carbon neutral production guarantees your peace of mind. The brand is committed to the well-being of your skin and our planet.

This sun care line is gentle and safe for even the most sensitive skin as we use only natural ingredients from mother nature. It’s 100% natural. It is eco-friendly, so all our packaging is consumer-conscious and sustainably sourced. The product is tested for purity and effectiveness, and guarantees the SPF and water resistance as per FDA standards.

Mama Kuleana’s sunscreen boasts a superior SPF 30 formula that shields you from harmful UVA/UVB rays, and stays put even when wet or sweat-drenched. The sunscreen packaging is fully biodegradable, microplastic-free, and doesn’t pollute the ocean. It is a local, family-owned company that prioritizes environmentally-safe reef and skin products.

Is There a Law in Hawaii for Reef-safe Sunscreen?

In recent years, the Hawaiian government has taken steps to protect its precious coral reefs from pollution and other environmental damage. In 2018, Hawaii was the first state in the US to pass a law banning certain chemical sunscreens that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. This law prohibits the sale, offer for sale, distribution, and purchase of sunscreen products that contain more than 0.5% of these compounds within Hawaii’s marine environment boundaries. The new law also requires reef-safe sunscreen options to be clearly labeled as such and encourages beachgoers to use eco-friendly alternatives instead.

Hawaii Sunscreen Ban List

Certain brands have been banned from Hawaii’s reefs due to the potential environmental harm they could cause. Common brands that are prohibited include:

  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense
  • Banana Boat Baby Sunblock Lotion SPF 50+
  • Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
  • Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Sunscreen Mist with SPF 30. 

Currently, these brands don’t provide sunscreens that are reef-safe or reef-friendly, but as the year progresses, they will need to reformulate to be competitive. So, continue to examine their labels.

How to Apply Reef-safe Sunscreen Correctly

Hands applying sunscreen
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When applying sunscreen, it is important to use enough product to ensure that your skin is fully protected from the sun’s rays. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Use at least one ounce for every part of your body that you plan to expose – about a shot glass full. 
  2. Make sure to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before exposure and reapply every 2-4 hours or after swimming or sweating as the active ingredients can break down over time. 
  3. When reapplying, be sure to check the expiration date of your sunscreen and replace it if necessary.
  4. It is also important to pay special attention to areas that are more likely to be exposed such as the face, neck, ears, hands, and feet since these areas generally need more coverage than others.
  5. If you are using a reef-safe sunscreen spray, make sure to hold the bottle 6-8 inches away from your body and apply it in a well-ventilated area like an open window or doorway so you don’t inhale any chemicals in the process.
  6. We recommend that adults wear sunglasses and hats with wide brims for extra protection against harmful UV rays.

Where to Buy Reef-safe Sunscreen in Hawaii

It is easy to find reef-safe sunscreen in Hawaii, as many stores and online retailers now sell these products. Popular options for purchasing reef-safe sunscreens include major pharmacy chains, outdoor stores like REI, and even local farmer’s markets. Many of the popular reef-safe sunscreen brands sold in Hawaii are biodegradable and free from harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. 

When shopping for a reef-safe sunscreen, look for certifications from organizations like The Environmental Working Group or the Haereticus Environmental Lab; these logos will help you identify products that are truly safe for the environment. Additionally, be sure to check the SPF rating of each product to ensure you’re getting adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays while also being eco-friendly!

Use The Best Reef-safe Sunscreen on Your Next Visit To Hawaii!

It is extremely important to choose a reef-safe sunscreen when visiting Hawaii due to the damaging effects of conventional sunscreens on the local environment. Non-reef-safe sunscreens may contain harmful chemicals that can also be absorbed through human skin, putting beachgoers at risk of potential health issues. By choosing a reef-safe sunscreen instead, you can enjoy all the benefits of sun protection without doing any damage to the beautiful Hawaiian reefs and beaches. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but it also ensures that Hawaii’s coral reefs will remain untouched and pristine for many generations to come!