Why SPF Needs To Protect More Than Just Our Skin This Summer

Reef-safe sunscreen needs to be high on our packing priority list...

Now, caring for our skin doesn't need to come at the expense of the ocean. 

We all know the merit of SPF when it comes to screening the sun's harmful rays, but with more sunscreen ingredients being linked to ecotoxicity – from damaging coral reefs to the harmful impact on algae and marine mammals – here's what we need to be mindful of when protecting our skin and the environment around us too, this summer. 

14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in the world's coral reefs every year.

And by nature, their water-soluble filters and silicones are not easily biodegradable, creating a considerable impact on the marine ecosystem. 

In particular, there are two chemicals commonly found in sunscreen that are believed to have a damaging effect on coral reefs, increasing their vulnerability to bleaching and preventing their growth. 

OXYBENZONE & OCTINOXATE

These two chemical filters, found in more than 3,500 sun cream formulas, contaminate algae that coral depends on for nourishment and respiration.

The concern is so serious that, as of May 1 2018, the state of Hawaii voted to ban the sale of suncare products that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Authorities in other marine locations – such as the Virgin Islands, South Florida and destinations in Mexico – have also been taking measures to encourage visitors to use sunscreens made with more environmentally-friendly mineral filters, including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 

These work as physical sunscreens — i.e. they reflect the sun off your skin, without threatening the environment, but they offer less protection from ageing UVA rays. 

Brands are taking a stand too.

Ren Skincare and Uriage have already launched reef-friendly sun ranges, but the best option for the most eco-conscious beachgoers is still to come, with French brand Caudalie launching their truly innovative, next generation of suncare later this month.

Offering a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB protection via a system of best grades of filters, as well as skin-loving ingredients such a moisturizing Grape Water and Grapeseed Oil, Caudelie's sun range comes in milk and oil formulations and in SPF 30 and 50. 

So, to protect yourself and the marine life of your next holiday destination, stock up on these reef safe sunscreen options, before you jet off! 

Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30, €36, Ren Skincare 

Bariesun SPF50+ Spray, €25.45, Uriage 

Anthelios Comfort Sun Lotion SPF50+, €15, La Roche-Posay

Avène Sports Fluid SPF 50 +, €22, Eau Thermal Avéne

And keep an eye out for Caudelie's launch towards the end of the month! 

Read More: The Ouai has Launched a Pale Skin Must-Have

Main image: Instagram @hannastefansson

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