Sunscreen is a natural part of daily life, especially if you live somewhere that’s warm and sunny year-round. It’s not something that many of us think too hard about - we simply put it on and get in the water.
But, when using sunscreen, we need to think a little harder. When you swim in the ocean while wearing sunblock, think of the chemicals you’re putting in the water. Did you know that the oceans in Hawaii are exposed to 6,000 tons of sunscreen every year? That is an exorbitant amount of chemicals.
We must do better not only when it comes to ocean water, but ocean life as well.
Many sunscreens contain a chemical called oxybenzone, which seeps into the water from your skin. Once it’s in the water, it gets absorbed by corals. This chemical contains small particles that affect coral’s reproduction and growth, which ultimately leads to bleaching. Bleaching occurs when a coral is stressed - it doesn’t necessarily mean the coral is dead, but it does mean that the coral is not doing well.
Even if you don’t swim with sunscreen on, it eventually washes down the shower drain, which then leads to the ocean. No matter what, when you wear sunscreen that isn’t eco friendly, it impacts our oceans in a negative way.
It’s All Connected
On planet Earth, everything is interconnected. So, what happens to the ecosystem when corals are reduced and eventually die off?
Once corals disappear, the reefs will die and erode. These reefs are feeding and breeding grounds for marine life - and this marine life acts as food for humans. It’s a chain that will break if we continue to pollute the water with harmful chemicals.
Humans depend on the ocean for food, water, and energy. It also helps regulate global weather patterns. If we upset this balance, we upset our entire way of life.
We also depend on the ocean for an escape. We use it to recharge our mental, emotional, and spiritual batteries through activities like surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, and these activities allow us to connect with nature - something that is ultra important. These activities won’t be available for much longer if we don’t take care of the oceans.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
So, how do we take care of them? Something small - yet incredibly impactful - that all of us can do is use eco friendly sunscreen instead of sunblock that contains chemicals like oxybenzone.
Protekt makes a great coral safe sunscreen that is chemical free and will keep your skin safe from the sun while keeping the ocean safe, too. It comes in lotion and sunstick form, with tinted and untinted options. This reef safe sunscreen won’t put coral in danger of bleaching or pollute the water with anything it could soak up and suffer from.
The ocean has been around for longer than any of us have been alive, and we want it around for many more lifetimes to come. It’s imperative that we all do our part by utilizing environmentally friendly sunscreen and maintaining the ocean as a place for humans, animals, and plant life to thrive.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Protekt products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.