Healthy Sunscreen: Better for you & ocean life

Kauai’s gorgeous, clear oceans are fabulous for snorkeling and seeing lovely tropical fish and when you’re lucky, an occasional endangered sea turtle.

While swimming with the fish, have you ever noticed the coral reef beneath you? Corals are living organisms that provide nourishment and shelter for our finned friends. The healthier the water is around them, the better it is for all of us.

Here’s how you can help keep our coral healthy: avoid wearing sunscreens that contain these four common ingredients that scientists say cause a dormant virus inside coral to activate, causing the coral to bleach then die:

  • Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3) – Some toxicology experts believe that oxybenzone is also linked to hormone disruption in humans and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.
  • Butylparaben
  • Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate)
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) – legal in Europe and Canada, not in the USA or Japan.

All four of these sunscreen ingredients have been found to have harmful effects on humans as well as coral, according to several studies. Even though the ocean is vast, in popular tourist destinations like Kauai, the effects of these substances is magnified and results can be devastating. According to at least one study, the exposure to a very small dose of sunscreen containing even one of these chemicals is just as dangerous as a high exposure.

Here is a list of several of my favorite natural sunscreen brands that are available in many retail locations and via the Internet:

  • Badger
  • UV Natural
  • Aubrey Organics
  • Nature’s Gate

Remember, a sunscreen that is healthier for marine life is also better for you and your family.

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