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Got Sunscreen?

July 02, 2020

LEFT: Sunscreen Education Station at Makena State Park by Maui Huliau Foundation for the Hawaii Youth Conservation Challenge
RIGHT: Infographic: Sunscreen Chemicals and Marine Life (Courtesy of NOAA)


Summer, the season of steadiness (kauwela) is here, and that means it's time to go to the beach! But did you know your sunscreen could be harming the ocean? Research has shown the harmful effects of certain sunscreens on our marine life and fragile ecosystems. Check out the recent sunscreen information at: NOAA - Ocean Service.  

How to stay protected while protecting marine life and ecosystems: 

  • Read the label: Look for “Non-nano Zinc Oxide” or “Non-nano Titanium Dioxide” as the active ingredient! Phrases like “Reef Friendly” and “Reef Safe” are not regulated so it is important to always read the label. Avoid any product that contains the awful 8: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, PABA (Aminobenzoic Acid), Enzacamene, Octisalate, Homosalate and Avobenzone. Learn more here.

  • Say no to spray: While the convenience of aerosol spray is alluring, the majority of the time the spray gets carried away in the wind and ends up polluting the ocean. Not only that, but the spray is easily inhaled and can damage your lungs.

  • Seek shade: Choose to hang out under some coverage like umbrellas or pop-up tents to protect your skin from direct sunlight, especially between 10:00am-2:00pm when the sun is at its peak. If you know you are going to be in direct sunlight for an extended amount of time, throw on a sun shirt, some light pants, and a nice wide-brimmed sun hat to protect your face.

  • Plastic free packaging: Look for sunscreen that comes in metal tins or cardboard sticks to help protect the ocean from plastic pollution! Brands like All Good, Avasol, Little Hands Hawai’i and Raw Elements all have plastic free packaging options and reef-safe ingredients! 

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