19 Oct

How Sunscreens Could be Harmful?

We all know that the benefits of sunscreens to protect the skin from UV rays are no longer to be proven. On the other hand, this summer essential can be very harmful for the marine environment, and especially for the corals

Recently, the Hawaiian government banned the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing “Octinoxate” and “Oxybenzone” to protect its reefs. The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2021.




Some studies have shown that these two chemicals can cause the death of corals, increase the bleaching of the reefs and cause genetic damage to other marine organisms. Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are two of the most common chemicals found in sunscreens and many other cosmetic products.

  • The Oxybenzone or also called Benzophenone-3, is an organic compound used in sunscreen for its ability to absorb UVB—before damaging your skin; and short UVA rays. Some studies shown that Oxybenzone could cause allergic skin reactions, and potentially causes cell damage which may lead to skin cancer.


”Results of extensive environmental research published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology revealed that Oxybenzone in the ocean is a major contributor to widespread coral bleaching. – As little as a teaspoon of Oxybenzone-containing sunscreen can cause coral bleaching. This is just a fraction of the amount of sunscreen needed to cover the body before sun exposure—not to mention reapplying.” (www.sunology.com)

  • The Octinoxate also known as Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, is also one of the common ingredient that you will find in many sunscreens, such as a UVB absorber, to prevent burns.


You should know that Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are only two of several sunscreen chemicals that are toxic to coral. There are many more such as: Homosalate, Octisalate or even Octocrylene. Of course, not all sunscreens contain those chemicals, so just be aware and check at the back of your sunscreen.

“We suggest you should look for mineral active ingredients—like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both—in the ingredient panel.” (www.sunology.com)

Still do not forget to put sunscreen on!

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