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Your Guide To Reef Safe Sun Cream

Finding a sunscreen that is good for you and good for the planet sounds like an impossible task. However, it is a lot easier than you think. Here is a quick guide to help:

Sunscreen is something we shouldn't just be saving for those Summer days out and instead should be something we wear daily, even when the sun isn't shining. Not only does it reduce the risk of sunburn, it also minimises signs of ageing and greatly reduces the risk of skin cancer.

What To Look For In An Eco-Friendly Sun Cream

Firstly, it's important to note that not all suncreams are harmful to the environment, and there are a few factors to consider when looking for one on the market.


Plastic packaging is dangerous to marine life when it isn't disposed of correctly. If it ends up in the sea, it can be consumed by bigger aquatic animals or if left, can end up breaking down into microplastics in the ocean causing massive pollution. Always try to opt for suncream in a plastic-free bottle to prevent these risks.


Because some people don't swim in the sea, they think that sun cream isn't something they need to change as the sun cream doesn't wash off directly into the sea. However, it makes its way back to the sea when we wash it off in the shower. This is a big issue as common sunscreens tend to be filled with chemicals that threaten marine life.

Toxic chemicals in suncream can cause damage like decreasing fertility in fish and causing bleaching in coral. With that in mind, it is best to use a reef-safe suncream with no toxic chemicals. This one from UpCircle is a great one to prevent skin-ageing and this one from Shade is a fab budget friendly all-rounder.

What Chemicals Should I Avoid?

These four ingredients are the main toxic chemicals that we should avoid when looking for a suncream:

  • Oxybenzone

  • Octinoxate

  • Nano titanium dioxide

  • Nano zinc oxide

Try to find ones that contain non-nano zinc oxide which is much healthier for your skin and safer for marine life. The UpCircle one and Shade one linked above contain this ingredient and I highly recommend these.

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