Science now knows that many of the chemicals used in sunscreens directly impact ocean health. Here is a short list of the worst known offenders and what they do.
Oxybenzone | Found in almost 70% of all sunscreens, this chemical is responsible for deformations in coral tissue and causing coral larva to die by encasing themselves in their own skeleton (Downs, 2015). It is also now known to be a human endocrine disruptor (EWG, 2017 Guide to Safe Sunscreen)
Butylparaben, Octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor | These chemicals awaken dormant viruses within zooxanthellae and induce their lytic cycle. These viruses replicate until their algae hosts explode, causing them to die off and induce bleaching of the coral (Danovaro et al. 2008).
Titanium Dioxide | Thought to be a more stable and environmental alternative to the above chemicals, but don't be fooled, titanium dioxide in seawater reacts with light and produces hydrogen peroxide. This nasty stuff, as it acidifies the ocean and reduces phytoplankton communities (Sánchez-Quiles & Tovar-Sanchez, 2014) .
Our oceans are too precious to poison and making the switch to a reef-safe suncare is an easy step in ensuring their future health. We are working hard to grow SunButter so that consumers everywhere can have an all natural alternative to sunscreen, and help champion the protection of our oceans.
Spread the word, spread the butter, enjoy the sunshine !