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November 13, 2019
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit a healthy reef, then you will understand how exquisitely beautiful it is. The variously shaped corals display a myriad of colours and are teeming with all sorts of fascinating marine life. It’s because of this that they are the reason for a booming tourism industry, massively contributing to local economies. Stunning they may be, there is much more to coral reefs than meets the eye.
Corals are organisms that have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, microscopic algae. The algae photosynthesise sunlight and feed some of the resulting nutrients to the corals. In exchange, the corals provide shelter and nutrients through their waste, which the algae uses as food.
Together, the algae and corals create a dynamic ecosystem that supports marine biodiversity. They do this by providing food, breeding space, habitat and protection from predators. Coral reefs play host to more than 25% of all ocean life!
They don’t stop there! Corals help to filter the water, improving its quality and they act as shoreline barriers against surge water and storms. Pretty awesome, right?
The biggest cause of coral reef destruction is bleaching, which is where the corals discharge the algae, revealing the fragile exoskeletons underneath. If these aren’t repopulated quickly enough, then the corals die. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has identified 4 main reasons bleaching occurs, including climate change, land run-off (sewage, farming chemicals, etc.), certain types of fishing and coastal development.
Wrong! Whilst these issues may seem like they’re outside of our control, there are things we can do on an individual level. Do you wear sunscreen? I’m sure you do. Did you know that 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen are washed into the ocean every year?
The majority of sunscreen and other personal-care goods contain an array of chemicals, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. Companies add them to their products because they’re quite effective at protecting against the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. However, multiple chemicals are needed to protect against the different wavelengths of UV, which is why there are so many of them in the same product.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate work by permeating the skin and absorbing UV through their chemical bonds. Unfortunately, not only are they bad for your skin, they are also toxic to marine life, interfering with the corals and promote bleaching. Both Hawaii and Palau have already banned sunscreen that contain these harmful ingredients.
Luckily, there is a safer alternative. Instead of using a chemical-based sunscreen, you can switch to a product that provides a physical barrier. Physical sunscreen contains minerals that occur naturally, rather than being synthetic. These spread across the skin to reflect the UV rays like a mirror, without penetrating the skin.
When purchasing a reef-safe sunscreen, you should also watch out for nanoparticles; they are small enough to be ingested or absorbed and are therefore harmful to marine life. Therefore, a reef-safe product is a natural, physical sunscreen with no nanoparticles. For example, non-nanoparticle zinc oxide is very effective as a physical blocker and has been identified as the least damaging UV protector for marine life.
Of course! Our sunscreen is formulated to contain non-nanoparticle zinc oxide, which provides broad-spectrum protection against UV rays and doesn’t lead to coral bleaching. SunButter doesn’t use oxybenzone, octinoxate, or any other nasty chemicals that could affect marine life. Moreover, our simple blend of natural ingredients restores and nurtures your skin and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, weathered skin and children.
It’s true that SunButter is a physical barrier, but whilst there are physical sunscreens out there that leave a lovely white gloss all over your skin, our product has been formulated to avoid this. We use several derivatives of coconut oil to improve the spreadability and skin hydration of the product, without diminishing the effectiveness of the UV protection. So don’t worry, you won’t end up looking like a ghost!
Buy some safe for reef SunButter here to help protect the beautiful coral reefs, whilst keeping your skin protected, nourished and hydrated.
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