We all know that sunscreen is important, but the need to protect our skin and hair from the sun’s rays is damaging the oceans. Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons — yes, tons — of sunscreen washes into the ocean every year. Add to this body lotions, hair products, and, for divers, mask de-fogging products, and it all adds up pretty quickly. But never fear: reef-safe products are readily available.
Many of these products contain ingredients that can cause coral bleaching or that are toxic to some reef fish. Products containing benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone), butylparaben, octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) and cyclopentasiloxane (cyclomethicone) damage the aquatic environment the most. When choosing a body, hair or mask-defogging product, make sure that it does not include any of these ingredients. You can also help by choosing water-resistant and biodegradable sunscreens that do not wash off in the water and that break down quicker. Here is a