A Guide to Reef Safe Sunscreen and Top 10 Brands

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When traveling to Turks and Caicos, please consider packing Reef Safe Sunscreen. Turks and Caicos is one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean. Let's do our part in helping to preserve this beauty and the environment, both in and out of the water.

You're traveling to Turks and Caicos for a vacation like no other. There's no doubt the water alone has been a huge decision maker for your trip. We guarantee you'll spend more time in the water in Turks and Caicos than out.

So with that, it's important we're doing all we can to keep these beautiful waters and underwater worlds as pristine as possible. Choosing reef safe sunscreen over popular drug store brands is a huge step in the right direction.

As more and more people become aware of the environmental impact of sunscreen, the demand for reef safe sunscreen has increased.

Traditional sunscreens contain chemicals that can be harmful to coral reefs and other marine life, contributing to the destruction of these delicate ecosystems.

But what exactly is reef safe sunscreen, and how can you tell if a sunscreen is truly safe for the environment? In this article, we’ll answer these questions and highlight ten of the top reef safe sunscreen brands.

A tanned lady looks out to turquoise water with a sunburst painted on her left shoulder in the shape of a sun. She wears a straw hat with a sun orange bow.

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What is Reef Safe Sunscreen?

Reef safe sunscreen refers to sunscreens that do not contain certain chemicals that have been shown to harm coral reefs and other marine life. The most common chemicals to avoid are oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals have been shown to cause coral bleaching and disrupt the growth and reproduction of corals. Other chemicals to avoid include octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone, which have also been shown to harm marine life.

Reef Safe sunscreens avoid using these harmful chemicals and instead, often use mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide sun protection. These ingredients work by reflecting the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them, making them safer for both humans and the environment.

How to Choose a Reef Safe Sunscreen

Choosing a reef safe sunscreen can be a bit tricky. Not all sunscreens that claim to be “reef safe” actually are. Here are a few tips to help you choose a sunscreen that is truly safe for the environment:

  1. Look for sunscreens that are labeled “reef safe” or “ocean safe.” However, keep in mind that these labels are not regulated, so it’s important to check the ingredients to ensure that the sunscreen is actually safe for the environment.
  2. Check the ingredients. Look for sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, homosalate, or avobenzone. Instead, look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients.
  3. Consider the packaging. Sunscreens that come in plastic packaging can contribute to plastic pollution in the ocean. Look for sunscreens that come in eco friendly packaging, such as glass or aluminum.

Top Ten Reef Safe Sunscreen Brands

Shopping links will take you to the closest product match in your Country.

Badger Balm

Badger Balm is a family-owned company that makes a variety of organic and natural products, including reef safe sunscreens. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide as their active ingredient and come in eco friendly packaging.

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Badger Balm Reef Safe Sunscreen

ALL GOOD

All Good is a certified B Corporation that makes reef safe sunscreens using non-nano zinc oxide and other natural ingredients. Their sunscreens come in plastic-free packaging made from recycled materials.

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All Good Reef Safe Sunscreen

RAW ELEMENTS

Raw Elements makes reef safe sunscreens using non-nano zinc oxide and other natural and organic ingredients. Their sunscreens are biodegradable and come in recyclable packaging.

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Raw Elements Reef Safe Sunscreen

STREAM2SEA

Stream2Sea is a company that specializes in eco friendly sunscreens and other personal care products. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide and other natural ingredients and come in plastic-free packaging.

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Stream2Sea Reef Safe Sunscreen

think sport

Thinksport makes a variety of eco-friendly products, including reef safe sunscreens. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide as their active ingredient and come in recyclable packaging.

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Thinksport Reef Safe Sunscreen

BLUE LIZARD

Blue Lizard is a brand that offers a variety of sunscreens, including reef safe options. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients and come in recyclable packaging.

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Blue Lizard Reef Safe Sunscreen

ALBA BOTANICA

Alba Botanica makes a variety of natural and organic personal care products, including reef safe sunscreens. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients and come in recyclable packaging.

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Alba Botanica Reef Safe Sunscreen

sun bum MINERAL

Sun Bum Mineral (white packaging) is a popular brand that makes a variety of sunscreens, including reef safe options. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients and come in eco-friendly packaging made from recycled materials.

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Sun Bum Mineral Reef Safe Sunscreen

coola mineral organic

Coola is a luxury brand that makes a variety of organic and natural skincare products, including reef safe sunscreens. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients and come in recyclable packaging.

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Coola Reef Safe Sunscreen

BABO BOTANICALS

Babo Botanicals is a brand that offers a variety of natural and organic personal care products, including reef safe sunscreens. Their sunscreens use non-nano zinc oxide and other natural ingredients and come in eco-friendly packaging made from recycled materials.

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Babo Botanicals Reef Safe Sunscreen

It's important to note that while these brands are considered to be Reef Safe, it's still important to double check ingredients.

Popular Sunscreen Brands To Avoid

While it's not always easy to read those ridiculously small print ingredients when you're out shopping, here are some popular sunscreen brands you should avoid. These brands are not considered reef safe due to their inclusion of harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate.

  • Coppertone
  • Neutrogena
  • Banana Boat
  • Hawaiian Tropic
  • Aveeno
  • Australian Gold
  • La Roche-Posay
  • Biore
  • Kiehl's
  • Shiseido

It's worth noting that some of these brands do offer reef safe options within their product line, so it's important to carefully read the ingredient label before purchasing.

A Feel Good Choice For The Environment

Reef safe sunscreen is a crucial step in protecting our oceans and marine life. By choosing a sunscreen that does not contain harmful chemicals and uses eco friendly packaging, we can make a positive impact on the environment.

If all this talk about sunscreen has you ready to hit the beach, be sure to read our 11 Best Beaches in Turks and Caicos!

Remember to always read the ingredients and labels carefully, and use reef safe sunscreen responsibly to ensure that we can continue to enjoy our oceans for years to come.

Have a question? Email us at hello@corksandtacos.com or join our Facebook Discussion Group


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About The Authors

Hello, we're Kerry and Byron Glover, the founders of Corks and Tacos - Your one stop guide to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

We've been traveling to Turks and Caicos multiple times per year since 2014 and we created this website to share our love and passion for Turks and Caicos with you. We provide you with useful travel planning tips and give you a "real person" perspective on all the wonderful things this Island has to offer. We look forward to you exploring our site and gaining valuable knowledge within our resources for your next vacation. We’re sure you’re going to love Turks and Caicos just as much as we do! Read our full story...

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