What does REEF SAFE actually mean?

Posted: Oct 02 2020

Everyone is buzzing about ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreens, but Reef Safe isn’t just a buzz word. Read on to find out why you need to go natural, if you haven’t already.


Keep Toxic Sunscreens off Hawaii Reefs 


As of July 2018, Hawaii banned the use of toxic sunscreens due to their harmful effect on coral reef ecosystems. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be switching to reef safe wherever you are in the world. Common UV filtering chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate found in up to 70% of sunscreens on the US market, have been linked to the death of coral species by causing DNA damage while also hindering larvae development. It has also been found that octinoxate, a chemical known to cause eczema like reactions in some people exacerbates coral bleaching, leading to a particularly poisonous dose when combined with oxybenzone.

Photo: Brett Monroe, Green Peace, Great Barrier Reef


It is estimated that 14,000 tonnes of oxybenzone and octinoxate alone enter the waters around reef systems every year. Even when we shower, the sunscreens we use are further likely to end up in the oceans. The devastating effect this has on reef ecosystems is clear.

Florida’s Key West, the US Virgin Islands, as well as certain locations around the Caribbean and Mexico are set to follow Hawaii’s ban on chemical sunscreens.

Recent studies conducted by the FDA also points to the fact that these chemicals can be harmful to humans as they can be absorbed into the blood stream. Read more on this here.

Most environmentally friendly sunscreens like Surfyogis contain zinc oxide as an active ingredient, as it is the safest broad spectrum sun protection ingredient available. Not only is Surfyogis free of harmful chemicals, we are free of ALL chemicals. This means both you and the coral reefs are safe.

As Charles, our factory guy says, “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!’.

Have you switched to reef safe yet?


Environmentally responsible surfers, Taina Izquierdo, Ben Benson and Anne Dossantos use Surfyogis reef safe surfscreen

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