Why Can’t I Use Regular Sunscreen While Snorkeling in St Thomas or St John?

Coral reefs all over the world are dying. Pollution, climate change and most regular sunscreens damage marine life. Sunscreens contain octinoxate and oxybenzone. These two chemicals are the most common UV blockers used worldwide.


The sunscreen protecting your skin could cause considerable damage to coral and other marine life. When you swim or snorkel, sunscreen chemicals enter the water. Chemical, as well as mineral sunscreens can be harmful to the ocean environment. women with fish

Most people consider mineral sunscreens safe. The surprising fact is that mineral sunscreens contain small particles which are easily absorbed by marine life.

Faced with an unpredictable future, coral reefs are struggling to survive. If they are to survive, action at all levels is necessary. It will help restore the delicate ecosystem of the ocean and create a good atmosphere for corals to survive and thrive.

Studies have shown components of sunscreens harming corals. The adverse impact on corals include:

  • Bleaching of coral cells and fragments of various species of hard coral. In higher water temperatures the bleaching is more pronounced.
  • Deformation and damage of coral larvae.
  • Damage to coral DNA. DNA damage affects the reproductive success of the coral.

Reef Friendly Sunscreens

Non-toxic and eco-friendly sunscreen products are safe for corals. People are urged to only use natural products. Regulations are in place for the sale and use of toxic sunscreens in some states.

States like Hawaii have started the process of banning the sale of oxybenzone. Other states like Florida are most likely to ban the use of chemical sunscreens.

Healthy corals protect the ecosystems of the ocean and earth. It is best to consider sunscreen without chemicals. It will help protect you and the marine life in the ocean.

Remember that you don’t have to abandon sunscreen to protect the environment. All that you need to do is to make reef-friendly choices. Choose to use chemical-free sunscreens so that you can avoid environmental damage.

Coral reefs are beautiful and vital to maintain the ecosystem of the ocean. Mineral sunscreens with ingredients more than 100 nanometers in diameter are safe for coral reefs. A simple choice is all it takes to ensure the health of corals.

For more information about snorkeling in St Thomas or St John, USVI fishing charters or other excursions, contact Ocean Surfari in St Thomas, VI at (340) 227-5448.


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