Your Sunscreen May Be Damaging the Coral Reef

Additives Oxybenzone and Octinoxate damage coral.

Your Sunscreen May Be Damaging the Coral Reef

Photo Courtesy of

Even though sunscreen is very beneficial in various ways such as shielding your skin from harmful rays and preventing possible cancer, it can also be very harmful to coral reefs, according to Mother Nature Network.

According to Mother Nature Network, “just a small amount of sunscreen containing the ingredient oxybenzone is enough to break down coral, causing it to lose its nutrients, turn ghostly white or bleach and often die.”

Sunscreen damaging coral reefs is bigger than climate change, according to NY Times.

Craig Downs, the Executive Producer of  Haereticus Environmental Laboratory based in Clifford, VA. concluded that as the sunscreen washes off of your body in the ocean, it can lead to bleaching the coral, and even cause viral infections, as reported from an article published by  NY Times stated.

According to National Geographic, even if you don’t go swimming with the sunscreen on, it can still damage the reefs when you rinse it off in the shower, and it goes down the drains.

Banning oxybenzone and octinoxate will decrease the amount of safe and effective sunscreens, which will increase the chances of getting skin cancer, stated Washington Post.

Although there might not be many eco-safe sunscreens, “Haereticus Environmental Lab publishes a list each year of what sunscreens are safe for the environment, and organizations like the Environmental Working Group also publish a safe sunscreen guide,” according to National Geographic.