There is a difference between sunscreen (which uses chemicals to absorb and reflect the sun’s harmful rays) and sunblock (zinc- or titanium-based formulations that physically block UVA and UVB rays). Protecting your skin from the sun is important to your health, but many of the chemicals in brand-name sunscreens are incredibly harmful to coral and marine life. Each year swimmers and roughly 9 to 13 million pounds of sunscreen and tanning products to our oceans. Recent studies show that parabens, cinnamate, benzophenone, and camphor derivatives-all common ingredients in com-mercial sunscreen-can cause dormant viruses in coral reef algae to bloom, which can eventually kill the coral.
Protect yourself and our oceans by using biodegradable sunblocks that don’t contain harmful chemicals. Better alternatives are on the horizon, but for now products that have titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as active ingredients and all natural (even better, organic) inceptive ingredients are the safest.
-Abrams, “365 Ways To Save The Earth”, 2008