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Caribbean Vacation Packing Essentials: Reef Safe Sunscreen

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The U.S. Virgin Islands recently passed a Sunscreen Ban to protect the Caribbean’s coral reefs, and other islands are soon to follow. This ban prohibits the use of any sunscreen with the “toxic 3 Os,” including octinoxate, oxybenzone, and octocrylene. You may be asking, “what sunscreen can I use?” Thankfully, environmentally-conscious sun protection has come a long way from the zinc-nosed days of your youth.

Traditional sunscreen contains chemicals, preservatives, and toxins that wash off easily and contaminate the sea. These ingredients can cause coral bleaching, which leaves the reefs unable to reproduce and pose a threat to marine life who call the reefs their home. Scientists have found that between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen leaks into coral reefs each year from swimmers, scuba divers, and snorkelers.

There’s good news, though: once these chemicals have completely washed out of the surrounding environment, coral reefs can rejuvenate. Sunscreen Bans help limit the spread of toxic chemicals, and increase the demand for products that are less harmful to sunbathers and the ocean-lovers alike. Eco-friendly corporations like Stream2Sea and Badger Balm have put their sun-protection products through rigorous testing to ensure full, broad spectrum protection without sacrificing the health of marine life. You can read more about Stream2Sea’s qualifications here and learn about Badger Balm’s full range of products here. Thinksport Sunscreen and Mama Kuleana are also solid options for reef-safe sunscreen.

Coral reefs and sun protection are Caribbean essentials. Order your reef-safe sunscreen now to avoid extravagant on-island prices - it pays to know before you go!

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