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Oars + Alps Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Understanding Reef-Safe Sunscreen

 

The impact of sunscreen on coral reefs has become an important concern. While many products are labeled as ‘reef-safe sunscreen’, there is not a standardized definition for that term, either nationally or internationally. The lack of common guidelines for which sunscreens are reef-safe unsurprisingly can lead to confusion when shopping for sun protection. However, Hawaii has taken the lead in defining what constitutes safer sunscreen for reefs through Act 104. We’ll go into the specifics of Hawaii Act 104 Reef Compliant sunscreen and why we use it as our standard for our formulations.


The Importance of Protecting Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are beautiful underwater landscapes that are vital to marine life and local economies. They provide habitats for numerous aquatic species, protect coastlines from erosion, and support fishing and tourism industries. Unfortunately, coral reefs are fragile and vulnerable to environmental stressors, including chemicals found in some sunscreens.


What Is Reef-Safe Sunscreen?

Determining what types of sunscreens are reef-safe is a complex matter and environmental research is still evolving in this area. To date, Hawaii has been the pioneer in defining the strictest guidelines in the U.S. by enacting Act 104. For a sunscreen to be Hawaii Act 104 Reef Compliant, sunscreens must be free of the chemicals, Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, which scientific studies have shown to be associated with coral bleaching. When corals bleach, they lose their vibrant colors and become more susceptible to dying from disease.


At Oars + Alps, we ensure all of our SPF products are Hawaii Act 104 Reef Compliant, and you will never find Oxybenzone or Octinoxate in our formulas.  While there is currently no standard guideline for what makes sunscreen reef-safe, Hawaii's approach provides us with a clear direction. 


Hawaii Act 104: Setting the Standard

To protect delicate marine environments, Hawaii implemented Act 104, which bans the sale of sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. This legislation is the first in the U.S. and sets a standard for the use of reef-safe sunscreen in Hawaii. By targeting these specific chemicals, the law aims to mitigate the negative impacts of sunscreen on marine ecosystems and serves as a model for other regions, encouraging them to adopt similar measures to protect their aquatic habitats. 


Maui County Sunscreen Ban

To protect coral reefs and other marine life from harmful chemicals, Maui County passed Ordinance No. 5306. This law bans the sale, distribution, and use of non-mineral sunscreens without a prescription, promoting only mineral sunscreens made with 'non-nanotized' Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. These regulations aim to safeguard Maui's unique marine environment and coral reefs, which are crucial for the local economy and natural defense against environmental impacts. 

Oars + Alps Mineral Sunscreen Spray

The Role of Oars + Alps in Promoting Reef-Safe Practices

Oars + Alps is committed to complying with Hawaii's Act 104 by formulating our sunscreens to be free of Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. For those visiting Maui, we have mineral sunscreen lotions and sprays to ensure you follow their local guidelines and protect yourself from the sun. Our mineral sunscreens are identified by having “100% Mineral” in the name and have white packaging with yellow lids. 

 

Tips for Choosing and Using Reef-Safe Sunscreens

  • Avoid Harmful Chemicals: Fully avoid sunscreens containing Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and parabens.
  • Check for Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Particles: Ensure the sunscreen uses non-nano Zinc Oxide particles, larger than 100 nanometers and less likely to harm marine life.
  • Follow Application Instructions: Apply sunscreen as directed and allow it to absorb fully before swimming.

 

Choose Reef-Compliant Sunscreens 

By choosing sunscreens that adhere to Hawaii's rigorous standards you protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays and contribute to preserving our oceans. At Oars + Alps, we’re committed to staying on the cutting edge of developments regarding safe skincare ingredients and environmental responsibility. This ensures that our sunscreens are good for both your skin and the environment. 

 

Explore our wide range of Hawaii Act 104 Reef-compliant sunscreens and join us in safeguarding our marine ecosystems for future generations.

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