As we are heading to Mexico in the summer one of the things we don't want to do is leave any more of a lasting damage to the environment than we possibly can. Reefs, Lagunas and cenotes are one of the areas that we have planned to visit throughout our 14-day trip to the Yucatan and Quintana Roo area of the country and these can easily be damaged by chemicals in suncream. In fact, many of the more natural areas have banned you from wearing these and insect repellents when visiting because of the damage to the environment. So we are currently hunting high and low for eco-friendly sun cream to take with us to protect our skin and the environment. Here are a few that we have found and the one that we have chosen to take with us on our trip.
Eco-Friendly SPF Sun-CreamS
Before we look at the sun creams one of the things that I will say is that the way that we reduce the need for using as much sun cream is by wearing surf vest or rash guards with an SPF 50 instead of just a swimsuit. These protect delicate shoulders and backs covering one of the biggest areas of our bodies.
Why use reef safe SPF sun-cream?
Reefs and aquatic ecosystems are fragile, an increase in chemicals can change the way that the eco-system works.
Blue-green algae, red tides, coral bleaching, the increase in Sargassum Grass on beaches have all been attributed to changes in the chemicals in the water system.
These can come from land run-off, disasters, and manmade introduction. As a visitor to the environments, we have a duty to do our best to protect them. One of the ways is by wearing chemicals that are eco-friendly.
Certain chemicals and components in your standard store bought sun-cream have been banned from marine parks in Hawaii already and other nations are following.
These chemicals and components are:
You can read here on the SCUBA Travel site why Nanoparticles are a problem to sea life.
But it boils down to the way that the particles react and the chemicals that are produced.
This is one of the main components of many sun creams and unfortunately has been identified as increasing the rate of coral bleaching.
Corals are animals, not a plant and when a coral is bleached this is the animal dead.
Butylparaben, Octinoxate and 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor have also been identified as being a cause of damage to reefs and are frequently found in SPF sun creams.
Our Favourite Eco-Friendly Sun Cream
For a couple of years, I have been using Tropic Skincare as part of my daily skin care regime. So when I discovered that their sunscreen was reef friendly and vegan I decided to go with this.
It's only available online but delivery is quick.
We bought the Sun Discovery Set that includes a tube of SPF 30, a tube of SPF 50 and a tube of the aftersun.
Other options for reef-friendly Sunscreen
We've not tested these however we wanted to provide alternatives to the one that we use to make it possible for everyone to get. Do check the reviews and bookmark this page as we will be feeding back on our opinion of the sunscreens we do take with us.
Lovea Organic Kids SunScreen SPF 50
Lovea Organic Kids Sunscreen SPF 50 is an organic, natural sunscreen that includes minerals and is coral reef safe. It's a spray but is more like the squirt bottles than a true spray.
Again marketed for kids we've actually found the kid's sunscreen less likely to cause a problem than some adults due to made for more delicate skin.
Badger Balm SunScreen for Kids SPF 50
Badger Balm Sunscreen for kids has an SPF of 50 and appears really good. There aren't any reviews for the Kids version but for the babies.
As with all reef safe sunscreens, this isn't clear so you can expect it to leave a white zinc layer on your skin. Not a problem and better for sun protection and the environment than the non-particle technology I mentioned above as being an issue.
Holland and Barret Nature's Block
This was the only one of the selection that we found available on the high street in the UK. Holland & Barret's Nature's Block.
It comes in an SPF 30 (lower than I would like to use when travelling to a tropical country on my fair skin) but it is reef friendly and natural so could be applied more often to provide the protection especially if used when wearing surf vests with an SPF as well.