I'm going to guess that the majority of us, including myself have used or currently use all different types of sunscreens when going to the beach, basically whatever we can get our hands on that smells good and is easily found at any grocery store. AMIRIGHT?
It's a common misconception that BIODEGRADABLE sunscreen is a regular sunscreen sold in a bottle that is biodegradable. This is not the case. Biodegradable sunscreen is actually a type of sunscreen that is free from all chemical ingredients. It is eco-friendly and will not be harmful to plants, animals, reefs, etc.!
We all know sunscreen can be rather annoying. It usually leaves a greasy feel on us and if you don't let it dry before getting into the water, you can see it floating off into the water like oil, YUCK. At many tropical destinations, biodegradable sunscreen is a requirement and sold on site for tourists to use to protect their waters, fish, and reefs. Sadly and unfortunately, 99% of the regular brands of sunscreen are not biodegradable and this is what is carried in most stores. If your sunblock has these chemicals in it, it is not biodegradable:
There are also brands who claim to be biodegradable but are not 100% free of chemicals. Check out this list below of common sunscreens that promote to be biodegradable, but still have the chemicals mentioned above:
|BIODEGRADABLE BRAND||WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT|
|All Terrain AquaSport||The SPF30 Version Contains Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Dimethicone, Octinoxate and Benzophenone. SPF15 Contains Dimethicone but not the other chemicals and parabens.|
|Aloe Up Pro Sport||Contains Avobenzone|
|Aubrey Organics Natural Sun||Contains Padimate O (PABA Ester)|
|Aveeno Naturals||Contains Cetyl Dimethicone, Oxybenzone, Octisalate. Not Biodegradable.|
|Beach Buff||Contains Octinoxate, Octisalate, and Oxybenzone|
|Burt's Bees||Not Water Resistant|
|California Baby||Contains Propylparaben (Stick only).|
|Eco-Lani||Not Water Resistant|
|Hawaiian Tropic Biodegradable||Contains Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Octisalate.|
|Heiko||Not Water Resistant.|
|Jason Naturals Sunbrellas||Contains Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Octisalate and Octocrylene|
|Nature's Gate Aquablock||Contains Octinoxate, Oxybenzone|
|Newco||Not Water Resistant|
|Reef Safe||Contains Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Octisalate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Propylparaben, Methylparaben|
|Safe Sea||Contains Octinoxate, Octisalate|
|Smartshield||Contains Octinoxate, Octisalate, Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Padimate, Propylparaben|
|Brands such as Coppertone, No-AD, Banana Boat, etc. are not biodegradable and contain petrochemicals harmful to reefs.
We consider water resistant for 80 minutes or more to be close enough to waterproof, as you rarely are in the water longer than that.
You can find biodegradable sunscreen online, health food, and organic specialty stores like Wholefoods, Sprouts, Trader Joes, etc.
My recommendation is mineral sunscreen Stream2Sea Sport sunscreen. It is tested reef safe, broad spectrum UVA.UVB, non nano, water resistant, non-greasy, ecoconscious sugarcane resin tubes, protect land + sea certified!
You can check it out here or order on Amazon!
FOR MY TEXAS LOCALS: When we think of Galveston, Surfside, and surrounding beaches we envision the murky waters splashing a shore and might not think that there are reefs near by that are affected by our suncreens. Please know that miles offshore there are beautiful clear waters with coral reefs and marine life. So, if you'd like to do your part, consider using a biodegradable sunscreen, it's also mineral based and healthy for YOUR skin as well! :)