Coral Reef Friendly Suncreens

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are common ingredients in sunscreen that are found to have toxic effects on young coral, causing endocrine disruption, DNA damage, stunted growth and even death. With nearly 15% of earth’s reefs affected and around 14,000 tons of sunscreen finding their way onto coral reefs around the world each year its increasingly important that we do our part to maintain coral reef health while we surf the waves they create. Statistics have shown that coral reefs have declined 40% in the Great Barrier Reef, 85% in the Caribbean and 99% in the Florida Keys. Sunscreen products that are reef-safe are becoming more and more common on the market. The team at the Center for Surf Research took two brands of reef-safe sunscreen for a spin.

Soul Spot has done a great job by creating their sunscreen with just four simple ingredients: beeswax, non-nano zinc oxide, coconut oil, and glycerin. It works extremely well and is long lasting because of the zinc content. The CSR team all found that the sunscreen did a great job of preventing sunburn and it was incredibly durable over a long day of multiple surf sessions. It actually stayed on so well that even when it was applied early for a dawn patrol, it lasted through a second session and you could still see it at dinner that night if you forgot to clean it off. A great product for those days out in the sun all day, without having to tediously keep reapplying sunscreen. We were extra stoked that Sunspot is the brainchild of SDSU students (see blog post).

Surf Yogis was also a hit with the Center for Surf Research crew. The ingredients are similarly reef safe an include only chocolate, beeswax, zinc oxide, and coconut oil. The chocolate gives it a great smell and a tan tint that makes the zinc a little less noticeable on your face, leading to less raised eyebrows when you go into work immediately after your surf. We found that Surf Yogis was also long lasting and effective – we mean REALLY long lasting and 100% effective. In addition to surviving a San Diego summer, Dr Jess trialled Surf Yogis in marathon surf sessions in significant surf under the burning sun of Indonesia and Central West Africa with no sunburn to report. Plus, the chocolate smell when applying it and the occasional wafts you get throughout your session are awesome!

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