Hawaii Bans Certain Sunscreens – Here’s Why They Did and What It Means for You

Morgan Casavant
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My ears always perk up when I hear that something commonly used by the population has been banned.
Hawaii has recently banned certain ingredients in sunscreen that contain chemicals harmful to the coral reefs.
This is big. And is another tally on the board of reasons why we should all switch to natural sunscreen. Not only is natural sunscreen better for your body (chemicals being absorbed into my skin, no thanks!), it’s also much better for the planet.

Why This Ban Matters

Last month (May 2018), Hawaii passed state legislature that bans sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. This bill is unprecedented in the States, but these chemicals have already been addressed and reduced in Europe.
The ban on these harmful chemicals found in over 3,000 of the world’s most popular sunscreens that are killing the coral reefs and causing us cancer is a huge step in the right direction of preserving our oceans.

About the Chemicals

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are chemical filters used as UVA protectors in chemical sunscreens – which is supposed to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
A study published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology found a link between these two chemicals and bleaching, abnormal formation, genetic damage and even mortality in developing coral.
In addition to that, oxybenzone and octinoxate have also been linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, deformities and neurological changes in behavior in marine life. Scary stuff!
Even scarier, there is serious concern that endangered species like certain sea turtles, marine mammals and migratory birds that live in this region could be exposed to these chemicals.
Turning to more natural UVA filters, like Zinc, is an easy way to protect your skin from the sun and do your part to help preserve the precious coral reefs and marine life.

Here Are 4 Natural Sunscreen Brands You Can Use and Ditch the Chemicals

Now that you know why we should all start avoiding chemical sunscreens, here are a handful of brands you can use instead.

1. Babo Botanicals

Babo Botanicals offers several reef-safe, Zinc-based sunscreens that are great for daily use. And, their hypoallergenic formula is a great match for those of us with sensitive skin!
Some ingredients in this sunscreen are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Avocado Oil
  • Jojoba Oil

Babo Botanicals was one of our featured products in our May’s Favorite Things. Check out 6 Yoga and Wellness Products We Love in May.

2. Alba Botanica

As someone with extremely sensitive skin, Alba Botanica is my sun protection go-to. Their formula is both hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, created with vegetarian ingredients, and it won’t clog your pores. It’s also completely biodegradable!
Some ingredients in this sunscreen are:

  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Vitamin E
  • Grape Seed Oil



3. Badger Sunscreen

What I like about Badger Sunscreen is that they offer many variations of Zinc mineral sunscreens, like baby, kids, and sport. Their sunscreen is certified organic, and is recommended by the Environmental Working Group.
Some ingredients in this sunscreen are:

  • Plant Oils
  • Aloe
  • Beeswax


4. Goddess Garden

Goddess Garden makes an amazing, lavender-scented everyday sunscreen. This sunscreen isn’t greasy, and it’s made entirely with plant-based ingredients and natural minerals. It’s a great sunscreen to wear every day.
Some ingredients in this sunscreen are:

  • Aloe Leaf Juice
  • Coconut Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Vitamin E

We love Goddess Garden sunscreen for all our outdoor activities. Check out 11 Products Every Outdoor Enthusiast Will Love for more of our favorites.

It’s Time to Ditch Chemical Sunscreen and Make the Switch

With so much research pointing to the downfalls of chemical sunscreen and its effects on our bodies and on the coral reefs, it’s time to ditch that sh*t. This summer, officially make the switch to mineral-based, natural sunscreen for UVA/UVB protection and help protect the ocean in the process.
It’s a win-win!
Interested in more coral reef-saving activities? Our friends over at PIYOGA are using artificial reefs to help restore coral off the coast of Bali. Read more about their project here.

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Morgan Casavant

Morgan is a graphic designer and yoga instructor committed to inspiring compassion, balance, and centeredness - on and off the mat. She loves minimalism, the zero waste movement, and all the things working to protect the environment.


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