How You Can Help Conserve Marine Life By Choosing Reef-Safe Sunscreen

We are all familiar with coral reefs and how they serve as a home for millions of marine animals. Unfortunately, many people don’t think about how humans contribute to coral bleaching and kill these delicate ecosystems.

Even some of the world’s most renowned reefs are no stranger to the damages caused by environmental catastrophes, like coral bleaching, pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Climate change has been pointed out as a major factor in coral reef degradation; however, aggravating causes like contamination and sedimentation can all be traced back to human activity.

The Extent Of Damage To Coral Reefs

Reef-Safe Coral Reefs

According to the Status of Coral Reefs Around the World report20% of the world’s reefs have been destroyed and are almost impossible to recover. As early as 1998, 16% of the overall reef population of the world had already been damaged. Thankfully, 40% of that 16% are either fully recovered or in great health and are in the process of recovery. However, coral reefs still continue to suffer from harmful human practices.

Corals are living organisms made up of small animals called coral polyps, and reefs are formed when polyps come together and secrete a hard exoskeleton made of calcium carbonate. 

Just like other sea creatures, corals need clean water to survive. When pollutants, like litter and unnatural sediments enter the water, they trigger a negative chain reaction. 

Pollutants will eventually smother the coral reefs and prevent them from growing properly. Instead, the growth of algae speeds up and this diminishes the water quality around the coral. This impedes coral growth, rendering them more prone to diseases, and causes an imbalance in the reef’s food structure.

What Contributes To Reef Damage

Reef-Safe Sunscreen Guide - TreeActiv

The main contributors to coral damage and destruction are climate change and human activities. Because of climate change, water temperatures rise, which stresses out the corals. This leads to bleaching and destruction of these ecosystems. Most reefs are unable to recover after significant bleaching. 

Human activities, on the other hand, include contamination of water in all sorts of ways. In fact, you could be harming reefs without knowing it just by using seemingly ordinary—but rather unsafe—skincare products, such as lotions or sunscreen.

How Your Sunscreen Could Be Poisoning Coral Reefs

Reef-Safe Sunscreen Guide

Most skincare manufacturers formulate their products with the customer’s satisfaction in mind. That’s why they use whatever ingredients they find necessary so they can deliver the customer’s expectations. 

Unfortunately, some of these sunscreen ingredients come with several harmful effects to your health and coral reefs once you swim in open water. Stay away from the ingredients below when you go shopping for a sunscreen for your next summer getaway:


This ingredient mainly helps the sunscreen formulation go deeper into the skin. It also reacts to sunlight so the sunscreen penetrates deeper once you’re exposed to UVA and UVB light. It accumulates and becomes stacked in the liver. When an adequate amount of oxybenzone has settled, it then throws off the body’s hormones and normal balance.


An example of this is titanium dioxide nanoparticles. These are usually added as a sunscreen ingredient because of their minute size and their ability to absorb radiation from the sun. However, this can also seep into the skin, enter the body, and travel in the bloodstream. Coral reefs have extremely tiny pores where nanoparticles can enter and poison them once they’re absorbed.


Octinoxate is similar to oxybenzone. This is also a chemical filler that prevents sunlight from penetrating the skin. However, octinoxate has been proven to cause coral bleaching. You may also see it on a sunscreen’s ingredient’s list as Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.


You can find parabens in a lot of commercial skincare products. They are commonly used in sunscreens as preservatives, but unfortunately, they come with a severe bleaching reaction towards coral reefs. 

It can be hard to recognize parabens in ingredient lists because of their many names, like Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoate, and many more. As a general rule, if you find something that sounds unnatural and unrecognizable, double check and do some research before making your purchase.

How You Can Help Save Coral Reefs

Reef-Safe Sunscreen Guide - TreeActiv

You can do your part by responsibly enjoying nature. Throw away trash in appropriate bins and recycle whenever you can. Avoid using heavily artificial products that may harm nature upon disposal. Instead of using sunscreens with ingredients that you can barely pronounce, go for a reef-safe sunscreen that uses all-natural ingredients.

TreeActiv Safflower Oleosomes Daily Natural Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30

Our TreeActiv Safflower Oleosomes Daily Natural Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30 uses only safe and natural ingredients, so you know what you’re applying to your skin. It’s also made with environment-friendly elements, so you won’t have to worry about endangering coral reefs after every swim. 

The TreeActiv Safflower Oleosomes Daily Natural Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30 is a dual-action formula that effectively protects skin from UVA and UVB light while locking in moisture.

Protect your skin from the sun, guilt-free!



We encourage you, our loyal customers, to be part of The Giving Tree, our growing community for our Exclusive Members. No membership fee required! Get exclusive perks and be the first to hear about new discounts, products, and events! Click the link below to learn more.