In 2021 Hawaii became the first state in the United States to ban certain chemical sunscreens in an effort to protect its fragile marine ecosystems.
In an effort to reverse years of coral bleaching and destruction Hawaii took a proactive stance by banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. Chemical sunscreens, when washed off in the ocean, accumulate in reef areas and make corals more susceptible to bleaching. Bleached corals not only lose their vibrant colors but also face an increased risk of disease, resulting in the loss of biodiversity and habitat destruction.
Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only truly reef-safe alternatives. At Utu we are committed to only using non-nano zinc oxide for the following reasons:
- Non-Toxic: Zinc oxide is biodegradable and non-toxic to marine life, including coral reefs.
- Large Particle Size: We use non-nano zinc oxide, which means the particles are too large to be absorbed by humans and aquatic life . This helps prevent potential uptake by corals and reduces the risk of any adverse effects on marine ecosystems.
- Low Solubility: Zinc oxide has low solubility in water, which means it is less likely to dissolve and leach into the surrounding environment. This further reduces the potential impact on corals and other marine organisms.
Mineral-based sunscreens work by forming a physical barrier on the skin, reflecting and scattering UV rays instead of being absorbed into the skin as with chemical sunscreens
Reading sunscreen ingredient labels is crucial, because many brands continue to claim their products are reef safe or Hawaii compliant yet they continue to use chemical filters such as homosalate, octisalate and avobenzone all of which damage reefs and aquatic life but at lower levels than Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. So be cautious with the claims that some brands make and always opt for mineral sunscreen products if you care about reef and aquatic survival.
We salute Hawaii's groundbreaking decision to ban chemical sunscreens and protect their fragile marine ecosystems. Let us embrace this opportunity to create a healthier future for our oceans and ensure that the beauty and eco-diversity of places like Hawaii's coral reefs continue to inspire and amaze generations to come. Join with Utu to protect, nourish and rejuvenate our skin and planet.