Sunscreen may be the best thing to ever happen to your skin, but we can't say the same for the coral reefs. Four years ago, a study published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology concluded that sunscreens formulated with oxybenzone, a popular UV-filtering ingredient, were killing coral reefs and causing coral bleaching, especially in tourist-heavy areas like Hawaii and the Caribbean. That's really bad news for the thousands of organisms that rely on the marine ecosystem for survival.
While you're likely not reading this from a white-sand beach or poolside due to quarantining measures set in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, it's still important that you continue to protect your skin from UV rays — yes, even indoors, especially if you use ingredients like AHAs or retinol in your daily skin-care routine. And luckily, there are plenty of reef-safe, mineral sunscreens that you can feel good about letting wash down the shower drain.
Other things you can do? Read ingredient lists, become familiar with other toxic ingredients damaging marine life (like octinoxate and benzophenone-2), and encourage friends and family to make the switch if they're long-time users of chemical formulas.
We've done all the guesswork and rounded up 12 reef-safe sunscreens you'll love, ahead.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.