Did you know that your sunscreen might be harming the oceans and our reefs?

I just got back from an eye-opening trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Sukin Skincare, who are the leading natural Australian skincare brand, who are taking a massive stand for the environment. Sukin being a carbon neutral company and now investing into massive projects —  such as Reef Aid with Greening Australia. On my trip to Cairns and Townsville I was able to see with my own eyes, what causes our beautiful oceans and the Great Barrier Reef to die. I was astonished to learn that all of the major factors affecting the Great Barrier Reef are caused by human intervention and climate change; its time to consider how our choices are affecting the planet and more specifically our beautiful Great Barrier Reef.   

Being a eco-earth-warrior; I’m always advocating people to take more conscious steps towards living a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. This trip and understanding what Skin and Greening are doing, was so eye-opening!  I truly saw how everything is linked. From the water that runs off from the farms into the rivers that go into the ocean, soil quality, to our everyday actions — such as going to the beach, to what we eat, it all affects the planet — either in a positive way, or the negative way.

As many of us aware, Australia has a broken ozone layer; which means that there is no natural UV protection, and the sun is scorching, so everyone is encouraged to wear so much sunscreen, and never step out without being smothered in the white stuff! Which is why mainstream toxic sunscreen companies are heavily promoted, but are they really protecting us?  

Little do people know that these sunscreens are not only toxic for them, but also our environment and our oceans. Why you ask? Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are little key ingredients which are both chemicals, and are present in most mainstream sunscreens, as well as other places like swimming pools. These chemicals have been proven to be harmful to the corals, and have been officially banned in Hawaii for that reason.

Sukin and their commitment to Greening Australia’s — Reef Aid project; created a reef-friendly sunscreen, staying true to their ‘natural’ ethos, it is made with Zinc Oxide, which is safe for us, the corals and the environment. 

Healthy coral should be moving, vibrant and respond well to it’s surroundings as they are a living, complex creatures. However we are seeing the bleaching of coral increasing dramatically over the past decade, the coral becomes unable to protect itself and essentially dies, turning white and loosing what was once its vibrant beautiful colour.  As I learned from the marine biologists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science,  it takes years and decades for the coral to regenerate itself to it’s healthy form.

In Townsville, I got to visit some local farms and land where Greening Australia who are working closely with Sukin, are implementing projects to help local farmers. As their farming practises are is having a huge impact on the Great Barrier Reef. When the quality of the soil improves, the sediment that runs off to the nearby rivers is much less. This means when it reaches the ocean, and nearby Great Barrier Reef, the sediment doesn’t cover the coral with all its fertilisers and chemicals which are used in the farms. Same way like there is a petrol-looking residue that runs off humans when they get into the water, wearing toxic sunscreen that is harmful to all the marine life and the ecology of our oceans.   

Next time you shop for sunscreen be sure to choose natural Zinc products to lessen to the burden on our oceans, and help save the coral. Sukin has also launched a little ‘donate’ option at checkout for you to donate to the Reef Aid Project! Shop their new line here.

Thank you for Sukin for educating me on such important subjects on this trip!

Round-up of our trip with Sukin x Greening Reef Aid

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